“A holiday like Valentine’s is all about things soft and luscious,” says Paul Mugnier, National Sales Manager for Graham’s, in what has got to be one of the best build-ups for a wine ever. “And that is what Six Grapes is all about. It’s the perfect embodiment of Valentine’s Day.”
The “Six Grapes” Mugnier praises is Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port, a type of wine instantly recognizable in that it is particularly sweet. Produced only in the Douro Valley in Portugal – where Graham’s, part of the legendary Symington’s family of port producers, is located – port is a “fortified wine.” Halfway through the fermentation process, a brandy is added, kicking up the alcohol content (Six Grapes is 20 percent ABV) to the point the yeast doing all the magic is killed off. The remaining sugar comes through in an unmistakable sweetness that makes port a favorite dessert wine, perfectly paired with cheeses and confections but most of all the Valentine’s stalwart that is chocolate.
“There’s nothing like a wonderful piece of dark chocolate, with all that slightly bitter quality, that tastes magnificent with the fruity, soft, velvety quality you get out of Six Grapes,” says Mugnier. Artisanal chocolates like Vosges, Scharffen Berger and Recchiutti are strong recommendations. Chocolate and Six Grapes complement each other exquisitely, combining fruitiness and earthiness, creamy textures and nutty undertones. A meeting of the ages, indeed.
With seductive aromas of plum and black cherry, Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port is imbued with silky tannins and a voluptuous mouthfeel that very nicely blur the line between “accidental flirtation” and “rolling around in the back seat of the car.” Enjoy the vintage at room temperature, in a full, open-mouthed glass (not the supposedly “traditional” pony glass) to enjoy not only the bouquet but also the black-red hue that, all by itself, blows even the most suggestive Valentine’s Day card right out of the water.
Take that, Hallmark.