Wine Writing Team on January 24, 2020 0 Comments Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to wow your friends or woo your special someone with a romantic dinner. Whether you’re a foodie who needs some inspiration or a novice who needs some education, we’ve chosen our favorite food and wine pairings for Valentine’s Day. Cheese + Champagne When it comes to pairing cheese and wine, the possibilities are endless! Since it’s a special occasion, pair an aged gouda, parmigiano-reggiano, or manchego with Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot Rose NV, or Moet & Chandon Rose NV. Steak + Full-Bodied Red Steak always pairs the best with a full-bodied red, but which full-bodied red you choose is up to you. There are some guidelines to follow, depending on your cut of steak and how you like it cooked, but you can’t go wrong with a cabernet sauvignon or merlot. Shrimp + Off-Dry Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, or Sparkling Rose A classic prawn cocktail pairs nicely with an off-dry riesling or sparkling rose, while shrimp with garlic goes great with a sauvignon blanc or other citrusy white. If you want to add some cultural flair, try a Thai prawn curry with a fruity rose. Duck + Pinot Noir Duck is generally a fatty, rich meat, so it needs a wine that can cut through with some sharpness and acidity. A pinot noir can get the job done and you’ll find the best values come from New Zealand and Chile. Vegetarian Dishes It’s a general belief that white wines pair best with fish and red wines pair best with meats, but what about vegetarian dishes? Generally, a substantial chardonnay pairs well with pesto pastas, a rich rose works well with vegetarian burgers, riesling goes well with Mexican recipes, and a chianti is perfection with a vegetarian pizza or pasta with red tomato sauce. Chocolate It may be cliche, but what better way to end Valentine’s Day than with classic chocolate and wine pairings: Milk or White Chocolate + Rose Raspberry-Filled Chocolate + Primitivo Dark Chocolate + Syrah Chocolate Truffles + Pinot Noir Chocolate with Peanut Butter + Cabernet Sauvignon Dark Chocolate with Almonds and Cherries + Red Blend General pairing tips to keep in mind Sweet lightens heat. Sweet white wines help tame the heat in spicy dishes and bring out the other flavors. Trust your taste buds. Everyone’s tastes are different, and everyone has their own built-in preferences, so don’t overthink food and wine combinations and go with what you like. Keep pairings compatible. Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible says to, “Pair great with great, humble with humble.” In other words, a pricey chardonnay shouldn’t be wasted on a weeknight pasta dish and vice versa. Serve wine at the right temperature. This is key, especially when planning a romantic dinner because the temperature of the wine can affect the taste of the food. Make sure the wine you choose to complement your dining experience is served at just the right temperature by keeping it in a wine refrigerator. Whether you’re just getting started with your wine collection or you’ve been collecting for years, there are many options to choose from, depending on how much space you have, the number of bottles and type of wine you’re storing, what your budget is, and what best fits your style. As you start to plan the menu for Valentine’s Day, make the evening even more meaningful by getting the wine lover in your life a gift to pair with the bottle. The right wine paired with the right food complemented by a unique wine accessory will create an evening to remember. Bon Appetit!