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Wine and Sex: The Ultimate Pairing?

sex_wine.jpgIn a wine culture obsessed with the idea of pairing, far too few people talk about the best complement to a nice glass of wine: sex. Yes, that's right, forget grilled meats and Zinfandel, oysters and Champagne, the best combo I know of is a bottle of something good and some skin-to-skin contact.

Which is presumably why the CEO of Taittinger Champagne recently said at a press briefing that Champagne's main competitor in the luxury market wasn't cheap California sparkling wine, it was Viagra.

I'm not kidding.

Of course, he might have been, but no matter how firmly his tongue was placed in his cheek, there's a certain amount of truth to the notion.

Wine tastes good on your lips, but it tastes better on the lips of your partner.

Great debate continues in the over-wrought world of wine and food pairing as to whether the match between the two is best tested by eating first, and then drinking, the reverse, or the middle ground I like to describe as "chew while you chug."

When it comes to wine and sex, however, I'm firmly in the wine before sex category, though I've never complained about a well chilled glass of Champagne afterwards.

Matching wine and sex is a lot easier than wine and food, thanks to the versatile nature of sex. It goes well with just about any wine, provided that the wine is served at the correct temperature (if you need a mnemonic: warm Chardonnay = no roll in the hay).

I've been keeping track of particularly successful matches over time, both my own and my friends, and have been surprised at how many are measured by conception -- I owe my own daughter to a nice bottle of Champagne, and a killer Russian River Pinot Noir -- though that may just be the particular life stage that my friends and I happen to be in at the moment. Six years ago I remember a particularly great evening thanks to a bottle of Vino Nobile de Montepulciano.

But back to the general theory. I find red to be better than white when it comes to truly great pairings. This perhaps is not entirely a surprise, but on the other hand, nor is it anywhere close to a hard and fast rule, so to speak.

And let's not forget the magic of the unplanned pairing,

Wine and sex paired well make sparks. Your skin feels warmer, time moves just slightly slower, and your heart feels full. What's not to love about that?

As with any wine match, I think it's important to get the proportions correct, but this may be more important with wine and sex than with other pairings. Too little and you might as well not have had any. Too much and things can get sloppy. However, I'm a firm believer in the idea that there shouldn't be any rules when it comes to wine pairings. I encourage you to find your own balance of flavors.

There is however, one place where I have to draw a line. Not because of any particular allegiance to the folks in Reims, but purely on the principle of the whole thing. Wine will always be more romantic than popping pills. Viagra truly is no substitute for Champagne.

Photo of a particular Michigan wine that I have not personally tried, courtesy of Melissa Schneider.

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.