Pairing Classic Romance Stories And Wine
Love story and wine suggestions for Valentine’s Day
Romance and wine really go hand in hand, don’t they? A meaningful bottle, over a romantic dinner with a special someone makes for a memorable night. And while some historic romance stories don’t end well (poison! death!), fortunately wines finish much better.
Wine, like a novel, is a journey. The beginning may entice and intrigue, the middle is built to thrill and delight, and – if you’re lucky – the end will be memorable. It really doesn’t matter if you’re enjoying the book and/or the bottle solo or with your partner – these classic stories, and bottles, stand both the test of solitude and coupledom. If you’re visiting some of these classic love stories this Valentine’s Day, here are some pairing suggestions for you.
The English Patient and Late Bottled Vintage Port
Set during the Second World War, this story follows four characters who meet at an Italian monastery — Hana the nurse, Kip the Indian sapper, Caravaggio the thief and spy and the mysterious burn patient with an English accent. Of course, the Englishman would love a nip of port in a time like this, but who can afford Vintage during WWII? Richly warming and satisfying LBV would be the perfect drink for this lyrical historic story.
Love in the Time of Cholera and Rioja Gran Reserva
Gabriel Garcia Marquez leads readers through a winding and tempestuous love triangle between Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza and Juvenal Urbino, spaning half a century. Though the story takes place in the Carribbean, the long and patient story is much like Spain’s Rioja Gran Reservas — especially from more traditional producers — that can take a decade or two to reach full maturity and resolve.
Anna Karenina and Rosé Champagne
Called the “greatest novel ever written”, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is a dramatic, passionate and forward tome about the young Anna trapped in a comfortable, but loveless marriage until Count Vronsky enters the picture. A surprising and tumultuous affair follows reminding me of an unexpectedly fruity, structured and powerful aristocratic rosé champange. Plus, of course, the Russian nobility has long had a soft spot for fine champagne.
The Tale of Genji and Artisan Sake
One of the first romantic novels written (between 1002-1020) by a Japanese noblewoman, Murasaki Shikibu, this is the story of Genji, the son of a Japanese emperor, who is relegated to citizen status for political reasons and has to find love as a commoner. A challenging read, as the story meanders from first love through marriages and divorces, this is so suited to fine sake that's also somewhat challenging for those not familiar with this historic drink. In the end, both are highly rewarding to conquer and understand.
Romeo and Juliet and Amarone della Valpolicella
This classic Shakepearean play is set in the northeastern Italian town of Verona, the largest wine centre of the Veneto wine region and heartland of Amarone della Valpolicella. This rich, unique Italian red is carefully and lovingly constructed, using concentrated and raisinated grapes to make a powerful, lingering wine. Amarone (sounding much like Amore) is much like this powerful and lingering love story — one of the most potent in literature.
When Harry Met Sally and Washington State Riesling
Ok — so this isn't a novel, but it is modern love story nonetheless. This classic boy-meets-girl crossed-signals and timing-wrong romance story will forever be capped with, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Especially if there was some Washington riesling in her diner coffee mug. Though Washington merlots hogged the spotlight for some time, the racy, bright and fruit-forward rieslings have impressed in recent years and show thrilling promise. I think Sally would approve.
Snow White and Iced Cider
Ah, Snow White. Who knows what would have happened if you just bypassed the enchanted apple and took a swig of iced cider instead. Perhaps your prince would have come around the cottage to share a picnic with you and the dwarfs? A little iced cider goes a long way — there would be ample to share with all nine of you.
Photo by jonathanhoeglund