Food Pairing Partners for the Wines of Romance

Romance and wine go hand in hand, and that helps make Valentine’s Day quite profitable for restaurants and wine bars. (Why should Hallmark have all the fun?)

There are two schools of thought when it comes to “romantic” wines. One school teaches that the wine must be red — the color most closely associated with love, passion and… well… you know.

Another school advocates for sparkling wine — be it Champagne from France, Prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain or various bubbly bottlings from the United States or elsewhere. After all, sparkling wine is used for toasting at weddings, the ultimate symbols of romance.

Among red wines, the most “romantic,” hands down, is Pinot Noir. And what makes it our top choice for Valentine’s Day dining is its affinity for food.

Pinot Noir is at its most sublime when paired with dishes that have earthy ingredients such as mushrooms, or gamey meats such as duck or lamb.

Unlike almost any other red wine, Pinot Noir also pairs nicely with fish, a fact that spawned a best-selling booked, apty titled, “Red Wine With Fish.” The specific fish that pairs perfectly with lighter renditions of Pinot Noir is salmon.

If you’re a sparkling wine fancier, the food pairing possibilities are almost endless, thanks to bubbly’s “neutral” flavors. Sparkling wine can handle fish, fowl, heat, spice, fatty foods and assertive flavors.

According to sources as disparate as Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping, among the foods considered to be aphrodisiacs are asparagus, avocados, oysters, walnuts, almonds, basil, arugula and garlic. And every one of them pairs nicely with sparkling wine — making them perfect choices for Valentine’s Day wining, dining… and wooing.

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Tomorrow: A Napa Valley winery spawned by romance.

Posted in Food and Wine Pairings/Recipes
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