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Issue Date: February 2006 Issue


From Vin Hunter

Greetings. Vin Hunter, your very own "Wine Heartthrob," here to introduce the ultimate wines for the most amorous day of the year, Valentine's Day. And if you're a romantic like Vin, you already know that the February sun should not set without a suitable celebration. Want my suggestion on how to woo wisely" A special wine along with preparing a special meal for your special someone is the perfect formula for a Valentine's Day to remember.

Vin has only one heartthrob rule: When choosing the ultimate wine for the big day, it must be a big red. Trust me on this. To that end, I've compiled a collection that is savory, juicy, utterly romantic and partners with whatever's on the menu (we are talking at the dinner table here, folks). There's one other heartwarming characteristic about these gems. You can pick them up for a price that will still allow you to invest in some great grub. It's no fun to spend a lot of money on a bottle of wine and not enjoy the meal as well. Heck, you have to respect yourself in the morning!

Here's to a truly heartfelt toast to Valentine's Day. Cheers and may the wooing go well!

2003
Steltzner Cabernet Sauvignon
This one is Vin's insider's tip to one of the best Cabernet Sauvignons in Napa Valley. The great folks at Steltzner have been growing fabulous grapes in the Valley's prized Stags Leap District since the mid-'60s, so you know they understand the most important rule: great wine starts in the vineyard. With their Midas touch, the Steltzners produce a thick, mouth-filling monster of a Cab that makes you realize why you love Cabernet so much in the first place. If you've done your homework, you also know Stags Leap District wines often approach the $100 neighborhood. With a great wine at a price like this, the Steltzners might want to create a 'Wine-Lover's Leap' District around their winery!
$34.99

2002
Dry Creek Vineyards Bullock House Merlot
Although I've been threatened with 'sleeping with the fishes' in the past, I can't imagine that it's as much fun as sleeping with the Merlots. You see, there's a century-old house surrounded by Merlot vineyards that Dry Creek Vineyards uses as their guest cottage. Vin had the pleasure of spending a night at the beautiful Bullock House last year, and I'll tell you what: Based on my night's sleep, the Merlot that calls that place home is doing very well, thank you. This single-vineyard treasure is a profound Merlot experience with vibrant cherry, vanilla and spice flavors packed onto a sleek and stylish frame that begs to be served with a juicy veal chop. Admit it; you've been missing a killer Merlot for a while now, haven't you'
$35.99

2003
O'Brien Cellars Seduction
Seduction. Clearly the name of this wine fits the day pretty well, but does the wine deliver the goods' Well, one taste of this fleshy bomb will leave you with no doubt about what's on the menu (that would be a thick steak, by the way). Made from an artistic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this estate-bottled gem is all about plush fun. Actually, the name of this wine really does fit, as it totally seduces the senses with bright red-fruit character and mocha notes. And you won't be seduced to pay more than you should, as this Napa Valley teaser can be yours for a song (I'm thinking some smooth jazz fits the bill). It comes with its own red gift bag, making it that much more perfect. Who could resist such Seduction'
$24.99

2001
Silkwood Syrah
You've probably heard how important a wine's 'mouth-feel' is in creating an overall sense of balance. Here's a wine that not only provides a massive mouth-feel, it also feels pretty darn nice in your hands too! It has a unique velvet label that's as much fun to feel as the wine is to drink. And this pretty package is holding a beast of a wine, loaded with a plum and peppery character that is incredibly rich and smooth. Vin can't think of a better flavor combination than pairing this one with your favorite lamb dish. I know it's nice to feel good about a wine, but a wine that feels this good' Hmm.
$27.99


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