Valentine’s Day Food and Wine Pairing Ideas

By Lindsay Trivers February, 05 2017
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re like me you’ll be pining for that romantic hot air balloon ride over The Palm Jumeirah or, better yet, yearning to be spoiled with flowers and expensive sparkly things. What’s more likely (if I’m really lucky) is a relaxing night in, dinner, and cuddles on the couch after tucking in the crying baby for a couple of hours…

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. If you’re like me you’ll be pining for that romantic hot air balloon ride over The Palm Jumeirah or, better yet, yearning to be spoiled with flowers and expensive sparkly things. What’s more likely (if I’m really lucky) is a relaxing night in, dinner, and cuddles on the couch after tucking in the crying baby for a couple of hours…

With that in mind we have set out our recommendations on what wines to pair with home-cooked man-approved meals. Check out the ideas below and let us know what you’d go for in the comments section.

Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is king when it comes to pairing with a juicy, well marbled steak like sirloin or rib-eye. Cabernet is high in tannins (the grippy, puckering sensation you feel on the inside of your cheeks when you drink a strong red wine), which essentially clean away the fat the steak leaves inside your mouth, helping each mouthful of steak taste as good as the first bite.

Love on a budget: Spend as much as you’re happy to spend for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. We’re a big fan of the Montes Cabernet Sauvignon.

Splash Out: Head to the USA isle and treat yourself to a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or Sonoma in California. Try the Kenwood ‘Jack London’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 110 from Barracuda.

Prefer a leaner cut? Since beef tenderloin (fillet) isn’t fatty and lovers of this cut tend to like their meat on the rare side, go for a lighter red wine like a Pinot Noir.

Love on a budget: There is no such thing as a cheap Pinot Noir (Or at least there shouldn’t be). This grape requires a lot of TLC in the vineyard and expensive oak barrel aging making it costly to produce. We don’t recommend spending less than 130 AED on a Pinot Noir. We really love the Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘T’ Pinot Noir.

Splash Out: New Zealand is where it’s at! Central Otago and Martinborough areas are where the most revered drops come from. Try Craggy Range Pinot Noir.

Spaghetti Bolognaise (or other pasta in red sauce) and Chianti

You’re eating Italian food, so stick with their wines too. Italian wine tends to be a little bit sour, and that’s because they have evolved to match the acid in the food, like tangy tomato-based dishes. Hello Spag-Bol!

Love on a budget: Grab a bottle of Chianti. Generally those labelled ‘Chianti Classico’ are the best so get one of those if it’s in your budget, otherwise any Chianti will do. Try the Gabbiano Chianti Classico.

Splash Out: Barolo. He should be so lucky to have you, a home cooked meal and a Barolo in his arms. Try Prunotto Barolo.

Roast Chicken and Chardonnay

We know what (some of) you are thinking. ‘I don’t like Chardonnay’. Well, it’s time to try it again. Chardonnay went through an awkward phase in the 80’s and 90’s where woodier than Ron Burgundy’s hunting lodge. Winemakers now aim to strike a balance between spice, wood and fruit flavours in Chardonnay. Roast chicken is a classic combo with the buttery and toasty taste of the wine.

Love on a budget: Avoid straight up cheap Chardonnay, even if you’re on a budget. Chardonnay costs a lot to make well thanks to the expensive oak barrels it’s aged in. Aim for something around the 100 AED mark from Argentina where economy factors enable them to make decent wines that don’t break the bank. Try Zuccardi Q Chardonnay.

Splash Out: You can get great Chardonnay from most wine producing countries if you’re happy to pay for it. Try an Aussie gem from Adelaide Hills, Margaret River or the Yarra Valley. Try Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, Australia.

Fish

White wine with fish is the general rule, but wine pairing can be more technical than that. If fish is on your menu here are some quick tips of what wine to pair with different fish dishes:

Ceviche – Dry Riesling. Try Yalumba Y Series. Grilled white fish – Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Gavi. Try Martin Codax Albrañio. Battered white fish – Cava or Champagne! Go on with your bad self! Try Agustí Torelló Mata Vintage Cava or Laurent-Perrier Brut NV Champagne. Salmon – Gewurztraminer from Alsace, France. Try Gustavo Lorentz. Seared Tuna – Dry Rosé. Try Chateau Minuty, Provençe, France.

We think you can probably come up with something great to tickle your Valentines’ fancy after dinner without our help…

This article was first published in British Mums Dubai. With that in mind we have set out our recommendations on what wines to pair with home-cooked man-approved meals. Check out the ideas below and let us know what you’d go for in the comments section.

Steak and Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is king when it comes to pairing with a juicy, well marbled steak like sirloin or rib-eye. Cabernet is high in tannins (the grippy, puckering sensation you feel on the inside of your cheeks when you drink a strong red wine), which essentially clean away the fat the steak leaves inside your mouth, helping each mouthful of steak taste as good as the first bite.

Love on a budget: Spend as much as you’re happy to spend for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. We’re a big fan of the Montes Cabernet Sauvignon.

Splash Out: Head to the USA isle and treat yourself to a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or Sonoma in California. Try the Kenwood ‘Jack London’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 110 from Barracuda.

Prefer a leaner cut? Since beef tenderloin (fillet) isn’t fatty and lovers of this cut tend to like their meat on the rare side, go for a lighter red wine like a Pinot Noir.

Love on a budget: There is no such thing as a cheap Pinot Noir (Or at least there shouldn’t be). This grape requires a lot of TLC in the vineyard and expensive oak barrel aging making it costly to produce. We don’t recommend spending less than 130 AED on a Pinot Noir. We really love the Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘T’ Pinot Noir.

Splash Out: New Zealand is where it’s at! Central Otago and Martinborough areas are where the most revered drops come from. Try Craggy Range Pinot Noir.

Spaghetti Bolognaise (or other pasta in red sauce) and Chianti

You’re eating Italian food, so stick with their wines too. Italian wine tends to be a little bit sour, and that’s because they have evolved to match the acid in the food, like tangy tomato-based dishes. Hello Spag-Bol!

Love on a budget: Grab a bottle of Chianti. Generally those labelled ‘Chianti Classico’ are the best so get one of those if it’s in your budget, otherwise any Chianti will do. Try the Gabbiano Chianti Classico.

Splash Out: Barolo. He should be so lucky to have you, a home cooked meal and a Barolo in his arms. Try Prunotto Barolo.

Roast Chicken and Chardonnay

We know what (some of) you are thinking. ‘I don’t like Chardonnay’. Well, it’s time to try it again. Chardonnay went through an awkward phase in the 80’s and 90’s where woodier than Ron Burgundy’s hunting lodge. Winemakers now aim to strike a balance between spice, wood and fruit flavours in Chardonnay. Roast chicken is a classic combo with the buttery and toasty taste of the wine.

Love on a budget: Avoid straight up cheap Chardonnay, even if you’re on a budget. Chardonnay costs a lot to make well thanks to the expensive oak barrels it’s aged in. Aim for something around the 100 AED mark from Argentina where economy factors enable them to make decent wines that don’t break the bank. Try Zuccardi Q Chardonnay.

Splash Out: You can get great Chardonnay from most wine producing countries if you’re happy to pay for it. Try an Aussie gem from Adelaide Hills, Margaret River or the Yarra Valley. Try Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, Australia.

Fish

White wine with fish is the general rule, but wine pairing can be more technical than that. If fish is on your menu here are some quick tips of what wine to pair with different fish dishes:

Ceviche – Dry Riesling. Try Yalumba Y Series. Grilled white fish – Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Gavi. Try Martin Codax Albrañio. Battered white fish – Cava or Champagne! Go on with your bad self! Try Agustí Torelló Mata Vintage Cava or Laurent-Perrier Brut NV Champagne. Salmon – Gewurztraminer from Alsace, France. Try Gustavo Lorentz. Seared Tuna – Dry Rosé. Try Chateau Minuty, Provençe, France.

We think you can probably come up with something great to tickle your Valentines’ fancy after dinner without our help…

This article was first published in British Mums Dubai.

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