Romance is in the air, and the day of love is upon us! What better way is there to celebrate with your special someone, than with a romantic dinner and a specially picked bottle of wine?
Special menus call for special bottles, and here are a few of my top picks for Valentine’s Day Romance depending on what menu is on your radar.
Classicly Romantic Chocolate Covered Strawberries…
Each year I test my artistic pastry chef skills and make a batch of Chocolate Covered Strawberries. There is something classically seductive and romantic about this special treat. They are a great reward if you are single too! Something this special deserves a wine equally special to go with it. My personal favourite is Rosé Champagne:
Bollinger Brut NV Rose Champagne – $107
A classic Aphrodisiac, this is one bottle that you don’t have to save for dessert. The complexity of balanced savoury and fruity flavours in a bottle of Rosé Champagne will compliment your entire meal. And frankly, this wine is too special to save for just dessert. Take your time, sip and savour your wine and each other. Your glass will be brimming with classic red berry fruit, and bright acidity that is classic for the occasion, though admittedly not actually the ideal chocolate pairing. But really, who cares? Is there anything that says Valentine’s day more than a festive glass of pink Champagne? I think not…
Best wine for the box of Chocolates…
Red Wine and Chocolate go classically hand in hand. But the truth is that not all wines are a great match! Milk Chocolate and sweet filling can throw off your wine if it does not have enough residual sugar. If you plan of diving into a box with an assortment of caramel and fruit filled assorted treasures – a bottle of Vintage Port is your best bet.
Quinta do Noval – Silval 2005 Vintage Port – $83
Vintage Ruby Ports usually explode with rich red fruit character, and offer just the right ammount of sweetness to balance out milk chocolate and caramel. These wines are only made from the best years, similar to Vintage Champagnes. Unlike Tawny Port, they do not see extended oxidation maturation in oak, and are instead largely matured in bottle. Because of this they will be much fruitier in flavour than their Tawny cousins. They are also a classic standout with blue cheese. So if a cheese plate, and box of chocolates are on your radar – this is a sure winner.
Classic Steak or Filet Mignon wrapped with Bacon?
Special dates call for special cuts of beef. If you are thinking of impressing your sweetheart with a decadent steak dinner, simply prepared on the grill, or basted in butter with salt and pepper, then a Syrah from the Northern Rhone or high quality Australian Shiraz is your ideal bet.
Domaine Yves Cuilleron – 2011 L’Amarybelle Syrah, St. Joseph $53
Your Northern Rhone selelctions from areas such as St. Joseph will offer a beautiful smokey complexity to them that are a perfect compliment to grilled flavours in lean cuts of beef, especially classic Filet Mignon wrapped with peppered bacon. Full of rich red fruit character, smoke, and pepper this is a perfect choice. Less smokey, and more fruit forward are your quality Shiraz offerings from the Barossa Valley in Australia. These will be nice and peppery and full of jammy blackberry and cherry flavours.
If crab legs or lobster tails are on your radar this Valentine’s Day, one of my favourite pairings with these dishes is Saumur. Try this:
Bouvet Ladubay – Brut Saumur NV – $25
Saumur is a Sparkling Wine Appelation in the heart of the Loire in France. These festive bubbles have crisp acidity that will cut through the rich butter, and a unique smoky nose that will bring out the delicate sweetness of the crab or lobster meat. They are also exceptional with fruit based desserts. Saumur offers extreme value, and this wine is a great choice if you already splurged on a Valentine’s day gift.
Fondue for Two?
Whether it be Cheese, Meat, or both topped off with Chocolate Fondue for dessert, there is something extrememly romantic about sharing fondue for two. With many sauces and flavours, I recommend going with a refreshing, complex, but slightly neutral wine. Pinot Gris is a natural choice. My top pick:
Domaine Zind Humbrecht – 2011 Rotenberg Pinot Gris – $68
This treat from Alsace France is bursting with crisp citrus, and stone fruit, and almond ntoes. This wine has full body and tonnes of nutty texture thanks to lees treatment. Refreshing, with a strong mineral backbone, this wine compliments all of the rich sauces, cheese, and variety of flavours associated with Fondue.
No matter what your menu, or choice of wine, the most imporant thing is to remember to take time out to celebrate your relationship. Make it special!