This Saturday is Valentine’s Day which in my opinion is the lamest of holidays unless you consider “Sweetest Day” which I’m sure very few people consider… anything.  Before you stop reading and start firing off angry messages, I implore you to keep reading.  I am not a cold, un-romantic guy. Honest!  Ask my wife. By the way, she hates this Hallmark inspired Holiday as well.  If you truly love someone, then everyday is Valentine’s Day.  Not this disaster prompted by fear, desperation or indifference.  Bad chocolate, cliché roses or even worse, cheap and lousy wine has nothing to do with love or romance.

Having said that, I realize that this holiday is not going away anytime soon, so here is my plea.  If you are going to celebrate this day, then find something classic in it. If you are going to have wine, have a good one.  If you are going to watch a movie, go for a real romantic classic not a schmaltzy cheese fest about notebooks or un-scary vampires.  Watch Casablanca.

Casablanca is a 1942 film directed by Michael Curtiz and based on Murray Bennett and Joan Alison's unproduced stage play Everybody Comes to Rick’s.. The film stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid; it features Claude Rains,( who steals every scene he is in) Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson as Sam the piano player.  Set during World War II, it focuses on an American expatriate(Bogart) who must choose between his love for a woman(Bergman) and helping her Czech Resistance leader husband (Henreid) escape the Vichy-controlled ( Nazi collaborating government puppets) city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.

It has romance, intrigue, suspense, wartime patriotism and clever dialog. It is also a film that could have become a disaster if it had been made with either of the initial choices for leading man; George Raft or Ronald Reagan. The film won three academy awards including best picture.

The Domaine de La Casa Blanca 2010 (apropriately named) is from the village of Collioure in the south-eastern corner of France, near the border with Spain.

Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre make up 60% of the Collioure blend, with Carignan and Cinsat constituting the rest. The color is a very deep, rich crimson which complements the absolutely bold and delicious flavors of black raspberry, currant, clove and other spices and herbs.  It has similar characteristics of a fine Spanish red, but is un-mistakenly French due to its Rhone like complexity.

This wine has many of the same elements as the film beyond its name.  It keeps you in suspense before you taste it and it has the magic ability to take you away to an exotic and romantic place in time. It is damn near perfect.

So don’t “Round up the usual suspects.” Have a bottle of Domaine de La Casa Blanca 2010 and enjoy Casablanca with a flank steak, mushroom and cheese pizza. What a wonderful way to spend a romantic evening…anytime of the year.