Wine to Win Your Love

Let’s be real with one another – in a world where dating has pretty much been dumbed down to a swipe left or right mentality (see story page 11), finding a special someone you actually want to spend Valentine’s Day with is a feat in and of itself. Planning a date that goes smoothly is a whole other ball game. On the opposite side of the coin, sometimes the best way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is alone in your room with gluttonous amounts of chocolate and the complete Morrissey discography. No matter which category you fall in, you deserve some help making it a memorable night. So here you have it: A guide to wine and food pairings to help you literally impress the pants off your Valentine, even if you’re your own date.
For Starters
One of the best wines to begin a meal with is something that can shine enough to complement your appetizers of choice, but won’t overshadow anything else in the meal. Valdiguiè is a go-to option here and J. Lohr makes a great one at a really reasonable price point. Valdiguiè’s trajectory of popularity is akin to most boy bands’ quest for fame. Originating in Southern France’s Languedoc-Roussillon region, valdiguiè came to the US ready to take the wine market by storm and by the late ‘70s had over 6,000 vines planted. But alas, underconsumption and lack of name recognition had this grape sinking into the abyss of obscurity faster than you can say, “98 Degrees.”
Flavors of ripe, plump strawberries and juicy raspberries run alongside mid-palate notes of cranberry, herbs and black pepper, making this a great choice for starter dishes featuring hard or soft cheeses, crostini with fresh herbs and vegetables or even something as simple as figs and blue cheese wrapped in prosciutto.


Your Main Dish
Loïc Roure’s Domaine Possible Tout Bu Or Not Tout Bu is a wine whose name is as fun and playful as the contents of the bottle. Roure did a great job with this grenache and mour vedre blend, making sure it was loaded with character, but ultimately extremely balanced and delicious. Notes of dark cherry with raspberry jamminess and floral undertones are beautifully expressed through this Languedoc-Roussillon native. Velvety smooth tannins give this stunner gulpability and a hedonistic quality perfect for a Valentine’s Day table. The real question isn’t Tout Bu or Not Tout Bu? It’s, do you get one bottle or two? Pair with red meat, hearty pasta dishes or vegetarian fare featuring mushrooms and deeply roasted vegetables.
Your Sweet’s Treat
Pairings for a dessert open a pretty vast array of options. I think the most fitting would be to roll with something that goes with a lot of different offerings, but is especially great with chocolate. Chapoutier Banyuls is an end-of-the-meal sipper that puts an exclamation point on a night of great food and wine. A fortified wine composed of mostly grenache that is aged and matured anywhere from 16 to 20 months, the Banyuls is truly a rich and silky garnet-hued beauty. The fragrant notes of candied orange peels and concentrated black fruit are balanced by a subtle hint of herbs. Look for a love story of warming fall spices, dark chocolate and plum-filled fruit notes to marry perfectly on the palate. Chapoutier’s Banyuls pairs nicely with most desserts including cakes, fresh fruit tarts and, of course, with anything chocolate, especially dark chocolate as the natural sweetness of the wine plays nicely against the more serious cacao flavors of dark chocolate.
It doesn’t matter if you’re pairing these wines with a five star meal or something cherry flavored that your partner may or may not be wearing, they are truly special wines to be enjoyed in good company. So whether it’s with a loved one, by yourself or even while you FaceTime your best friend about how much you hate Valentine’s Day, have a great time and enjoy the wine!


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