10th February, how did we end up here already? A quick happy birthday to Roberta Flack, Mark Spitz and Greg Norman, all loyal readers I’m sure.
The significance of the date is a good reminder that there are just a few days until St Valentine’s Day. We consider it a community service to remind you all – let’s face it, getting in trouble on a Tuesday is less than ideal, it’s early in the week and a gentle reminder can be a god send.
We found ourselves wondering upon the significance of such a day, how did such a day come about? So, off we went for a chat with Uncle Google and Aunty Wiki and this is what we found out.
Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages is associated with a tradition of courtly love. Also the patron saint of beekeepers apparently. He was not exceptionally more venerated than other saints and it seems that in England no church was ever dedicated to him.
There are many churches containing the name of Valentine in other countries, such as Italy.
Valentino is a fashion designer, a black and white movie star and, of course, a man’s name.
Valentina is a (different) fashion designer, a chain of Italian restaurants and, of course, a woman’s name.
Courtly love (or fin’amor in Occitan) was a medieval European literary conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. Sounds like being in a Frederic Leighton painting doesn’t it?
Romance (from Vulgar Latin rōmānicē “in the Roman language”, i.e. “Latin”) may refer to:
- the Romance languages
- medieval Romance literature, specifically the genre of the chivalric romance literature
- Hellenistic romance, or Ancient Greek romance, a modern term for the genre of the five surviving Ancient Greek novels
- Romance (love), love based on emotional attachment as portrayed as ideal in chivalric romance literature
Romance is the title of a novel by Joseph Conrad and also albums by Frank Sinatra and David Cassidy.
Modern Romance, a dodgy 80’s band best known for ‘Everybody Salsa’. We have a suspicion it’s in Wayne’s password protected ‘Guilty Pleasures’ playlist on the interweb.
Places called Romance exist in four different US states.
We’re not really sure what we’ve learned, if honesty were to prevail. Clearly the concept has a lot of buy in, which may give us a clue as to how it is easy to be in trouble if one is forgetful.
We did find, however, that all this romancing made us rather thirsty.
Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rosé (£36.99) would be our choice of bubbly. A really delicious pink fizz from Hampshire, only released in November. The blend is 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot noir, it has a lovely elegance and strawberry and brioche flavours. It was the only sparkling rose to win a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge too.
If a lighter red is going be better with that favourite supper, you could do worse than visiting Beaujolais, particularly Saint-Amour 2015 (£12.29), a lovely berry fruited wine with soft tannins and a fresh finish. A relatively rare sight in these parts, most of it being guzzled by Parisians in their bistros!
Old favourite Passion Has Red Lips (£13.99) is a bit richer, being a blend of Shiraz and Cabernet sauvignon from McLaren Vale.
But what we’re going to taste this weekend has to be Italian, given their greater support of Valentine generally.
The red rose will be represented by a wine from Veneto, home province to perhaps the best know lovers of all, Romeo & Juliet.
Gran Passione Rosso 2015, Veneto, Italy – £14.29. The grapes are harvested at the beginning of October, to allow the grapes to have increased maturation. Before picking, the vines’ cordons are cut but the grapes are left on the vines and for up to 15 days the grapes begin to dry naturally on the vine (Appassimento on vine). What we end up with is a vibrant purple wine with a rich luscious nose and palate full of sweet ripe dark cherry, plum, vanilla and christmas spice.
Whilst the white rose will be represented by one of our latest discoveries Vitesse Grillo 2015, Sicilia, Italy – £10.49. We’ve been enjoying our Grillo lately – this nearly forgotten Sicilian variety (a crossing of Cataratto and Zibibbo) has lovely lifted citrus and tropical fruit character, great mouthfeel and a zesty finish.
There are of course chocolates or flowers available from other retailers….