In just a few days, we'll be celebrating Valentine's Day - the holiday to make time for someone you care for and love, and unfortunately some of us need a holiday to remind us to take time to do so. Valentine’s Day gives us another opportunity to woo and recharge that wilting spark or even ignite a new flame with someone new, so, have some fun with it, and try an intimate dinner with a great wine pairing. Avoid the Valentine’s Day crowds, the endless table-for-two dining. Stay in, light the fire, pour the wine and warm the kitchen with a special dinner for two. Make a picnic or have a low seated romantic dinner at the coffee table with a nice spread and pillows for seats. Turn off the television and put on some music. Talk. Dance. Enjoy.
This sounds like a great idea, but, what does one cook to make that special someone swoon? Here are some great foods you can easily make or get together with little preparation needed for a lovely evening with your sweetheart, complete with wine pairings.
Spicy Asian Take-out
A nice, spicy thai coconut dish has all the sweet and flame needed for Valentine's Day. Pair this with a Riesling more on the sweeter side than drier. Riesling loves eastern cuisine, chili spice and aromatic herbs. The sweetness seems to bring out the lovely bouquet of various chilis, and it also has the ability to cool the spicy aspects.
Look for a late harvest wine or one with some residual sugar. The wine is perfect as an after-dinner treat as well to have with vanilla desserts or even lemon-flavored sweets.
- 2013 Robert Weil Estate Riesling Spatlese (Rheingau, Germany)
- 2012 Trimbach Riesling (Alsace, France)
- 2012 Heinz Eifel Riesling Auslese (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany)
- NV Dr. Loosen Sparkling Riesling (Germany)
- 2014 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Homemade Red Sauce Pasta
Homemade lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs or spaghetti with bolognese sauce are all great, hearty dishes to try and easy to make. If you’ve got some skill in the kitchen, you can probably make a mean lasagna for your loved-one or with less skill, a great marinara with spaghetti and a lovely chocolate dessert.
- 2014 Cusumano Nero d’Avola (Sicily, Italy)
- 2013 Regaleali Nero d’Avola (Sicily, Italy)
- 2012 Feudo Maccari Saia (Sicily, Italy)
Dessert Chocolate & Port
For dessert, dark chocolates with Port wine make for a rich indulgence. Please do stay away from any big red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and the like. Many places love to market this pairing this time of year, but they do not really work well together. Try something different, even bold. Here are some Port wines to try with your chocolates.
- 2008 Fonseca Late Bottled Vintage (Portugal)
- 2008 Quinta do Noval Late Bottled Vintage Single Quinta (Portugal)
- Graham’s 20 Year Old Tawny Port (Portugal)
- Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port (Portugal)
What says love more than bacon or crispy Prosciutto with a lush cream sauce? It is fancy, it is simple and it is delicious. But which wines go best with cream sauces? Try a white wine or even a rose with medium-body. Some residual sugar in the wine with a lovely bouquet (Yeah, you can get the flowers too, but I was referring to the bouquet in the wine.) will go nicely with the smokey bacon and rich cream.
- 2014 Kris Pinot Grigio (Fruili-Venezia Giulia, Italy)
- 2014 King Estate Signature Collection Pinot Gris (Oregon)
- 2012 Sean Thackery Knights Vally Lyra Viognier (Sonoma County, California)
- 2014 Domaine Lafond Roc-Epine Tavel Rose (Tavel, Rhone, France)
Maybe it is a rich chocolate mousse or a chocolate volcano cake, for Valentine’s Day it should be divine. Make it yourself - from scratch of course, it is Valentine’s Day; you can also find some bakery or confiture shop that makes their confections by scratch. Avoid processed desserts. Try a fortified wine like those paired with the chocolates or go on the adventurous side with these pairings.
- El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry (Andalucia, Spain)
- Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry (Andalucia, Sherry)
- Alvear Pedro Ximenez 1927 (Andalucia, Spain)
If you are not making pasta and want to give the appearance you made a bit more effort, a great Chicken Marsala dish is a lovely and romantic way to go simple. Go for medium-bodied wines with some balance and big acidity, perhaps some oak aging or secondary fermentation.
- 2012 Seven Falls Wahluke Slope Chardonnay (Columbia Valley, Washington)
- 2014 Domaine Vrignaud Chablis (Burgundy, France)
- 2013 William Fevre Chablis Domaine (Chablis, France)
- 2012 Hamacher Wines Cuvee Forets Diverses Chardonnay (Willamette Valley, Oregon)