Pairing Wine with Valentine’s Day Dinner

Wine makes a nice addition to most gatherings, whether it’s for the holidays or just for fun. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner adding a bottle of wine to your romantic dinner can be the perfect finishing touch. However, finding the right wine pairings for your dinner can prove to be stressful and challenging. If you’re struggling to find just the right wine, here are a few pointers on what to serve with traditional holiday foods:

1. Turkey. Turkey, by itself, isn’t difficult to pair wines with, but when you add the conglomeration of flavors that traditionally make up a Thanksgiving-type dinner, the result can clash with many lighter white wines. For a wine that will meld nicely with stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and scalloped potatoes–as well as turkey–opt for a dry rose, like the ones crafted in Provence, or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with its tropical-fruit bouquet. For example a Beaujolais Nouveau; the new vintage of light, fruit-forward Burgundy wine, compliments a heavier turkey-based dinner perfectly.

2. Ham. The saltiness of ham plus the traditional sweet glaze makes for a wine-pairing puzzle. Many wine enthusiasts suggest serving Beaujolais with your ham dinner or a California Fume Blanc or California Syrah. The secret is to choose a wine with a high acidic content, which will create a fruity taste in your mouth when combined with the salty ham.

3. Roasted Pork. The right wine to serve with roast pork depends on how it’s prepared. As pork is generally light and mild, you want to avoid overpowering the meat with full-bodied red wines. Instead, opt for California Chardonnay, advises Food and Wine magazine, if you are serving an herbed pork loin, or choose an Alsatian Gewurztraminer if your pork is spicy.

4. Beef Tenderloin. Beef is a little easier to pair with wine, but many of the traditional choices, such as aged Bordeaux or a heavy Argentine Malbec, may be too profound or complex for a novice wine drinker. If your Valentine’s Day date isn’t a big wine drinker you want to make sure your date enjoys the wine; opt instead for a Cabernet from the Columbia Valley of Washington State, advises the Wine Spectator magazine. They also say to make sure that you use the same wine for your sauce as you use on the table (Always a good rule).

Don’t be afraid if the responsibility of bringing the Valentine’s Day dinner falls on you this year. Avoid the extremes and the esoteric wines in favor of fruity, off-dry, drinkable wines and your choices are sure to be a success. Really add a personal touch to the dinner by brewing your own wine with a wine making kit from EC Kraus. If your date is the wine connoisseur then adding a wine making book would be the perfect addition as a gift for Valentine’s Day.