By Chrystal Corsino aka “The Babysitter”

Chrystal, Lindsay and Jesse @ Benmarl Winery 

The perfect romantic weekend was spent wine tasting with two very different groups of people Sunday and Monday.  
On Sunday I took two local wine tasting virgins to Benmarl.   Jesse and Lindsay actually graduated with the owners son who poured our tasting. We each sampled 6 wines, which meant everything listed as we traded off.  They were tasting Slate Hill White, Seyval Blanc, Dry Rose, Triaminette, Dechaunac, Baco Noir, frontenac and Red Zinfandel, for free and all bottles were 20% off.
 As always my favorite white was Slate Hill, but hands down I loved the Dechaunac (12.99 a bottle) which is the perfect red for drinking alone or with food.  Jesse had at least 3 or more tastings of the Trimanette and to think I was told he was not a wine drinker. His Valentine bought him a bottle to enjoy at home. The dry rose is perfect for making a summer spritzer and Lindsays quote for the Frontenac was “it makes me smile”.  
After this I took them to Stoutridge since it was close by and by far the coolest wine experience for those who have little experience with wine and especially local wine. Stoutridge is all unprocessed wine and can not be distributed due to this (as per the owner). As a beginner there wine was not my favorite and way to bitter. However the owner did a pairing of his Vidal that was a 2007 and a ten year old Vidal.  An aged white seemed crazy but it was good and would be perfect with pork. The ten year old Vidal was much fuller and not as bitter but yet not sweet. Also the reds were very enjoyable Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The owner kept Jesse and Lindsay very interested as he explained the whole history of his wine making and the winery. Perfect end to the day and for $5 you taste 6 wines and get a glass which they box up nicely for you to take home safe.
Now to Valentines day… Galaxy, Meg and I found ourselves dateless but have no fear The Dubliner put on a wine tasting and it turned out to be the best Valentines ever.  I was a little scared at first because unlike traditional tastings the owner mixed up the red and whites, he did not have us taste whites then reds. It all worked out and the idea was each wine had a country which we had to guess after hearing a love story for each wine we tasted and half way thru we were given a plate of yummy food for $20 bucks.  We were happy. We tasted the following wines: Masi Bonacosta from Verona Italy (Romeo and Juliet), Seyval blanc from France (Napoleon), Chardonnay From USA Cali (Ronald and Nancy Reagan), Shiraz Australia (Steve Irwin), Melbac Argentina (Evita), Seyval Blanc New Zealand (Xena and Danielle).  Galaxya and Meg really enjoyed the Wagtail Shiraz from Austrlaia.  It had a strong vanilla, plum on the nose, with an oaky smooth finish. My favorite was the Masi Bonacosta very smooth, oaky, blackberry finish .
The most interesting pairing suggested by the owner was the two Seyval  Blancs. The French selection was very dry, floral on finish but apricot and pear nose to it, almost bitter.  The New Zealand  selection was a touch sweeter almost like a Riesling with pineapple and pear taste.  Very light, less dry much smoother  These were the same wines but very diffrent when paired together at this tasting.

All in all even with out a Valentine at first, I ended up with my best friends as my valentines, what more can one ask for.  Here is to everyone finding love at least in wine.