If you really want to impress your Valentine this year, do away with the cliché dinner reservation and have a romantic evening right in the comfort of your own home with a sensual wine tasting and a three-course meal prepared just for two.
To set the mood, purchase a few wines of your choice for you and your mate to try out while you enjoy a home-cooked meal with appetizer and dessert.
To help educate our readers, certified sommelier Charles Springfield, creator of Wine Stylings of Charles Springfield, shows Centric how to properly taste wine and how you can use it to build intimacy between you and your partner.
“For Valentine's Day, that sensual approach to wine tasting for a couple can turn into a fun, flirty and engaging process that not only brings out the best in the wine, but also in each other,” Springfield says.
To get started, it’s important to learn the basics. Springfield suggests the use of the five “S’s,” which is commonly used among wine professionals, known as See, Swirl, Sniff, Sip and Savor:
See – “The first ‘S’ stands for see. This helps you analyze the color, clarity and style of the wine.”
Swirl – “The second ‘S’ involves the taster getting physically get involved in the process, by swirling the wine to help release the aromas of the wine.”
Sniff – “The third ‘S’ is all about sticking your nose deep in the glass and taking a series of sniffs to see if you can pick out the smells that are present in the glass.”
Sip – “The fourth ‘S’ is finally about getting that juice in your mouth to taste and feel the various nuances.”
Savor – “The last ‘S’ is for the wine taster to take a moment and really consciously experience the wine.”
Springfield admits that the art of wine tasting can be intimidating and even a little uncomfortable because it forces you to engage your partner in such an intimate way. However, he says it’s a great way to elevate the romance, especially when you’re using most of your senses during the process. Be sure to make a lot eye contact, too.
For an accompanying meal, Springfield recommends that you “keep it simple.” He suggests that you start by understanding what you and your Valentine’s food and wine preferences are.
“Remember that three courses are just three separate dishes that each come with a pairing of wine. It should be special and memorable in a good way, so don't use this opportunity to try a new recipe or new style of food you've never had before,” he says.
Here’s some of Springfield’s suggestions for your three courses:
Springfield says you should start with a light appetizer such as a garden salad, crab cakes, ceviche or honey barbeque meatballs. “Match the first wine with the body or texture of the food. If you opt for a salad you should pick a light white wine. If you opt for meatballs, pick a wine that has more body. Since these are courses, pour a smaller than usual tasting size wine pour for each course.
Some ideas for a main course could be grilled chicken, tuna steak, pepper steak or roasted vegetables with quinoa. “The second course will be a little heavier,” he says. “Choose a medium-to full-bodied red or white wine to pair with this course.”
Springfield recommends you pick something that you’ll both enjoy. “It can be dark chocolate, strawberry shortcake or lava cake,” he says. “Be sure to select a wine that will not overpower your desert. Nice options for wine could be a Ruby Port, Moscato (still or sparkling) or Prosecco.”
Who needs a five-star restaurant when you can turn up the heat in the kitchen?...and hopefully later the bedroom.
(Photo: Dean Mitchell/Getty Images)