A Guide to Your Valentine’s Day Wine Pairing

 In CGT Blog

Evoking your sense of taste by making a lovely meal is a special way to connect with someone. And you can make it even more memorable with a carefully selected wine or two. Whether you’re preparing a snack or a smorgasbord, we have some helpful tips and Valentine’s Day wine ideas to consider.

Best Wine for Valentine’s Day

There are so many wine varietals, and if you ask us, they’re all romantic. But, when you think of all the sentiments that this holiday evokes, you want your wine to be that special connecting point between you and your loved one.

From the experts, our top picks are:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon – for a romantic and rich feel
  • Cherry Wine or Port – to spark sweetness and adventure
  • Pinot Noir Rosé – for a playful but elegant approach
  • Chardonnay – to keep the day light but still indulgent
  • Champagne – for versatility and celebration

These types of wine all pair nicely with the elegant, rich food flavors commonly enjoyed on Valentine’s Day. For these wines and other varietals, check out the following well-paired appetizers and easier-to-digest flavor profiles.

Perfectly Matched Valentine’s Day Food and Wine Pairings

Finding the right match can be intimidating at times, especially when you’re new to the world of wine. A good general rule of thumb to get you started is to match flavor intensity and profile. Also, avoid overly acidic, spicy or salty flavor pairings. If you do have one of these options on the menu, don’t worry – instead, think of what tasting notes in your wine pairing will complement and mellow that intensity. For example, choose a wine with slight sweetness or acidity to pair with spicy foods, instead of challenging the food flavors with bold tannins or tart fruits.

When it comes to red wine, the flavor profile is usually fruity, earthy, rich, smooth, and sometimes spicy. For an ideal pairing, think of foods similarly bold in taste or prepared in rich sauces.

These are our top red wine and appetizer pairings:

  • Cabernet with Braised Beef Sliders or Glazed Lamb Meatballs
    • With bold tannins and rich, earthy flavor coming from this deep red wine, it’s better to stick to red meats and hearty dishes that will match but not outperform.
  • Merlot with Baked Spinach Raviolis or Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates
    • With a dryer, slightly sweet profile, Merlots can be paired with more complex flavors like roasted vegetables, rich cheeses, and slightly acidic bases.
  • Pinot Noir (or Rosé) with Jammy Baked Brie or Bruschetta
    • Usually made with lighter berries and maintaining a dryer, more acidic flavor profile, this wine is best paired with either higher fats, for balance, or matching acidity in veggies and fruits.
  • Gamay Noir with Stuffed Mushrooms or Salmon Crostini
    • Similar to Pinot Noirs, Gamays are quite versatile. With their lighter, fruity, and sometimes floral flavor, they can pair well a wide variety of dishes. However, they do complement earthy flavors very well.

White wines typically have more floral, crisp, and buttery flavor profiles. Pair them with foods that will complement their lightness:

  • Dry Riesling or Sweet Riesling with Smoked Salmon Cucumber Bites or Spicy Tuna Tartare
    • This fresh white wine pairs nicely with a variety of bright flavors. If you opt for a slightly sweeter off-dry Riesling, you can balance it with harder-to-pair spicy (but still light) foods to cut the heat.
  • Pinot Grigio with Seafood Ceviche or Fresh Spring Rolls
    • The neutral, floral, and acidic taste of this wine makes it a great candidate for pairing with fresh vegetables and lighter flavors like seafood or pasta salads.
  • Chardonnay with Mini Quiche or Hummus Crostini
    • With a creamy, slightly sweet depth, chardonnay is a great choice for drinking alongside smooth or rich dishes.

Finally, here are some excellent dessert and wine pairings for Valentine’s Day or other romantic occasions:

  1. Cherry Wine or Cherry Port with Blueberry Vanilla Goat Cheese Pastries or Dark Chocolate Mousse
  2. Sweet Wines with Fun Dessert Charcuterie or Cheesecake Bites
  3. Champagne with Pistachio Cannoli or Fresh Figs with Honey and Goat Cheese

Whatever you decide to drink and eat on this special day, remember that the purpose is to experience new things with those you love. Spending exorbitant amounts of money isn’t necessary – just choosing a special wine and perfectly paired treat can make it a truly unforgettable day.

Explore Wine with Chateau Grand Traverse

Experimenting with wine pairings on Valentine’s Day is a great way to dive into the world of wine. And who knows, maybe your pairing experience will become a newfound hobby or tradition between you and your partner.  

At Chateau Grand Traverse, we’re not only focused on winemaking but also on building experiences surrounding it – from tastings to tours to clubs and events. If you’re interested in some of our offerings or you just want a friendly wine advisor, reach out to our team at (800) 283-0247 or visit us.