5 of the Best Food and Wine Pairings for Valentine’s Day

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by Angie

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When it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day, we love nothing more than staying in, cooking a good meal, and opening up a great bottle of wine.

So if you're like us, you may wonder what type of wine to pair with your meal. Whether you're cooking up some fancy seafood or steaks, something vegetarian, or maybe just composing a charcuterie plate, we've got a few great Valentine's Day wine recommendations for you and your special someone.

Charcuterie and Crisp Wines

Charcuterie and Wine

If you're not into cooking but still want to do something special for a Valentine's Day meal, gathering some fancy cured meats and cheeses from your favorite local cheesemonger is an excellent option.

You may instinctively think red wine with charcuterie, which may work if your plate is full of rich meats, but we actually think higher acid whites like a dry Chenin Blanc or Riesling make a lot of sense. The acid can cut through any rich and fatty cheeses or meats without running the risk of overwhelming more delicate options. If you want red, choose a lighter-bodied, higher-acid red like Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, or Grenache. Or, compromise and go for a festive rose for the best of both worlds.

Steak and a Rich Red Wine

Sous Vide Steak

Maybe you're trying to impress your significant other with a big, bold steak- what wine should you pair in this case? Although it depends on the preparation and sauce, some all-around good options would be Barolo, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Syrah. These wines generally have enough body and tannins to stand up to a rich, beefy steak. That said, don't forget to have a decanter on hand just in case the wine is a bit too tannic and needs some time to breathe!

Fancy Seafood and Bubbles or Unoaked Whites

Champagne Goes Great with Oysters

Personally, fancy seafood is one of our favorite things to have at home for Valentine's Day- think oysters, lobster, or shrimp scampi (namely, dishes we may not otherwise prepare without a reason to celebrate). The goal with a wine pairing here is not to overwhelm the seafood, especially if the sauce or preparation is delicate in flavor.

For oysters in particular, their brininess and minerality lend themselves to unoaked, mineral-forward wines with high acid like a lees-heavy Champagne, Muscadet Sevre et Maine, or an unoaked Chardonnay. For other seafood dishes, Champagne or sparkling wines would also work, as would oaked California Chardonnay (especially with lobster) or Sauvignon Blanc.

Risotto and Lighter Bodied Wines

Risotto

Nothing says, “I love you” like stirring a pot of risotto for hours! Joking aside, risotto made with homemade stock is one of our favorite Valentine's Day meals because it feels special and luxurious and takes a great deal of preparation (making it a special occasion meal all around!).

For a risotto with earthier ingredients like mushrooms, you could go for a light to medium-bodied red like Pinot Noir or Barbera. Butternut squash is another favorite risotto ingredient of ours, and aromatic whites like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or Viognier would do well with this type of dish. Let the star ingredient lead the way with these!

Chocolate and Dessert Wines

Tawny Colheita Port

What's a Valentine's Day without chocolate? Whether you're making some chocolate melting cake or keeping it simple with a box of chocolates, don't forget to pair some wine with your dessert!

We know the classic recommendation is always dry red wine with chocolate, but we have to step away from this one. Fortified wines fit the bill here thanks to their sweetness levels and are always our go-to for all things for dessert. For a lighter, milkier chocolate try pairing it with a floral-forward Muscat Beaumes de Venise or a citrusy Sauternes or Tokaji (although note the alcohol content in these may not hold up against more intense chocolates). Darker, richer chocolates would do well with Banyuls, Port (all styles, although aged tawny works well with richer chocolates and chocolate with nuts), or a Pedro Ximenez!

Do you have a go-to food and wine pairing for Valentine's Day? Comment below to share!

Looking for more wine and food pairing ideas? Don't forget to pick up a copy of our favorite book, What to Drink With What You Eat, to create unique pairings yourself!

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