I’ve decided to explore an area of wine from which I used to steer clear: wines with suggestive names and/or sexy labels. I’m not one to fall prey to the marketing machine. Yes, I admit it; I did it in my more innocent years. (And usually got burned). But there seems to be a turning of the tide in the industry, with more and more reputable wineries dabbling in marketing to our sinful sides. So I bring you wines with sexy labels that are worth a swirl and sip. Bottoms up!
2005 Escort, Willamette Valley Pinot Gris
Pinot Gris might be the best undiscovered white wine in America. And this PG exemplifies the qualities of the grape I most admire: light, crisp, floral, and friendly to most every food. Maybe not as sexy as Pinot Noir, but this Pinot Gris is a very ro-mantic wine.
2006 Dominatrix, Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
A light but ex­pressive Pinot, this Willamette winner of­fers flirty aromas and a lovely clove note teasing the tip of the tongue, followed by hints of cherry and blackberry. And the finish? Soft and easy.
2005 Exuberance, Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Canihan Family Wines
As the name implies, this is a full-on, serious American Pinot. No, not another overripe fruit bomb; this is the real deal with dark cherries and spice weighted by earthy hints of truffle and bark.
2006 Flirtation, Napa Valley Dry Rose
Flirtatious cranberry pink in color, this dry rose teases the senses with aromas and flavors of rose petals. All cuteness aside, this is a serious wine with good balance and weight. (Not to mention the romance of drinking roses.)
2005 Seduction, Napa Valley Red Blend
A big, bold, wild woman of a wine, Seduction offers classic black cherry, cocoa and coffee flavors and aromas. Fine-grain tannins and a lingering finish add re­­­finement to what is one hot red wine.
2004 Velvet Collection, Napa Valley Red Blend
Surprisingly subtle for a wine with a steamy label of Marilyn Monroe posing on a red velvet drape, this well-structured Cab blend is the perfect food wine for a night of seduction. Blackberry and plum flavors and hints of spice bring to the wine even more layers that the wine’s label boasts. (To enjoy the label’s peel-off peep show, purchase is re­quired!)
2006 Virgin Vines Chardonnay
As untraditional as the man behind the brand, (that’s right, Virgin Vines is part of the Branson empire), this wine is a sure winner among Chard fanatics and haters alike. At a glance, it looks like your typical Californian, but it offers a more light, juicy, easy-going style than we’ve come to expect from the land of “butter and oak.”
2005 Horse Play Rollicking Red
From package to price point, this is a wine that gets it all right. A sexy blend of Cab, Merlot, and Syrah, Rollicking Red’s one flaw may be less than exciting aromas. But it more than makes up for it with hearty, savory flavors tinged with berry sweetness.
2006 Little Black Dress Syrah Rose
With aromas like a pint of perfect strawberries, this is a great wine for a summer fling. Pair with espadrilles and good company.
A fascinating departure from traditional dessert wines, Deviation blends aromatic rose geranium and the Mexican aphrodisiac herb damiana with Orange Muscat. The result is a delicious digestive with one very sexy label and an air of utter romance.
One of America’s sexiest dessert wines, Elysium is a rich, ruby-tinged black muscat. Many praise this full-bodied, ballsy wine’s liqueur-like texture. But in my opinion, Elysium’s finest quality is its ability to pair perfectly with dark chocolate—you can’t get more aphrodisiac than that.
Amy Reiley is one of the foremost-educated women in food and wine. In 2004, she became the second American to earn the title Master of Gastronomy awarded by Le Cordon Bleu. In 2005, Reiley was chosen as one of the five best female wine professionals in the world by France’s Wine Women Awards. in 2006,Amy released her first book, Fork Me, Spoon Me: the sensual cookbook, cementing her role as America’s leading aphrodisiac food authority.