While Valentine’s Day only comes once a year, it really doesn’t have to be a holiday to have a glass of wine with your partner. In fact why stress about Valentine’s Day at an expensive restaurant, why not plan a simple and romantic evening at home that will be perfect for any date night?
A fun evening idea is to re-create a wine tasting for two in the comfort of your own home. Go to a great wine store and ask for help picking out 3-5 good bottles of wine that would give you some variety for a tasting.
Ask what foods pair nicely with the different wines (preferably finger foods like cheese, chocolate or fruit) and show off your knowledge by staging a wine tasting for your lover at home.
We all know cheeses, fruit and chocolate pair well with most wines. Here are a few light finger foods that are exactly the kind of thing that will make your wine night taste even better.
Smoky Three Cheese Fondue
Gouda, gruyere and swiss cheeses combine for a warm, gooey dip that you’re going to want to dunk bread, veggies and more into.
Baked Brie With Figs & Walnuts
Figs, brie and nuts are going to pair well with the flavorful grapes in your glass.
Buttered Parmesan Crostini
Butter, garlic and cheese combine for an irresistibly flavorful snack. You won’t be able to eat just one.
Roasted Fruit & Cheese Plate
Warm fruits and cheeses make for a sweet and savory light dish that will surely be a hit.
Popcorn With Sesame Glazed Pistachios
Salty and easy to pop in your mouth with only one hand (the other’s holding your glass, of course). It’s pretty much the perfect snack food.
Numerous Wines pair well with the food suggested here.
For example Brie can be mild and slightly chalky or decadently gooey and quite strong in flavor, so pair it with fruity reds such as New Zealand or Chilean Pinot Noir. More mature Bries will need more powerful structured wines such as those from Central Otago or try a fruity (but not too tannic) Merlot or a ripe 'cru' Beaujolais from a good vintage like 2009. Also try a fruity dry rosé and a creamy, subtly oaked Chardonnay.
For the popcorn with sesame glazed pistachios we recommend finding a medium-bodied cab or a French Chardonnay. Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio are also good pairings for butter popcorn. A sparkling wine also works well with flavored popcorn. Go with a true sparkling wine, not necessarily a Cava or a Prosecco.
Dry wines go well with fresh fruit. Try whites and even reds with fruit such as peaches, apricots, melons and figs. Sweet wines, of course, go well with all of these but sometimes sweet wines seem too intense, particularly if you don’t have a very sweet tooth. The ideal wines to pair with fruit are young unoaked - or subtly oaked - and fruity themselves. I particularly like rosé with peaches and melon, slightly aromatic wines like Viognier with both peaches and apricots and fruity lightly chilled reds such as Cinsault with strawberries, peaches and fresh figs. Riesling works well too:
Finally for dessert it’s easiest to focus on the different "dessert" categories when selecting wine:
Custard and vanilla
Fruit and spice
Caramels and chocolates
In general, as the colors of the dessert get darker, the wine gets darker. For caramels and chocolates suggested wine pairings include red wine like late-harvest Pinot Noir, Banyuls, Grenache, Australian Shiraz, port (the classic chocolate pairing), and Grappa. If you want to be on the safe side, port and champagne are versatile and go with almost any dessert.
These are just a few suggestions, so be sure to talk to your wine store representative for additional wine and food pairing recommendations.
The main objective is to have fun and to create a relaxed and romantic evening. Turn off the television and unplug from social media for a few hours and enjoy a romantic evening with your partner.