Every year for Valentine’s Day, my beau treats me to a fantastic multi-course meal, shopped for, cooked, and cleaned up with his own hands. It’s seems to be a trend sweeping the food department—I think it should sweep the nation. (I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get the same amazing gift this year). He also pairs each course beautifully with just the right wine. My idea of heaven!
If dinner and some wine are in the works for you and your Valentine, below are a few general guidelines that will allow you to concentrate on more important things, like gazing into each other’s eyes.
1. Like with like
Match the weight and intensity of the food to the same attributes in the wine. For example, the classic V-day treat of fresh briny oysters is a good match for a crisp Muscadet or a sprightly sauvignon blanc, while a hearty beef stew will be great with a hefty cabernet sauvignon or syrah.
2. Acid refreshes
A wine’s acids balance out fat and salt. A tangy pinot grigio can act as a palate cleanser when sipped with fried food, such as crunchy calamari.
3. Sweet tames spice
If something spicy is on the menu, a wine with a bit of sweetness can help to tame the heat. Rieslings are a good bet, as they often have some residual sugar. (On the other hand, wines that are high in alcohol can intensify the spice.)
4. Tannins love fat
Tannic wines (think of the feeling your teeth get after eating spinach or drinking black tea – that’s the effect that tannin has) are great with rich, fatty proteins-short ribs for example- but a bad pairing with the oils found in fish. (However, red wine can go with fish! Just make sure it’s low in tannins, like a Beaujolais or pinot noir, as opposed to a big, bold cabernet sauvignon. And, don’t forget tip #1.)
5. Desserts are for the sweet
Dessert wines should be at least as sweet as the dessert. Pour a delicate moscato with a fruit tart, a fortified tawny port with a decadent chocolate mousse.
And one final personal opinion: bubbly goes with everything.
By: Catherine Lo