The reservation at your favorite, romantic Italian restaurant has been made. The proverbial heart shaped box of chocolates is hidden away. The jewelry is wrapped in a pretty little box. Your flower strategy has been committed to memory (call in the morning, pick up in the evening). Now there’s just one more thing to take care of this Valentine’s Day… the wine!
Sure, you need a nice red or white wine to go with your Valentine’s Day dinner, but a Champagne to start and a dessert wine to finish will make the whole night perfect. We’ve come up with a strategy that is a sure-fire way to make the night great (well, the wine part of things… the rest is up to you!).
Valentine’s Day is all about romance, correct? Well, nothing says ‘I love you,’ better than a bottle of Champagne (or Prosecco, Cava, etc… just something that pops when you open it). Just think about it, Champagne is a big part of wedding celebrations and anniversaries, plus it goes hand in hand with a New Year’s Eve stroke of midnight embrace with a significant other. So start the night with some bubbles.
And if you want to keep drinking Champagne throughout the entire meal, by all means do so. Champagne is one of the most (maybe THE most) unheralded wines when it comes to pairing with a variety of entrees. It pairs nicely with lighter salad-type dishes, soups, fish dishes, roasted chicken and many others. If you’re going with rich, luxurious entrees this Valentine’s Day (that seems appropriate), something like a lobster bisque, baked lobster (anything with lobster), or Filet Mignon, the bright/crisp qualities of Champagne make for the perfect food pairing.
One of our favorite Champagnes (and probably the best value in the store) is Haton Brut Classic NV. With bright citrus and pear fruit, dried apricot, brioche, and a chalky finish, Haton is the perfect choice to set the tone for the evening. At $24.99, this is a STEAL for a Champagne, almost half the price of the more common, big names out there.
We’re fans of just about any type of Champagne, but on Valentine’s Day, Rosé Champagne is a great choice. With red fruit notes and a fuller body than many non-Rosé sparkling wines, this will work from the beginning of the meal all the way to that steak. And, of course, it’s a great starter and finisher (might as well just keep drinking Champagne all night). Oh, and how could we forget… it’s PINK, so of course Rosé on Valentine’s Day is appropriate!
Why not stick with the Haton theme here and go with their luxurious Brut Rosé NV? With a beautiful raspberry color, this wine is loaded with red berries, strawberries, orange peel, and toast. This is a full-bodied Champagne with a supple, creamy texture, yet is stays bright and vibrant all the way through the finish. Delicious! And the $29.99 price makes it even tastier.
OK, we have the start of the evening all set, so what about the nightcap? What are we drinking after dinner? We could make a lot of sweetheart, sweetie-type lead-ins here, but that seems easy/obvious, so we’ll spare you that and just say it: SWEET WINES!
There are all sorts of wonderful dessert wines out there, from Sauternes to Ice Wines and from Vin Santos to Tokajis. The two that we think work best with Valentine’s Day, however, are Ports and Moscato d’Astis. Here’s why…
What would Valentine’s Day be without chocolate?! That ubiquitous box of chocolates has no better pair than a nice bottle of Port. Whether caramel filled or raspberry filled, a glass of Port complements those flavors beautifully (if we’re getting picky here, go with a Tawny Port with the caramel filled chocolate and a Vintage Port with the berry filled versions).
Of course, a nice glass of Port is dessert in and of itself, so feel free to skip the candy and stick with the drink. Port’s slightly higher alcohol content (20%) makes it a perfect end of the night warming sipper… check the weather forecast and pour appropriately.
If Port’s not your thing, and you prefer something lighter and fresher, then a nice Moscato d’Asti might be the glass for you. With bright honey and peach notes, this lightly fizzy wine is ideal with fresh fruit and cream-based desserts. It also won’t be a heavy way to end a meal, as Moscato d’Asti goes the opposite way of Port in that it is low in alcohol (between about 5 and 6%).
One of our favorite Moscato d’Asti is Gancia. With lemon, peach, apricot, and honey flavors, this is a fresh, lively, well-balanced bottle, not cloying at all as some Moscatos can tend to be. Gancia is a great value as well, only $9.99.
Reservations, candy, jewelry, flowers and wines; check, check, check, check and CHECK. With your strategy planned, NOW you’re really all set for the perfect Valentine’s Day for you and your special someone.
Have a great evening!