Aromantic dinner for two? It’s all in the planning. For Valentine’s Day, I have put together a mix and match wine menu for any budget. Start with pink, either bubbly or still, and add a red to match the menu. I always finish with chocolate and port.
Selections are available at Sinful Wine & Spirits, 7949 Southtown Center, Bloomington, 952-888-9463.
Mankas Crest Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2005 (Suisun, California), $7.99
This is not your mom’s white zin. It’s dry with strawberry fruit and a little oak balanced with good acids. A hint of herbs and minerals on the finish gives it some complexity. It will go with shrimp cocktail or a mixed green salad to start your meal.
Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Rosé NV (Champagne, France), $45.49
60% pinot noir, 30% pinot meunier, 10% chardonnay. If you are going to spend the money, this wine is worth every penny. It offers intense flavor and complex structure. It’s made from mostly red grapes, one of the reasons for its full body and long finish. This bubbly will pair nicely with your apps or beef tenderloin.
Conde de Valdemar Tempranillo Crianza 2004 (Rioja, Spain), $13.99
It smells like strawberries, cherries, and earth, and that nose isn’t lying. I love affordable big reds from Spain. They are great with pork, lamb, or your favorite red sauce on pasta. Let it breathe for 30 minutes in your glass—you will be amazed at the change.
Ring Bolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Margaret River, Australia), $17.49
Margaret River is to Australian cab what Napa Valley is to California’s. This wine is big, rich, and full of fruit, which is balanced with oak, earth, and acids. Definitely a red- meat wine, but I don’t think anyone will complain if you pair it with a bunch of stinky cheeses, olives, and great bread.
Graham’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003 (Oporto, Portugal), $26.49
Late bottled vintage (LBV) is a great way to try a port from a declared year at a fraction of the price of vintage port. While vintage port ages unfiltered in the bottle, LBV ages in a cask for three to six years, and is then filtered and bottled for drinking. This is a match made in heaven for chocolate. You’ll want to remember that even though it’s sweet, it’s fortified to 20 percent alcohol, so if you finish it, you will not feel well in the morning.