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After New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day is the one holiday of the year where wine is requisite—be it to toast with a loved one, to gather round with a group friends or to drown sorrows with. All valid reasons to drink (if you ask us), though not just any wine will do on V-Day. For some much-needed insight, we tapped Rachel Barowsky, sommelier and store manager for Abaco Premium Wines—a high-end shop and retail concept in Palm Court. Here you can purchase wines as well as schedule tastings, with or without cheese and dessert pairings (reservations accepted via OpenTable). So before you go telling your date you’re a veritable oenophile, here’s what you need to know. 

Bonus: mention this article to receive a free custom Abaco wine key (simple but efficient wine cork screw opener) with a purchase of $50 or more.

Château Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes 2012 WineArboleda Wine

Best Wine for Wine Purists: Château Beaucastel Vieilles Vignes 2012 (France)

“Coming from a single parcel of vines planted in 1909, this 100 percent Roussanne Vielles Vignes "Old Vines" Chateauneuf du Pape is as complex as any red—with notes of marmalade, melon, butter, verbena and wet stone. If you thought white wine was boring, you just haven't tried this gem.”

Best all-around purchase: Arboleda Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Chile)

“One-hundred percent Cabernet Sauvignon from the Aconcagua region, the highest elevation in the Andes, which promotes a nice acidity and a lean Cabernet. When we tried this Cabernet, we thought this wine was double the price. Classic notes of cassis, black plum, toasty oak and cherry.”

Bussia Soprana Weingut Max Richter Riesling Wine

Best wine to impress your whiskey-loving (or spirit-loving) SO: Bussia Soprana "Moscani" Barolo 1996

“We are wine lovers, but we love whiskey too. When this question came up we knew immediately what to chose: Barolo. Barolo is considered the King of Nebbiolo, the style is deep, rich and complex. This Barolo selection is filled with red and black raspberries, licorice, plum and spice.”

Best starter wine for non-drinkers: Weingut Max Richter Riesling 2012

“If you are new to the wine world and trying to break in, try something with a touch of sweetness and effervescence. This Riesling is low in alcohol, high in flavor and perfect for new wine drinkers. You will be able to drink this light style Riesling with flavors of orange blossom, raw honey and fresh gardenia all night long.”

Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Rserva 2007 WineSalon Blanc de Blancs Wine

Best wine to impress on a first date: Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Rserva 2007

“What an impressive wine! Il Poggione's 2010 Vintage of Brunello di Montalcino was number four on Wine Spectator's list of 100 Top Wines of 2015, and the number one Italian wine to make the list. If your date likes wine, he or she has probably heard of this delicious wine. A sexy and subtle mix of earthy truffles, violets, herbs and tart cherries—this wine goes on and on.”

Best wine to buy to celebrate an anniversary: Salon Blanc de Blancs

“There is no better way to celebrate than with Champagne, and no better Champagne to celebrate with than Salon. Salon's current vintage is 2002 and opening a bottle of this great Champagne is reason enough to celebrate. Racy acidity, creamed almond and spun honey, Salon harnesses all the greatness that Blanc de Blancs has to offer.”


Ceretto B'Lange Arneis 2014 WineIl Poggiale Castellare Chianti Classico 2011 WineCorbon Blanc de Blancs Champagne 2004 Wine

White: Ceretto B'Lange Arneis 2014

“One of our favorites at Abaco. Light, refreshing and the perfect aperitif. Slightly effervescent and one of the only white varieties to come out of Piedmont, this wine goes with spicy foods, light appetizers or can be had on its own. Bright pear, apple blossom, and a slight nuttiness rounds out the flavor profile.”

Red: Il Poggiale Castellare Chianti Classico 2011

“On our wines by the glass and a favorite of our customers, this well balanced, medium-bodied Sangiovese will have you wanting another glass. Crushed roses, supple leather, and earthy qualities are the reasons why this wine pairs well with a variety of foods, though it’s best with classic pasta dishes.”

Sparkling: Corbon Blanc de Blancs Champagne 2004

“Agnes Corbon grows her grapes in Grand Cru Vineyards in Avize. She takes a farm-to-table approach, following the wine making process from start to finish. In a blind taste test this Champagne would easily beat out its higher-priced counterparts.”

Signorello Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon WineRaptor Ridge Pinot Noir 2013 Wine

Best wine to bring to a dinner party: Signorello Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon

“With an impressively thick glass bottle, this wine will win your host over at first glance. Don't worry, this Napa Valley Cabernet Blend, with 93.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6.5% Cabernet Franc is delicious; unfiltered, big, bold and full of fruit. Remember to get an extra one for yourself in case your host decides to keep this one for later.”

Best new wine on the market: Raptor Ridge Pinot Noir 2013

“Raptor Ridge focuses on Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, both Alsatian varieties. This Pinot Noir is fresh on the palate with beautiful cherry and strawberry toasty oak and mild tannins. Oregon has proved itself to be a force in the wine making world and Raptor Ridge is no exception.”

Vega Sicilia Unico Ribera del Duero 2007 Wine

Best wine to gift:  Vega Sicilia Unico Ribera del Duero 2007

“A blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Unico spends seven years aging in large oak casks with three years in bottle before release. Perfectly balanced with dark fruits, plums, spice, mocha and a silky structured palate. Unico is the flagship wine of Vega Sicilia, and the perfect wine to show someone how much they mean to you.”

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