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Wines to enhance romance on Valentine's Day

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Entertainment,Food and Drink,Scott Greenberg

I am a romantic at heart, one of those people who actually look forward to Valentine's Day, when I can fawn over my spouse. But between hectic schedules, Beltway traffic and work deadlines, just trying to find time for romance becomes a logistical challenge on par with planning a national political convention.

So what's a modern-day, stressed-out couple to do? First, close the laptop and turn off the smartphone. Next, grab a bottle of wine and get a couple of wine glasses out. Then, pour the wine and relax. But which wine should you choose to enhance romance?

For the answer, I decided to solicit advice from some of the busiest people I know and find out what wine they plan to open to tip the scales of love in their favor and ensure a successful love connection. Of course, individual results may vary and, as always, retail prices are approximate.

Eric Ziebold is one of the busiest people I have ever met. The James Beard Award-winning chef manages his time between running the kitchen at CityZen as well as numerous charitable events. When he and his bride, Celia Laurent, find a moment to relax, Ziebold likes to open a bottle of moscato d'Asti. He loves the off-dry, low-alcohol and slightly carbonated wine. He says, "It's just one of those things that tastes good, is fun, easy and lifts one's spirits." In addition, one of his favorite things to do with moscato d'Asti is have it with dessert -- and use it in the dessert. I recommend the 2011 Prunotto Moscato d'Asti ($18) from Italy. It sports vibrant aromas of tropical fruit and white nectarine. The palate is covered in ripe flavors of guava, peach and tangy green apple. QPR 9

Writers and editors are constantly under stress-inducing deadlines, so I turned to my former boss, Christie, to ask her what wine she plans to serve up. "I met my sweetie through a mutual friend at a dinner party. The next morning, he Metro'd over. I had just moved, and my new place was a shambles. So we went to my old apartment, now completely empty. We created a kitchen floor picnic with candles, chicken tikka masala and 2010 Byron Pinot Noir ($28) from Santa Maria Valley. It's beautifully perfumed, with a rich taste of black tart raspberries, black cherries, smoky oak and rose petals. It has supple tannins and a velvety mouthfeel." I could not have written this better myself. QPR 9

Barry and Caren go together like a perfect food and wine pairing. They just fit. But with both having busy schedules, it's amazing that they find plenty of time to spend with their two young children, let alone themselves. But when they do find time to share a quiet moment, they like to share a bottle of 2010 Kongsgaard Chardonnay ($80) from the Napa Valley. While it is a bit on the pricey side, the flavors of apple, peach, pear and minerally undertones, in harmony with the pitch-perfect acidity, make it worth the splurge. QPR 9.5

When you own and operate six restaurants and are raising two children together, time becomes very precious. To squeeze the most out of every wine moment, chef/owner Cathal Armstrong turns to the nonvintage Jacquart Brut Rose Champagne ($29) from France to relax and woo his business partner and spouse, Meshelle. Aromas of ripe peaches, honeyed nectarines, red raspberries and hints of yeasty notes are buoyed to the surface by tiny, precise bubbles where flavors of baked apples and rich pears mingle with hints of buttered crust on a creamy frame that emphasizes the long, clean finish. QPR 9.5

Note: QPR is a rating system that compares the quality a wine delivers relative to the price. A QPR of 10 is considered an excellent value.

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