You’re planning a special Valentine’s Day dinner for your significant other… or someone you’d like to become significant.
You have the meal itself under control, but now you’re trying to figure out what kind of wine to serve.
Well, when it comes to food-and-wine pairing, Valentine’s Day is a lot like Thanksgiving Day — all the “rules” go out the window. No matter how much effort you put into preparing the dishes, the occasion is much more about sociability than gastronomy.
On Valentine’s Day, the type of wine you serve is all about the message you’re trying to send. It’s about signals.
Let’s take a look at your four basic choices, and examine the meaning behind each…
WHITE WINE (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Riesling) — With apologies to those who love these varieties (and I include myself in that category), this is not going to be a romantic meal. In the game of love, white wines are about friendship and being polite.
SPARKLING WINE — Champagne, Prosecco, Cava and other renditions of sparkling wine are for celebrations. You pop the cork on a bottle of bubbly when you’re celebrating an anniversary or perhaps commemorating a first date. Sparkling wine is for looking back with fondness, as opposed to looking forward with anticipation.
RED WINE — Nothing says romance with greater passion than a glass of perfectly aged Cabernet Sauvignon. If one of the people in the relationship could be described as “sassy,” then go with Zinfandel instead. Virtually any red wine infers the desire the know one’s date a lot better.
DESSERT WINE — Late harvest wines, Port and other sweet elixirs are all about excess and decadence. They can be a substitute for dessert, but more often than not, they accompany dessert. Talk about a sugar rush. Of course, sugar provides spurts of energy and… well… need we say more?
So, give some thought to the type of wine you select for this coming Saturday night. Whether intended or not, it could send a message to your date — and you want to be sure it’s the correct message.