Perfect Food & Wine Pairings for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. For some that means being “swept off your feet” like in a romance movie. For others it is a day of anger, bitterness, and resentment reflected in a good break up movie. For those of us who have been with the same partner or spouse for decades and have grown kids it really does not mean much at all. However, I am always up for an opportunity for a good food and wine pairing. So whether or not Cupid’s arrow has its sights on you, Valentine’s Day can be a day of gastronomic celebrate. Furthermore, rather then dining out and spending a ridiculous amount of money, why not create a delicious food and wine pairing at home?

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Filets are a delicious and elegant way to splurge on Valentine’s Day. Pair a juicy filet with the 2013 Leviathan Red Wine California USA ($48). This bold red wine is blended from 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Syrah, 24% Merlot, and 7% Cabernet Franc; clear deep purple gives way to pronounced aromas of black fruit, candied violets, wet tobacco leaves, dark cocoa, sweet spice, black pepper, and licorice; high acid and tannins created a full body wine that coats the palate in a long finish.

Taking an equally delicious, more casual approach to Valentine’s Day, the 2013 Domaine Bousquet Gaia Gualtallary Argentina ($16) is a great wine to pair with top notch burgers. Think bacon, caramelized onions, and blue cheese with this wine blend crafted of 50% Malbec, 45% Syrah, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon; clear pronounced inky purple with black hues in the glass; clean pronounced aromas of red and black stewed fruit, candied violets, tobacco, black pepper, toasted walnuts, savory herbal notes, dark chocolate, and vanilla; medium acid, medium+ tannins create a silky mouth-feel with a full body and long finish.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion for pasta, but not just any pasta, something special. A hearty bowl of Bolognese paired with the 2014 Castello di Albola Chianti Classico DOCG Tuscany Italy ($16) is sure to wow your Valentine. Crafted of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo, this wine poured a clear medium ruby with garnet hues into the glass; aromas of fresh red fruit, dried red flowers, sweet spice, medicinal notes, savory herbal notes, and damp underbrush; medium acid and tannins with a medium body and finish; a traditional Chianti ideal for pasta.

Busy Valentine’s Day with limited time to cook? You can still have a delicious meal by letting your slow cooker do the work for you. This 2013 Trinity Hill ‘The Trinity’ Hawke’s Bay New Zealand ($16.99) offers an ideal pairing with pot roast. This wine is crafted predominately of Merlot, with Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and other varietals; it poured a medium ruby into the glass; clean medium+ aromas of fresh red fruit, sweet spice, cassis, leather, green vegetal notes, dried savory herbs, and charred walnuts; medium+ acid and chewy tannins, medium+ body and finish, very enjoyable easy to drink wine.

Whether preparing pork chops, pork tenderloin, or pulled pork for Valentine’s Day, the 2013 Qupé Syrah Central Coast USA ($20) will complete a delicious meal. This 98% Syrah, 2% divided among Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo comes from the cool climate of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and poured a clear medium- ruby into the glass; bright aromas of fresh red fruit, red floral notes, savory dried herbs, soft sweet spice notes, and a hint of leather and smoke; medium acid and tannins offer a medium body wine that is easy to drink, with a medium finish.

Chicken is an old standby for most home cooks. Whether you chose to make a basic chicken dish or something decadent such as goat cheese and spinach stuffed chicken, the 2013 Cultivate Pinot Noir California USA ($27.99) will make your Valentine smile. This 100% Pinot Noir poured a clear medium- ruby into the glass; clean medium aromas of cranberries, pomegranates, black raspberries, rose petals, white tea, and a touch of orange zest; medium acid and tannins in a medium body wine with a medium finish; a light and lively Pinot Noir that is sure to please.

If you are seeking lighter cuisine for Valentine’s Day I have good news, this 2015 Ciu Ciu Merlettaie Offida Pecorino DOCG Italy ($18) is a great wine to pair with seafood, salad, chicken, and creamy pasta dishes. This 100% Pecorino poured a clear pale lemon into the glass; clean pronounced aromas of bright citrus notes, green fruit, white floral notes, grass, savory herbal notes, toast, and a hint of vanilla; medium+ acid balanced with a touch of creaminess in a full body wine with a long finish.

It’s Valentine’s Day so of course we cannot forget dessert. Are you going to enjoy a fruity dessert of cherries, apples, or strawberries, or do you prefer dark, rich chocolate such as molten cake or fondue? If a fruity dessert is your heart’s desire this Castello del Poggio Moscato Provincia Di Pavia IGT Lombardy Italy ($13) is an optimal selection. This lightly effervescent wine poured a clear pale gold into the glass; clean medium+ aromas of stone fruit, citrus, fresh picked white floral notes, and tropical fruit; medium+ acid balances out a kiss of sweetness in this refreshing and lovely medium- body wine. If your Valentine’s Day is not complete without chocolate then port is a must. Graham’s Six Grapes Port Reserve ($23) poured a clear deep ruby into the glass with a thick viscosity; aromas and flavors of blackberries and plums, sweet spice notes, dark chocolate, and vanilla; this thick, balanced port is a chocolate lovers friend and an ideal way to end your Valentine’s Day.

Each of these wines are widely distributed and should be easy to find at your favorite local wine retailer or online.

*Disclaimer: These wines were media samples; all thoughts and opinions were my own.

My Song Selection: What better artist to pair with Valentine’s Day than Stevie Wonder!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Cheers!

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