In the sweet-wine class, the sugars have to have enough oomph to keep up with chocolates, but the wine also has to have enough acid structure to cleanse your palate. One delicious option is Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto d'Acqui ($15), a sweet red sparkling wine with a beguiling aroma and sweet flavors, but also enough acid to stand up to a sinful chocolate. Also, those bubbles do more than tickle your nose, they also help the acids get your tongue ready for its next hit of sweet. For those of you searching for something with more refined taste, Moët & Chandon's Nectar Impérial ($33) has a delicate sweetness with pear and vanilla aromas that would go nicely with a light chocolate mousse.
We'll be having two drinks with chocolates chez Marshall for Valentine's Day. The 1997 Croft Late Bottled Vintage Port ($17) is a spectacular bottle of wine that is drastically underpriced for what you get and is filled with luscious flavors. Bonny Doon's Framboise ($12) is a dynamite half-bottle of intensely aromatic raspberry liqueur also available Êas a gift box ($28 at Grape Vine Market only) with a bar of chocolate, a candle, and a "discrete bottle of unscented massage oil."
Finally, for those of you who have been jilted around the day of love, Bonny Doon has put together a gift box (also $28 and, again, Êonly available at Grape Vine Market) called the "Loves Me Not" kit. The kit includes "a bar of cleansing soap suitable for washing away any last trace of the lying, insensitive, philandering bastard/harlot; a bar of bittersweet chocolate; a love letter eraser; and a genuine voodoo doll." The wine, 2002 Heart of Darkness ($18), is duly tannic and powerful enough to evoke short-term memory loss.
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