Let’s face it: Going out on Valentine’s Day is amateur hour. The restaurants are super crowded and those prix fixe menus are totally overpriced. If you want to do something special for your valentine, why not plan a date night that’s as unique as your relationship? But don’t be intimidated – impress your date by using this wine pairing guide for the perfect Valentine’s dinner at home.
Now, when we say “perfect,” here’s the thing: No one knows your partner quite like you do. A little effort goes a long way toward showing your special someone that you care.
Need some inspiration to get started? We’ve got you covered.
When planning your Valentine’s Day menu, think about whether you want to zigzag between different kinds of wine or stay in one lane. No matter your preferences, use these dishes, each with a wine pairing, to plan the perfect Valentine’s dinner at home. Mix and match as you see fit.
Appetizers: Keep It Light
Picture this: You’ve got something fabulous in the oven – don’t worry, we’ll get to what that is in a minute – and bae arrives early. Good thing you’ve got some hors d’oeuvres ready. Here’s what to nosh while you chat about your day and pop open that first bottle of vino.
Cheese and Rosé
Do we think starting with pink wine is sort of the cutest thing you can do on Valentine’s Day? Guilty. Just make sure that you choose your cheese wisely. Sparkling rosé goes well with soft goat cheese or herbed feta. A full-bodied dry rosé pairs nicely with truffle brie.
Bruschetta and a Light Red or White Wine
Do you tense up in the kitchen? Fear not. Bruschetta is super easy to make, whether you keep it simple or get creative. You can pair these heavenly bites with either a crisp Pinot Grigio or a Chianti – a light red made with Sangiovese grapes and a great pairing for tomato-based dishes.
Oysters and Champagne
If you’re pulling out all the stops tonight, this is a power move. Nothing says romance quite like oysters on the half-shell. Plus, word on the street is that they’re an aphrodisiac. While oysters may seem intimidating to prepare, they’re actually pretty easy to pull off. You can shuck them ahead of time and keep them on ice in the fridge until you’re ready to slide them back. These delectable treats go well with Brut Nature (very dry) Champagne or sparkling wine.
Word to the wise: Avoid a vinegar-based dipping sauce when drinking wine with oysters. You can make your own dipping sauce, or just enjoy them with a squeeze of lemon or some store-bought cocktail sauce.
Entree: Go Big and Stay Home
A special meal like this is kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure book. Steak or seafood? A new bottle or the old favorite? Here are three killer main course pairings to choose from.
Pan-Seared Scallops and White Wine
If you’re looking to keep things light, pan-seared scallops are a quick and delicious restaurant-quality dish. You can serve them over pasta or alongside rice. Either way, consider adding a veggie on the side to get some color on the plate. Then, pick a light, acidic wine like a dry Riesling or a zippy Albariño.
Tuna steaks and Rosé
Want to keep your glass pink all night? We love that. Tuna steaks – which start out red, for Valentine’s Day – go nicely alongside a fruity rosé. You could also opt for a Pinot Noir if you prefer red wine.
Steak and Cabernet
You simply can’t go wrong with a medium-rare steak seasoned with only salt and pepper and a full-bodied California Cabernet Sauvignon. This pairing is considered a classic for a reason: It works.
Sweet Treats for You and Your Sweetheart
Great work. You made it to the last course. Now sit back, relax, and enjoy these Cupid-approved dessert pairings.
Chocolate Fondue and Shiraz
Chocolate can be tricky to pair with wine, but it’s worth it. And chocolate fondue has some interesting benefits. It’s not just a food; it’s also an activity you can do together. Plus, melted chocolate is, well, heaven. What’s not to love? Enjoy your fondue with a rich Australian Shiraz or dessert wine like port.
Poached Pears and Moscato d’Asti
If you want to stick with a lighter wine, try your hand at this restaurant-grade dessert. After you let the pears soak in a bright and fruity white wine, enjoy them alongside a sweet sparkling wine like Moscato d’Asti.
Rosé and Fresh Berries
Okay, we have to be honest. Rosé isn’t a great match for all desserts, but if you want to stay on theme, we say go for it. Keep the Garnacha rosé flowing alongside some fresh raspberries and strawberries. Fresh berries are light and delicious, and usually have a top spot on lists of the most sensual foods.
In Vino Finito
Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a celebration of love. So, ditch the crowded restaurants and spend some intimate, quality time with the person you love, enjoying your favorite foods and wine to match. By using this wine pairing guide for Valentine’s dinner at home, you’ve got everything you need to ensure a romantic night in. We think that’s what Cupid would want.