Happy Valentines Day! I don’t really buy into the idea of this holiday, but any holiday is a good excuse to break out the good stuff! Here in New England we’re preparing for our THIRD storm in a month, so we’ll be staying in tonight. And it being a Saturday, the restaurants will all be packed, so what better reason so stay home, open a favorite bottle and cook together. I know I’m a little late, but Valentines Day is the ultimate procrastinators holiday – last minute flowers and chocolates are what this holidays about.
So there’s two ways to approach valentines this year – grab one of those kitschy bottles right by the door with a name like “Flirt,” or “Menage e Trois,” or you can forget about the label and find something new and interesting. You’re either picking something up to impress your significant other, or you’re grabbing a bottle to drink on your own. Either way, it’s the perfect opportunity to splurge a little bit and try something new!
But however you spend it, here’s some ideas for what to serve. Start out your evening with some sparkling wine or a fresh and fruity champagne cocktail.
Cleto Chiarli e Figli Lambrusco di Sorbara Vecchia Modena , Italy ~$15 – Most Lambrusco’s out on the market right now are sweet. This is a slightly more traditional Italian style Lambrusco – it has a hint of sweetness but is balanced by bright fruit flavors and a great acidity. Plus, it’s sparkling! Crack it open with some pasta salad, semi-soft cheese and charcuterie or seafood appetizers.
Champagne Cocktail – Mix .5oz Brandy, 1oz Cointreu, and .5oz Grenadine with chilled sparkling wine or Champagne. Serve with fresh raspberries.
Guy Saget Vouvray Marie de Beauregard, Chenin Blanc, Loire, France ~$18 – There are bright aromas of fresh peach, honeysuckle and citrus fruits that lead to a medium-bodied palate with a delicate fruit flavors. This white offers a smooth balanced between a soft sweetness and crisp, bright acidity. Enjoy this chilled with fresh salads, spicy poultry or seafood dishes and fresh cherve.
Byron Santa Maria Pinot Noir, California ~$18 – Dark berry, cherry, leather and floral aromas are balanced by hints of leather and tea. The palate is medium-bodied with notes of black figs, currant, sweet spices and a hint of earth. The finish is long and smooth with velvety tannins and a hint of vanillin oak. This big Pinot Noir pairs nicely with roasted poultry dishes with gravy, baked ham, salmon and braised short ribs.
Taylor Fladgate 20 year Tawny Port, Portugal ~$50 – Rich and elegant aromas of toffee, butterscotch are balanced by hints of raisins, dried fruits and toasted nuts. The palate is soft with sweet-tart flavors of blackberry, vanilla, toffee and caramel. Serve lightly chilled with biscotti, toasted nuts, cheesecake and soft blue cheeses.
Chateau Guiraud Sauternes, Barsac, France ~$50 – A blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, this dessert wine offers elegant aromas of baked apple, lemon, vanilla and cream. The palate is soft with creamy notes of honey, vanilla spice and tropical fruits. Serve with soft cheeses, custard desserts, cobblers or baklava.