I haven’t made any plans for Valentine’s Day yet. I think that particular Friday night is going to consist of me, my boyfriend, and a couple friends cooking dinner at home and avoiding the public chaos that descends on the restaurants in our neighborhood for the evening. But I’m still going to be in charge of handling the wine for our dinner.
Wine for Valentine’s Day is easy, though. Get some bubbly, get a bottle of red with the three-course prix-fixe steak dinner, maybe do a glass of port with dessert.
Then continue the romance by getting too stuffed on the rich meal, sleepy from the wine, and dealing with some interesting gastrointestinal sensations for the rest of the night.
There’s a way to do wine for Valentine’s Day that isn’t predictable, won’t cause the discomfort that the traditional choices do, and will feel just as romantic.
First thing to keep in mind: don’t over-drink. That red wine and steak pairing may be classic (and delicious) but the temptation to go through the whole bottle once your waiter places it on the table is high. Couple that with the aperitif Champagne flutes and several courses of buttery, rich foods, and you’ve got the recipe for a full-blown food coma, an early end to what should be a romantic night, and the potential temptation to drive while intoxicated. Don’t do it!
If you buy a bottle of wine to go with dinner, have a glass with your meal and ask your server to bag the wine to take home at the end of the night. Having a second glass of the same wine once your back at your house lends a great continuity to the evening, and allows you to continue your romantic plans for the holiday without bogging your mind and body down with too much food and alcohol.
Even more than a big red wine, I’d suggest sticking with the bubbly. Sparkling wine often gets forgotten as a phenomenal pairing wine, and that’s a real shame; not only can you get really great brut rosé for sale prices during the Valentine’s Day sales, but it is an excellent accompaniment to steak, oysters, salad, and cheese! The bubbles keep it light and festive, you drink it slower because the carbonation is more stimulating to your taste buds than a flat, heavy red wine, the glass holds less liquid, and the dry acidity of a good brut keeps your tongue primed to really enjoy the flavors present in your meal.
Finally, drink plenty of water, both before and during your meal. Staying hydrated will keep you from overeating and overdrinking, ensuring you can continue your evening without any drunkenness or exhaustion spoiling your plans. Be safe, be smart, and get coffee with your dessert instead of a sticky sweet wine so you have plenty of energy for the rest of your Valentine’s celebrations!