I really am not much of a Valentine’s Day gal. I think it is a silly holiday. However, I am a girl, and I do like romantic gestures (just pick a day other than this one). So, I am going to tell you what I think are the most romantic wines and some EASY foods to pair them with for the last minute type of guys and gals. (BTW- I am skipping chocolate and wine pairing because it is a bit overdone.)
#1. Pinot Gris. NOT Pinot Grigio. Pinot Grigio, in my opinion is like drinking water (Sorry Santa Margarita). The difference between Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio is a bit more than one coming from Italy and the other coming from France or the Pacific Northwest. Pinot gris from France and Oregon are typically richer, more aromatic with tropical fruit and spicy flavors. And guess what food they pair with perfectly….Oysters!! Oysters are the perfect aphrodisiac, right? Run to the grocery store (I would suggest Burhops Seafood in Glenview and Hindsdale) and get a bottle of Pinot Gris and some oysters and you will have a wonderful evening!
#2. Amarone. This is a dry red wine from Italy, and yes, it sounds like Amore! It is made from 3 Italian grapes-Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara- that are actually partially dried so the result is a very ripe, full bodied wine with a raisiny quality and usually pretty high in alcohol. (That’s a good thing right?!) If you are in a hurry for Valentines Day, make some pasta with a few meatballs and serve with this great wine. If you are really in a hurry, stop in your favorite Italian deli and pick up some Italian meats, some “old” cheeses like Parmigianino, Pecorino, and blue cheese, some nuts, dried fruit and grapes. Lay those all on a platter then open your wine with a blanket on the floor in front of the fire and you are good to go!
#3. Pinot Noir. It to me is not only one of the easiest red wines to drink and pair with food; it is also a lovely wine! And right now, it is probably one of the most beloved in the United States. It is low in tannins and comes in a range of styles from fruity to earthy. You can have it with fish, lamb, pasta and even pizza. It is pretty much a fail proof wine.
#4. Bordeaux. Why? Bordeaux, because it is from France of course! I picked an Italian wine, so I have to pick a French wine right? A Bordeaux wine can be red or white. If it is red the grapes are Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Carmenere. White Bordeaux is Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle.
Throw a steak or scallops on the grill, open a Bordeaux (red=steak, white= scallops), light a few candles and you have a perfect night!
#5. Sauternes. Ok, so I am going back to France and back to Bordeaux-the Grave’s area. Sauternes is a sweet wine and pretty expensive. The grapes are usually Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle that have been affected by Botrytis, which is “noble rot” and the grape becomes partially raisined (kind of like the Amarone, but these are white grapes). This produces an amazing sweet, savory wine with nice acidity. This CALLS for crème bruelle but you really could just make this your dessert and call it a night.
#6. Bubbly. I don’t need to say any more.
Happy Valentines Day!