Vino tips on Valentine’s Day

Alan Rickman plays a expat British/wannabe French wine snob to perfection

Today, couples across the world – or at least those who invest in the lovey-dovey ideals of Valentine’s Day – will be spending the day doing romantic things. They will go out to a nice meal, buy one another special chocolates or cupcakes (local sidenote: downtown Madison finally has a cupcakery!), see the movie Valentine’s Day (if the guy is feeling especially appeasing), or maybe (maybe!) share a bottle of wine.

I don’t know, to me, a bottle of wine sounds awfully nice, and that’s what I’ll be doing tonight…with my roommate. My boyfriend is at Mardi Gras, her boyfriend is in Peru, so we’ll be celebrating by cooking and baking for each other while enjoying a bottle (or perhaps box, since we’re at that classy age in college) of vino tinto. During dinner and dessert we’re watching Bottle Shock, a fantastic movie about the Judgement of Paris, where California wine beat French wine in blind taste tests.

While I definitely cannot claim to be a wine expert (or wino, as they’ve been dubbed), I do have a preference for red over white, fruity over dry. So far my favorite wine has been Gato Negro, a Chilean wine I had while in Peru. If you’re interested in learning a little more about wine today, I’ve done a little research on blogs far more authoritative than mine so we can grow in our wine education together.

A good wine is not necessarily an expensive wine.

In an article in today’s Post, a food and wine expert remarked, “Most seasoned wine drinkers know it doesn’t take hundreds of dollars to choose a satisfying bottle of wine. Those who do are just showing off.”

If you can’t finish a bottle in one sitting, you don’t have to.

Ray Isle, wine editor of Food & Wine, said that freezing red wine in a plastic container and serving it days later will produce better tasting leftover wine than if you let it sit on the counter. Keeping wine at a cooler temperature in general will always preserve it better than at room temperature.

Being open to new kinds of wine doesn’t make you inexperienced, it means you’re not afraid to try new things.

Eric Asimov, chief wine critic of the New York Times, wrote in his most recent article that, “some of my most rewarding experiences have come from unknown wines. There is a great joy in discovery, as I’ve learned again, and again, and again.” So even if you’ve found a standard that you find yourself choosing over and over, don’t let fear of the unknown flavor stop you from trying something new. This can extend beyond wine situations.

There’s a wine for every meal – even mac & cheese.

Reds and whites are best paired with certain types of meals. As a college student without ready access to a great grocery store, I find myself making macaroni and cheese – either from the box, or improvising my own baked recipe – at least once a week. And although it’s probably not the best idea to pair have wine with dinner before a marathon study session, Spitoon’s recipe seems mouthwatering, and the wine that goes with it sounds like a perfect complement.

There are even wines best fit for certain situations.

Although I know nothing about this part of wine, Roberto Viernes, author of a column called Vino Sense, wrote a few weeks ago about which wines are best for specific situations. According to Viernes, the best wine to order on a date is riesling, because it pairs well with a variety of cuisines and is low in alcohol content so you can still have a meaningful conversation.

You can extend your social media obsession to wine.

Wine has infiltrated the American psyche in all forms – from the New York Times, to wino blog masses. These articles from Enoybytes talk about how to find other winos on Twitter. Some hashtags frequently used by winos on Twitter are #foodporn, #winewednesday and #winepr.

I hope you enjoyed this little Wine 101 session and learned something. If you have any recommendations for me, or just some favorites you’d like to share, I’d be happy to hear your opinions. Happy Valentine’s Day!

[photo credit to]


One response to “Vino tips on Valentine’s Day

  1. I loved this post! As someone who doesn’t drink very often, but loves wine when she has it, I really appreciate any tips I can get. That way, when I do decide to drink, I can pick a bottle of wine worth my time (and easy on my college-kid budget)! Thanks for sharing all of this; I definitely plan on scoping out some of those links one of these nights when I don’t have 10 million hours of school work to do.

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