From vineyard to glass, wine is romance. A perfect Valentine’s Day fit.
If your location permits, go to a vineyard/winery. Vines will be dormant and the temperature possibly chilly, but a vineyard’s wine tasting room is romantic just the same. Maybe they have a nice fire going.
When it comes to the wine to drink, the answer is enjoy whatever you as a couple enjoy.
If you want recommendations on what to pair with the most-common Valentine food: the wine should be as sweet or slightly sweeter than the chocolate. Pair light chocolates with lighter wines, stronger chocolates with more full-bodied wines.
Pair mellow, buttery white chocolate with sherry, port, or moscato d’Asti.
Pair milk chocolates with light pinot noir, lighter-bodied merlots, or a medium-sweet riesling.
Caution moving forward: the drier the red, the less appealing the pairing. Go ahead and try, just have a Plan B if it doesn’t work.
Semi-sweet chocolates can pair with cabernet sauvignon and Bordeaux blends, which also puts malbec and syrah and syrah-grenache blends into play.
Dark/bittersweet chocolates require robust wines. Try zinfandel or a bold Aussie shiraz—but know you are at the precipice of wine-chocolate possibilities.
Sure winner: sparkling wine. Sparkling is great palate cleanser. Pour a sweeter sec, demi-sec, or extra-dry bubbly; avoid brut. Taste chocolate. Cleanse with bubbly. Taste chocolate. Cleanse with bubbly. Chocolate. Bubbly. Chocolate. Bubbly. After you have done this for a while, what happens next is up to you.
• Turning Leaf Refresh Moscato NV. Light, crisp, subtly sweet, tingle of bubbles; peach, orange; ladies will love; Turning Leaf has winning value formula with their Refresh moscato lineup. $8
• Ballatore Moscato Rosé NV. Big fruit; strawberry, apples; soft, semi-sweet without being cloying; good acidity, bubbles; nice for price pour. $10
• Clean Slate Riesling 2012. Crisp, clean, fruity fresh, lively, whisper of sweetness; peach, lime, apple, minerals; very nice Mosel value. $10
• Cockburns Special Reserve Porto NV. Rich but not heavy; medium sweet; plum, cherry; affordable evening finisher with nuts, chocolate, cheese. $20
Last round: My three main food groups: wine, cheese, chocolate.