Whether you're spending Valentine's Day with friends, relatives or a special loved one, what better way to celebrate than with a bottle of wine? Historically, this beverage has been part of many different cultures and cuisines from all around the world and for good reason. The grape varietals are as fascinating and unique as the wines that they produce. Here is a list of perfect Ontario wines for Valentine's Day that have been selected for both quality and value.
Perfect Ontario wine for Valentine's Day.
What's more romantic than pink bubbles?
For the budget conscious, Bottega Rose Gold Brut Sparkling is brilliantly packaged in a stunning rose gold bottle. No wrapping needed! From the Lombardy region of Italy, this sparkling wine is made from Pinot Nero (Pinot Noir) grapes. Soft aromatics include raspberries, strawberries and a lovely floral perfume. An excellent aperitif to start off the celebrations but would also pair well with sushi.
LCBO# 187914 $29.95
For the splurge, Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé Champagne. From the heart of the Montagne de Reims sub-region, this is the #1-selling rosé Champagne in the world. Made from Pinot Noir grapes, this pale pink sparkler is full of strawberry, raspberry and cherry notes. It is lively, refreshing and elegant. This Champagne is lovely on its own but could also pair with soft cheeses, charcuterie, foie gras, salmon tartare or even a classic rack of lamb.
LCBO# 158500 $99.95
Looking for something familiar, versatile and food friendly? Cavit Pinot Grigio fits the bill and is the best-selling Pinot Grigio at the LCBO. Light and crisp, this tangy white offers flavours of lemon, green apple and melon. It's a perfect choice for chicken, seafood, creamy risotto or light pasta dishes. It would be terrific paired with a salad composed of prosciutto, melon, Mozzarella di Bufala and fresh basil.
LCBO# 99218 $13.95
Perhaps a red blend is desired? Roscato Dark Blend, Vd'Italia is a blend of Merlot, Teroldego and Lagrein (the latter 2 are northern Italian red grapes). A full bodied and smooth red wine with a deep ruby, purple colour. Dominated by dark fruit aromas with notes of vanilla, mocha and spice. The wine would partner well with aged cheeses like Gouda or Cheddar. Dark chocolate and red wine is a challenging pairing, however this wine has enough residual sugar (20g/L) to balance out the bitterness. Choose a good quality dark chocolate with a minimum of 35% cocoa solids.
LCBO# 629857 $15.95
To satisfy the full bodied red wine lover, Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Cabernet Sauvignon is a crowd pleaser that features blackcurrant, dark cherry aromas with touch of spice and smoke. The perfect pairing for a charred, medium rare ribeye steak, Cabernet Sauvignon's power, tannins and intensity are a match made in heaven.
LCBO# 521021 $24.95
No matter where you will be spending this Valentine's Day – whether it's at a cottage, resort, local restaurant or in the comfort of your own home – be sure to treat yourself by pairing your meal with a bottle of red, white or sparkling! With all of these options and more, there will be something to please the wine aficionado in everyone.
About the expert
Christie Pollard is coordinator of the Guest Relations Management - Concierge Services program at Fanshawe College and is a Senior Advisor, Restaurant Services at First Key Consulting. She is a graduate of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and is a Food & Drink pairing instructor. Christie is passionate about all things food and drink. Most recently, she co-founded the food & beverage consulting service/blog Cork+Board with friend and chef, Josie.
To sample some fantastic wine and meal pairings, be sure to visit The Chef's Table, the teaching restaurant of Fanshawe's School of Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts.