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updated: 2/5/2014 2:18 PM

From sweet to sassy, a valentine wine selection

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  • Wine abounds with labels that range from sweet to saucy for Valentine's Day enjoyment.

      Wine abounds with labels that range from sweet to saucy for Valentine's Day enjoyment.
    Associated Press

 
By Michelle Locke, Associated Press

All wine pairs well with romance. But some bottles really wear their hearts on their labels.

Whether you're interested in the Birds & bees sweet red wine or want to cut straight to the chase with some Simply Naked chardonnay, bottles abound with labels that range from sweet to saucy.

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Feeling true to the one you love? Perhaps Monogamy wine is what you seek. Or maybe the mood calls for Menage a Trois, a popular line of California wines from Trinchero Family Estates. (For the record, the name stems from the fact that the flagship wine, a red blend, is a mix of zinfandel, merlot and cabernet sauvignon.)

For a wine that makes a definite statement about your intentions, the Taken Wine Co. has one wine called Taken and another called Complicated. A third, Available, is planned.

The company was founded by Carlo Trinchero and Josh Phelps, childhood friends who grew up in the Napa Valley and both have family in the wine business. The inspiration for the company name, launched in 2010, was when they joked that all the names they wanted were, literally, taken.

But after a while they began to explore the idea of marketing their wines with a wink to modern romance. The result was wines that take their names from the frequently used social media statuses. Taken is a red wine, a blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot; Complicated is available in a red blend and a chardonnay. Available will also be made in multiple varietals.

"Wine has a history of romance, and Taken Wine Company is putting a new millennial spin on it," says Phelps. "Taken is the perfect valentine's gift to let someone know how you feel -- or even to propose with."

Speaking of the married life, Monogamy wine comes from California-based Canopy Management and is available as a cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay. The company first came out with a wine called PromisQous, a blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, zinfandel and petite syrah. At tastings, people would ask, "Here's PromisQous. What about Monogamy?" says Mary Ann Vangrin, company spokeswoman.

In other words, being PromisQous led to Monogamy.

"At one tasting recently, we heard a story about a guy who had proposed to his girlfriend with a bottle of Monogamy on which he had written `Will you marry me?' (She said yes.) Clearly, this wouldn't have worked out so well had it been a bottle of PromisQous," notes Vangrin.

Wines with a loving message on the bottle aren't limited to U.S. producers.

From Argentina there's Bodega Renacer's Enamore, which means "in love" in Spanish. It's also a play on the word "Amarone," which refers to an Italian style of wine made with partially dried grapes. Enamore is a joint production between Bodega Renacer in the Mendoza region of Argentina and Allegrini, a well-known producer of Italian Amarone. The Enamore version of the wine is made of malbec, syrah, bonarda and cabernet franc grapes dried and made in the Amarone style.

And from Sicily there's Lamuri Nero d'Avola from the producer Tasca D'Amerita. Lamuri means love in the Sicilian dialect and this red wine is made entirely from nero d'Avola grapes grown on the island.

Perhaps yours is not a storybook romance? There's a wine called Troublemaker from Hope Family Wines and another called The Ball Buster, a shiraz-based wine from Tait Wines in Australia's Barossa Valley.

And, for those very special occasions -- perhaps toward the end of a relationship? -- there's French import Fat Bastard wine and a red grenache wine titled, simply, Bitch.

• Follow Michelle Locke on Twitter @Vinecdote.

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