There are many occasions for gift giving throughout the year, but it seems the pressure is heightened on Valentine’s Day. It’s easy to get caught in the commercialized crowd of gift buying. But if your sweetheart is a wine drinker, don’t even think about running into the store at the last minute for a shrink-wrapped heart shaped box of milk chocolate. There’s no need to grab the dyed carnations or even that expensive Valentines card, just head to your local fine wine retailer.

Put some thought into making the bottle you chose personal and, of course, romantic. Consider vintage ports and Champagnes because of special dates ranging from the year a person was born, life-changing events in a certain year or even the year of your first date with your valentine. If your budget or time doesn’t allow for the exact bottle, putting thought into the reason you are giving the bottle can be as sentimental; vineyards you have visited together or those you want to visit together. If you are looking for the ultimate romantic gesture, give a bottle of wine with a note planning a romantic getaway to the winery or the region.

We all know nothing shouts romance more than a bottle of Champagne, but for a added touch consider rose Champagne. This is not your flawed sweet bubbly pink of the 1960s. This wine is superb, not sweet, and spectacular.

But even if you don’t go the bubbly route, there is just something about rose wines that make them an ideal fit for Valentine’s romance. I prefer the dry styles of rose because they lie somewhere between white and red wines. The aromas are almost always fresh, enticing strawberry and cherry, and the flavors are crisp and refreshing with a light, zesty acidity. They will match almost any dinner menu item you are planning for your valentine.

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like hearts. And of my 25 years as a valentine gift recipient from my husband, I must say my most memorable and romantic was a bottle of Chateau Calon Segur from Bordeaux. The heart-shaped design on the label is thanks to Marquis Nicolas-Alexandre de Segur, whose portfolio of properties included the famed Chateau Latour and Chateau Lafite. Despite the illustriousness of his first growth jewels he famously said, “I make wine in Latour and Lafite but my heart is in Calon” as the reason behind the heart on the label. Another heart can be found at the estate, carved into the outside wall of the winemaking building. Not only is the label beautiful and romantic but the wine itself is one of the most exquisite wines I have tasted in my lifetime.

THE VALUE

  • 2015 Bell Red Blend, California (about $16 retail)

THE SPLURGE

  • 2015 Presqu’ile Rose, California (about $22 retail)