Vinhood editors


The fact that wine, especially red wine, has aphrodisiac effects, has been proven by various scientific studies.

It would appear that due to a unique combination of the sensations aroused by certain aromas and the disinhibiting effect of the alcohol, the result it has could be compared to the reaction Monica Bellucci would provoke in a home for the elderly.

That’s to say, a “soft” romantic response, as long as you don’t drink too much of it, in which case the consequences could be quite the opposite.

But VINHOOD assigns a rather different meaning to the term #Sensual when it refers to wine. For us, it corresponds to a specific taste profile of red wine: full-bodied, alcoholic, soft, rounded and scented…you get it: it’s basically the liquid equivalent of a curvy woman.

And then it’s also a type of wine not destined to be aged for a long period in the bottle because it’s not very structured and has few tannins.

Usually, #Sensual reds spend time in wooden casks: these periods are short but intense and endow the end products with notes of vanilla and caramel.

They are very seductive wines, as you’ll have guessed by now, that unleash the pure passion in general and especially in people with their same type of character.

This is why the food they are paired with has to have that fiery something that will make it a worthy companion, especially for a candlelit dinner.

Before reviewing the best dishes and defining the top pairings, we’d like to remind you of some varietals and wines with this #Character.


  •   Valpolicella Ripasso

Halfway between the Valpolicella Classico (#Relaxed) and the Amarone (with more of a #Sage character courtesy of its longevity), the Ripasso version has that softness and alcoholic charge that make it one of the Italian #Sensual wines par excellence.

  •   Dolcetto

The name says it all: in Italian “dolce” means sweet! In fact, this Piedmontese varietal and wine take their name from Duset, which means hill. However, it has to be said that it is also a very mellow wine, with barely any tannins and so earns its label as an #Sensual Doc.

  •   Italian vines such as Nero d’Avola, Primitivo and Negroamaro

Normally made with a single varietal, in most cases they produce #Sensual wines because, as long as they don’t undergo any particular treatments, these grapes achieve an optimum level of ripeness thanks to the warm climates in which they grow and are therefore also rich in sugar and soft tannins.

  •   International vines such as Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon

Made into wine on their own or in blends, these grapes are naturally loaded with sugar and therefore with alcohol and have sweeter, less rough tannins.

  •   Argentine, Australian and Californian reds

Ok here we’re generalizing a bit too much, but in fact, the large majority of these wines, made with Malbec (Argentina), Zinfandel (California), Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet (Australia and California), present the characteristics of #Sensual wines. This is because, in these areas, the sun is very strong, the grapes are ripe and abroad, it’s a well-known fact that it’s almost shameful if you don’t treat your wine to a spell in a wood cask.



 1. “I don’t believe it…you too?”: pairings based on similarities

As we mentioned before, the #Sensual wines have the characteristic of being very soft and aromatic, making them the perfect accompaniment for very fragrant dishes, as long as they are not excessively fatty and complex .. otherwise, the flavor of the food could cover the taste of the wine.

Some examples could include a steak fillet in green pepper sauce, duck à l’orange, cheese aged under march, a platter of cut cheese and meat and smoked cold cuts or dishes made with truffle. 

2. Opposites attract: pairings based on contrasts

A good pairing can also be achieved with foods that are rather bitter, as the roundness and sweetness of the #Sensual wines take over and create the right balance in the mouth.

When talking about sweetness, we should avoid confusion. #Sensual reds are dry wines, but whether it’s due to the slight sugary residue wisely left intact by the oenologist, the sweetness generated by the alcohol or the distinctive vanilla scent, the resulting taste profile is that of a very appealing wine. In jargon, the right word would be pandering.

This means that it’s a good match for broccoli rabe, chicory, liver pâté or the notorious artichokes (notorious because sommeliers consider them the most difficult vegetable to pair).

OK, they’re not exactly the sexiest food in the world for a romantic dinner – even if it’s all a question of personal taste – but if your partner needs to phone a friend for ideas on how to add extra sweetness, tell him to call a #Sensual wine.

orecchiette con vini rossi morbidi afrodisiaci

3. “Let’s get kinky”: pairings with spicy and exotic foods

Due to the very characteristics described above (softness, barely any tannins, dry taste but sweet aroma), #Sensual wines are to die for when paired with spicy foods.

In fact, thanks to their intrinsic sweetness, they counteract the spicy notes of a hot dish, creating an effect that is more “harmony” than “nose on fire”.

Italy has spicy foods galore for anyone who wants them, from those made with ‘nduja to a simple plate of spaghetti all’arrabbiata. But an interesting suggestion could be ethnic cuisine, such as Chinese, Indian or African food.

Sensual, exotic dishes that you eat with your hands, made to be shared and romantically spoon-fed to your other half (so only recommended from the third date on, when the passion is still alight but by now you’ve ascertained that your partner does, in fact, wash their hands).cibo etnico abbinamento vino afrodisiaci

After all these suggestions we’ve given you for Valentine’s Day, now it’s up to you to try them out and let us know what happens (it’s ok though: you can keep the spicier details to yourself!)

If you want to find out whether you or your partner have an #Sensual character, try the test now.