We are halfway through January and for those of us in relationships ideas will be starting to drift towards Valentine’s Day. We are giving you the nudge now so that you can do better than the gas station flowers that you got last year and actually plan something that will be memorable. Valentine’s Day is a very commercial celebration but there is nothing wrong with showing the person you love how much you care, in fact, it should be actively encouraged.
One idea that has worked well for generations is to cook a romantic meal for your significant other, depending on what their tastes are this may involve steak, sea food, caviare, chocolate and of course champagne. We wanted to look at some rules that you can follow to match wines to different courses. Taking the time to pair the wine to the course shows a lot of thought has been put into the meal and having a wine paired with food can add a whole other level to the meal and make it a great Valentine’s gift.
The video below highlights pairing wines to chocolate from the amazing Ayza Wine Bar in NYC
Some simple rules to keep in mind when looking to pair food to wine.
- Think about the which course each wine is for and look to match like for like. For example, a regular Valentine’s dinner attendee will be the trusty oyster. It is light and delicate with a fresh zingy flavour, you would look to pair this with a sprightly sauvignon blanc or a crisp Muscadet. On the other hand if you are a wine to match with a hearty steak or stew then you will be looking for a full bodied cabernet sauvignon or syrah which will be able to cut through the fat of the meat.
- You will want to think about the acidity of the wines that you are having, a wines acidity can balance out fat and salt. So you can use a wine as a palate cleanser, such as a tangy pinot grigio if sipped with fried food such as calamari.
- If you and your significant other are a fan of spice then bear in mind that sweet can concur spice. There is nothing romantic about two people weeping with heat sweats due to their ferociously hot dinner. Rieslings are a great shout as they often have some residual sugar adding to the sweetness and helping extinguish those fires.
- We have mentioned full bodied wines earlier and the reason that they go so well with fatty, meaty dishes is due to the tannins. When drinking a cup of black tea think about the feeling that you get on your teeth, those are tannins. They go great with rich, fatty proteins like ribs or steak. They don’t suit the oils that are found in fish, not to say that you can’t have red wine with fish, you just have to choose a low tannin wine like a pinot noir or a Beaujolais.
- To finish of the meal you will want to select a desert wine. For this you will want to have a wine that is at least as sweet as the dessert that you are having, if you are having a delicate and light desert you may want to look at buying a delicate moscato but for a rich and heavy desert you should look towards a tawny port which will complement the flavours of a rich chocolate mousse and leave a wonderful lingering after-taste.
These are some fairly straight forward rules that you can follow but always remember to talk to the staff in your local wine shop, they will be able to make some suggestions that will fit perfectly with what you have planned for your romantic meal. And as a side note, Champagne goes with everything on Valentine’s Day. We have put together a bundlr of sites that have lots of suggestions for food pairing for Valentine’s day and if you have any suggestions please let us know in the comments section below.