What does a wine lover want on Valentine’s Day? Definitely not to fight for the right to overpay for an underwhelming “special occasion” menu and a glass of mystery “Champagne.” Consider one of these four low-stress, high-reward, wine-based experiences instead.
Spa Treatment at Caudalie Vinotherapie The founders of this Bordeaux-based skin care line, Mathilde Cathiard-Thomas and her husband, Bertrand Thomas, learned about the benefits of organic grape material on skin from a professor on the Pharmacy Faculty of Bordeaux. They claim grape-seed polyphenols to be the most powerful antioxidants in the plant world, which, if true, makes related products great for skin polluted by dirty city air. Naturally, the vine and grape extracts used in their patented face creams and serums come from the most prestigious wine regions of France: Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne. Since the line debuted, Caudalie has opened several “vinotherapie” spas around the world, including two in New York. Opt to send your partner (or yourself, or both of you) to the swank spa in the Plaza, or to the intimate boutique in the West Village. Mention the Valentine’s Day promotion when booking.
Laurent-Perrier Rosé Champagne Pink-hued bubbles are always appropriate on Valentine’s Day, whether you’re decrying the holiday alone or celebrating it with a date. Champagne house Laurent-Perrier has released a Cuvée Rosé NV, presented in a unique, limited-edition birdcage (decorative, mind you) meant to evoke a “cozy nest for a pair of lovebirds.” Made from 100 percent Pinot Noir, its creamy texture and vivid cherry and raspberry flavors make it a luxurious aperitif or post-dinner, amatory warm-up. If cooking at home, the wine marries with a range of dishes, but might be better shared over a strawberry cloaked in dark chocolate. Champagne Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé in the cage is $99.99, available at Oak & Steel (1776 Broadway, 212-262-7702), Bowery and Vine (269 Bowery, 212-941-7943), and Vintage Grape (1479 Third Avenue, 212-535-6800).
Drinks at Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels If Paris is for lovers, and you can’t be in Paris for Valentine’s Day, head to Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels (249 Centre Street, 212-343-3660), the NYC sibling to this Parisian wine bar. Chic furniture upholstered in plush fabrics in hues of blue speaks to the rare design sensibility that evokes both style and comfort. Inexplicably, this wine bar continues to fly under the radar (maybe the Centre Street location?) which is good news for dates looking to avoid prime-time competition. Neither will you find “specials” marking Cupid’s occasion — just the same reasonably priced small dishes, like charcuterie and braised octopus, and a European-heavy wine list at price points to fit any couple’s budget. This place does, however, take reservations, which I’d highly recommend making as soon as you read this.