Try ice wine for Valentine's Day

Vidal grapes waiting to be harvested and pressed

Vidal grapes waiting to be harvested and pressed for ice wine in Branchport, N.Y. (Nov. 25, 2005) (Credit: AP)

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Is your Valentine cool? Hot? Sweet? Still? Sparkling? There's a wine for her or him.

Ice wine is one of winter's sweetest gifts. It's made from frozen grapes. The dehydrated grapes lead to intense, lush wine. An excellent choice: the 2007 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine ($62, 375-ml bottle), from Canada's Niagara Peninsula. It's creamy, with hints of candied fruit. The balanced wine, best served slightly chilled, also has fine acidity. From the same region comes the 2008 Jackson-Triggs Proprietors Reserve Vidal Icewine ($30, 187-ml bottle), an aromatic, lively choice with tropical fruit notes. Serve it chilled, too.

In the still of the night: the subtle, tangy, aptly named 2009 Hugel et Fils Pinot Blanc "Cuvee Les Amours" ($16), a charming, versatile Alsatian white. More straightforward: the 2010 Michael David 7 Deadly Zins ($16), a fruity, peppery blend of zinfandels from seven vineyards. There's even a hint of chocolate. In a darker, more assertive, get-it-on style from Michael David comes its 2010 LUST Zinfandel ($59), loaded with spice, cherry, chocolate.


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Expanding on that approach is the big, gutsy, ripe and ready here-I-am 2011 Two Hands "Sexy Beast" Cabernet Sauvignon ($45) from Australia's McLaren Vale, complete with its lip-lock label.

For a more easygoing, playful approach, try the 2010 Beni di Batasiolo Dolcetto ($15), the dry, inviting, drink-now "little sweet one;" and the sangiovese-driven, versatile and very satisfying 2009 Rosso di Casanova di Neri ($21).

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