Column: Valentine Wines Under $20


Commentary by Elizabeth Morse

“Love is like wine. To sip is fine, but to empty the bottle is a headache” —Julio Iglesias

Looking for a special Valentine bottle? Show your love some love with one of these great options that won’t break the bank. I’ve got three pretties to share: a white, a red and a sparkler. Just because it’s good doesn’t mean it has to be expensive. Cheers!

The white is 2014 Hugel Gentil, an Edelzwicker (blend) from Alsace, France. It’s heavy on the Gewurztraminer with smaller amounts of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Muscat. A full-bodied and refreshing wine with a beautiful, perfumey nose. In the glass are crisp fruit flavors with a lean, lemony finish. A great choice with fish and shellfish. This wine is an old favorite of mine that is consistent from year to year. Dry and $15.

2015 Charles Smith Wines “Velvet Devil” Merlot, $14, is from Washington. A dense red wine that begs for beef dishes or dark chocolate dessert. Expect a mouthful of dark cherries and blackberries, big cedar and sweet tobacco. Velvet Devil offers big flavor in a luxurious, velvety smooth finish. This one goes down fast and easy.

This unique sparkler is bone dry and dark red with pretty pink foam. Midici Ermete I Quercioli “Secco” is a Lambrusco from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and will set you back about $15. This works beautifully with cheesy pasta dishes like ravioli and also is a successful choice with clams, mussels and oysters.