How to Choose the Best Wine for Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is a special occasion for couples to celebrate their love. One of the most romantic ways to do this is by enjoying a glass of wine together. But with so many different types of wine to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide what to serve on this special day. Luckily, you have me. As both an aphrodisiac foods expert and wine critic, I have a unique insight into the best wine for Valentine’s Day or any romantic occasion.
What are the best Valentine’s Day wines? The answer will surprise you!
There are actually many ways to approach choosing a wine for a romantic dinner. You might be surprised to discover it comes down to more than splurging on something exotic, hard-to-get or just suitably expensive.
I once was assigned to write a piece for The Daily Meal on the best Valentine wines entitled “10 Perfect Wines for Valentine’s Day or any Romantic Occasion.” How do you pick 10 perfect wines? Well, I turned to the research of the late Dr. Max Lake, who discovered that the aromas of certain wines could spark romance.
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According to Dr. Max Lake, some wines are more likely to put you in the mood. Through field research, he found that the scents of certain wines can replicate those of human pheromones and trigger attraction. In other words, just a whiff of wine could potentially be a turn-on. This means that if you choose your wine correctly it can serve as a form of foreplay.
So what you’re going to do when planning your Valentine’s Day wine is throw out the standard wine pairing rules and instead match the wine to the person you’re going to seduce.
White wines & sparkling wines for Valentine’s Day
If you want to pick your wine based on Dr. Lake’s research you need to start thinking about aromas. But you also need to think about what your date is going to enjoy. There are a variety of white wines with sexy characteristics so you have some choices.
Dr. Lake recommended looking for white wines with feral and sweaty notes as well as earthy characteristics like petrol and minerality as well as citrus and white flower. If you’re not used to talking about the aromatics in wines, this might sound weird. But don’t worry, these are not strange and unusual armoas. Many popular wines have these alluring characteristics.
You’ll often find these characteristics in white wines like aged, dry Rieslings, white Burgundy wines, Blanc de Blancs Champagnes (and sparkling wines) and some American Chardonnays.
Red wines for Valentine’s Day
Red wines also have certain aromas that can be a turn-on. Look for earthy notes like truffle, tobacco and cedar as well as leather and violets.
What type of red wine smells like leather and truffles? Not every red has these aromas, but you’ll often pick up these masculine scents in American Cabernet Sauvignons, red Burgundies, some Australian Shiraz and some Rhône red blends. You may also find some of these characteristics in a Pinot Noir. (You may find these aromas in wines from all over the world. This is just a good jumping-off point.)
RELATED: Why Red Wine is an Aphrodisiac
More great tips
There are, of course, other ways to choose your romantic wine for Valentine’s Day. Serving a wine that’s meaningful to you both is always a grand slam, even if it doesn’t fit the wine profiles I discussed above. Maybe you have a favorite wine from your wedding or your first date. This could make a great Valentine’s Day surprise.
Romantic wine labels
You might think that buying wine because of the label is a no-no but you can go with something that spells love on the label. On an occasion like Valentine’s Day, it can make the wine more fun.
And don’t think that because the name is clever or the label is “cute” the wine in the bottle isn’t as good as something with a “serious” label. That is not necessarily true. Winemaking is a romantic pursuit. That’s probably why there are so many well-made wines with names or imagery sharing messages of love.
That being said, you can’t judge a wine solely by the cover. What’s in the bottle has to be just as good as the message on the label. But don’t worry, there are plenty of high-quality, romantic-sounding wines out there for you to choose from. I’ve listed some of my favorites below.
RELATED: Here’s a fun Valentine’s Day wine tasting kit called “The Grand Love Triangle”
How to buy the best wine for Valentine’s Day on a budget
Although Valentine’s Day is an occasion most of us feel is worth the splurge, “splurging” is different for everyone. You don’t need to feel pressure to spend hundreds of dollars on a wine for Valentine’s Day just because the wine is more “special.” (Believe it or not, not all expensive wines are good wines!)
Set your spending limit before you go Valentine’s wine shopping. It’s ok if your limit is low. And if it’s high, don’t feel like you have to spend it all. The important thing is picking a wine you and your partner will find memorable. The staff of a good wine shop will be happy to help you. If you prefer to buy online, I recommend checking out Wine Access, which has an interesting selection and search criteria that includes flavor profiles.
Now, I’m off to plan my Valentine’s day dinner! Don’t miss some of my favorite Valentine’s Day wine ideas below.
RELATED: An Eros-Themed Romantic Dinner for Two
Six incredibly romantic Valentine’s Day wines for a date night in
1. Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee Sparkling Wine (Green Valley, California)
This blushing pink sparkling wine was crafted with the intention that it would be served for romantic occasions. Seriously this wine was made for romance! Serve it with all of your favorite aphrodisiacs from oysters to chocolate.
2. Amour de Deutz Rosé Champagne (Champagne, France)
If you want a wine that simply tastes like drinking luxury, this rosé sparkling wine is an outstanding choice. It offers refinement and elegance and the allure of Champagne. It may be the best wine for intimacy I’ve ever found.
3. Evoke Winery Never Have I Ever Riesling (Oregon)
This is a fun and fresh wine with a playful name. (The winery was formerly called Naked.) If your lover enjoys something slightly sweet, this easy-drinking wine made from Riesling grapes is going to score. It is also a fun wine to drink with your Galentines.
4. Loveblock Pinot Noir (Central Otago, New Zealand)
This fairly robust New Zealand Pinot Noir offers many of the sensual aromas I discussed above. If you want a Valentine red wine that may make your lover think lusty thoughts, this might be the one!
5. Joseph Drouhin Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru “Les Amoureuses” (Burgundy, France)
If you are serious about wines and want something simply fabulous for a romantic occasion, this is the wine to drink. Impressively robust yet faintly feminine, this is a sensual and indulgent wine for any romantic occasion.
6. Blackbird Vineyards Paramour (Napa Valley, California)
This Cabernet Franc and Merlot red wine blend is my favorite American red wine for romantic occasions. And if you’re spending Valentine’s Day alone, this wine would make a suitable paramour for a little self-care!
If you want more tips on finding wines for date night, don’t miss my article on The Best Inexpensive Champagnes for Valentine’s Day.
Need help planning your romantic dinner? Get my tips for planning a memorable Valentine’s Day meal.
Where to buy wine for your Valentine:
Need help finding a great wine retailer to help you select the right Valentine’s Day wine? Here are a few resources I can recommend. (These recommendations are not commission-based):
K & L Wine Merchants
Merchant of Wine
Half Wit Wines (sells wine by the half bottle)
This article was originally published in 2016. It was most recently updated in January 2023.
Pink wine photo by Luke Southern
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