Valentine's Date Night with Broc Cellars Love Red & a Cheese Plate

Photo Credit Greg Hudson

I have to be honest with you all – I’m really not big on going out for Valentine’s Day. Greg and I do celebrate it every year, but we’re more likely to order in or make something nice for ourselves. Our wedding anniversary also happens to be just a couple of days later, so we save the big dinner out for that celebration. Fewer people are likely to be out anyways, so it always feels way more chill. (Funny enough, this used to be our custom even before we got married.)

Pizza and take-out sushi are among our favorites for Valentine’s Day, but this year we went with cheese and charcuterie. Honestly, of all the cuisines and foods I love, cheap or fancy, a simple cheese and charcuterie plate might be my absolute favorite thing. I think it’s what I’d have for my last meal. Bring on the cheese!!!

This year I’m working on Valentine’s evening (tonight) so we had ourselves a little date night in a fews days ago. Greg grilled slices of baguette in duck fat while I tossed together a salad. Then we laid out all the goodies–cheeses, prosciutto, pork rillettes, almonds, and chocolate to top things off. 

Photo Credit Greg Hudson

To pair with this bounty, I bought us a bottle one of the most perfectly named bottles of wines for the occasion – Broc Cellars Love Red North Coast 2016. Happily, the name isn’t just a marketing gimmick. The wine is legit. 

The wine is legit, but how perfect is that label? Photo credit on all photos but this one to Greg Hudson.

Broc Cellars is an urban winery in Berkeley, California and for me the wines fall into the natural wine camp. (This is a debatable point for sure, depending on how you define this, but not going to get into it now.) Winemaker Chris Brockway sources all of his grapes from biodynamic or organic vineyards, uses all native yeasts for his fermentations, and keeps sulfur to a minimum. He also tends to pick the grapes for his wines early to preserve acidity. In my experience with his wines they tend to be fun and just a hint funky.

The Love Red is no exception. It’s a blend of Carignan, Syrah, and Valdiguié. If you’re unfamiliar with Valdiguié, it’s a grape that originated in the Languedoc, but now is only seen in small quantities. For a while it was confused with Gamay in California, until DNA testing discovered its true origins. Nonetheless, it was allowed to be referred to as Napa Gamay until 1999. The mix up should tell you a little something about how it tastes though – Valdiguié tends to make light, fruity wine.

Photo Credit Greg Hudson

The wine kind of tastes like a Beaujolais and a Côtes du Rhône got together and had a baby. This kind of makes sense from the grape blend and makes even more sense when you look at the winemaking. The Valdiguié undergoes carbonic maceration, much like a Beaujolais. The Carignan and Syrah, on the other hand go through standard fermentation in stainless steel. The wine is then aged for eight months in neutral French oak barrels. (You can find more details on the tech sheet here.)  

Greg called it “Rhoney”, so maybe it falls a little more into that camp than the Beaujo side. It had notes of really tart red cherries and a whole mix of red and blue berries that are all a little candied. There are light hints of dried and bitter herbs in mix, a little bit of spice, and a whiff of funk on the nose. It’s super juicy with lots of acidity and light tannins. It’s super easy to drink–definitely Gulpable.

The wine also went pretty easily with just about everything on the cheese board. It paired with all the charcuterie and all but the funkiest cheese–a Shropshire Blue. I got this at Bay Grape for $21. Broc Cellars also makes a white and rosé Love blend, in addition to this red. It’s a great pick for an chill Date Night In.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Stay tuned for another date night wine with later this week.
And if you want more cheesiness, check back on another wine and cheese night here

Photo Credit Greg Hudson
Photo Credit Greg Hudson



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