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Wine Pairings for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day offers a fantastic opportunity to show someone that you care and forget those routines and pressures of life that may have become burdensome for a while. It is when external cares can disappear, and appreciation for each other becomes your sole focus.

While there are infinite ways to express love and caring, a beautifully conceived and intimate candlelight dinner can be the best. A romantic dinner is an opportunity to share your feelings and recall the good times while enjoying excellent food and wine.

Next Step: Choose the menu, then pair it with the right wines.

Whether you plan to serve a mutually favorite dish at home or select your choice from your favorite restaurant’s menu, pairing the right wine should enhance, not overpower, the flavors and textures of the food. More than one wine varietal might pair nicely with specific dishes, but it is also true that a “robust” wine can overpower a delicately flavored entrée and negate the enjoyment.

Pairing Considerations

So, here are some thoughts to consider when pairing your Valentine’s Day menu with an appropriate wine:

· Try to match the flavor intensity of the food with a wine of similar or lesser depth and intensity. Never “challenge” the flavor of the food with overly bold tannins or fruitiness.

· Red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, bear an earthy, rich flavor that works well with bolder flavored meats and rich sauces.

· Many light, clean-flavored white wines like Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay pair well with more delicately flavored entrees like seafood and some poultry dishes.

Here are some examples of food-wine pairings that may help to demonstrate the wine and food pairing process:

· Braised Beef/Cabernet Sauvignon: The bold tannins and rich flavors of Cabernet Sauvignon should match the richness of those hearty entrées and sauces.

· Roast Lamb Chops/Bordeaux Blends: A classic combination, the flavors of the lamb are deliciously complemented by a medium-bodied Bordeaux blend that may include a Merlot or Pinot Noir.

· Spinach or Cheese Ravioli + Mixed Vegetables/Merlot: Merlot’s drier, slightly sweet profile complements the complex flavors of cheeses and vegetables.

· Fish or Light-flavored Chicken Dishes/ Riesling: The flavors of a bright-flavored, dry white wine blend nicely with the tastes and textures of a delicate fish dish. If the flavors of the main dish are somewhat spicier, consider pairing raising the wine to a slightly sweeter, less dry Riesling.

Don’t forget that sweet wines, Port, and Champagne can top off a great Valentine’s Day dinner while complementing the flavors of your cheesecake, dark chocolate, or cannoli.

While very important, correct wine and food pairing is not a precise science. Each person should experiment on their own, learning whether specific varietals or blends complement or overpower each recipe’s flavor.

Visit Wheeler Farms

While harkening back to the farm’s 19th-century origins, the wines of Wheeler Farms are extraordinary for attributes that reflect the terroir of historic Napa Valley and the steadfast commitment of the present-day owners. By employing sustainable farming practices, this St. Helena winery produces superb single-vineyard wines harvested from historic vineyards.

Wheeler Farms invites guests to view their historic location and winery in the heart of Napa Valley and to sample some of the best wines produced by any of the St. Helena wineries.

The J.H. Wheeler Wine Experience is not a routine, hurried wine-tasting event but a complete culinary adventure featuring seasonal savory canapés specially designed by Estate Chef Tom Harder to complement a selection of four (4) J. H. Wheeler wines.

During a guided visit, guests will learn about the winery’s history, wine production, and the advanced technology developed in this classic winery.

To learn more about and to schedule your visit to Wheeler Farms Wines in St. Helena, visit the winery website. To prepare for your visit adequately, the winery prefers Reservations Only.

Wheeler Farms will accommodate large group visits or special arrangements for a spectacular outing at one of the best St. Helena wineries. Contact the Director of Customer Relations, Stephanie Farmer, at (707)-200-8500 or email


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