Spilling the Details on the Perfect Date Night Wine

Thoughts of Valentine’s Day tend to lead to thoughts of Valentine’s Day plans, no matter your relationship status. Are we going out? Am I going out? How about staying in this year? Wines are a key ingredient in the recipe for an enchanting evening, whether you choose to head out on the town or celebrate at home. And if you’re single, there’s no reason not to enjoy a good glass or two on Valentine’s Day.

Yet with so many choices on the shelf, what to pick?

The Related Life reached out to Dave Lofstrom, sommelier extraordinaire and wine director for WS New York and The Tavern. He offered expert guidance on the best wine varietals for your date night plans. But we didn't stop there! We also contacted Kerrie Tornabene, education coordinator at MWC Wine, to pull her top three wine recommendations for date night at home.

Keep reading for our experts' wine picks!

Wines for a Date Night In

Credit: Getty Images

Champagne/Sparkling Wine

"Not a cliché, but a classic," quips Dave. "If you’re celebrating your relationship, why not do it with a festive wine? This style of wine also has the bonus of being versatile with food. Whatever you’re making, there’s a sparkling wine to match."

For a solid champagne option, Kerrie points to the Jean Velut Champagne Blanc de Blancs Lumiere et Craie, priced around $46 per bottle. "This Champagne punches well above its weight, and is an abolute joy to drink," she says. "A cuvée is from organically farmed vines on an outcropping of chalky soils- ideal terroir for growing Chardonnay. It's aged five years before release and uses an old solera system for blending– in short – this wine has loads of character and nuance.


California Cabernet Sauvignon

"Let’s be honest, the odds of you cooking steak for your loved one are high – whether you roast it, sous vide it, or go old school and do it in a cast iron pan," Dave intones. "Cabernet Sauvignon, from Napa or Sonoma or somewhere else, is rich, bold, and pairs beautifully with steak." If steak is on your menu, Dave suggests making a compound butter to slather on top. "Besides being decadent and delicious, it will bring out the savory and herbal tones of your Cabernet Sauvignon," he says.

Barbera (from the Piedmont)

"If you’re planning to cook Italian, this could be the right wine pairing for you," notesDave. "Barbera is a fresh and lively wine that is darkly fruited with savory and floral tones. It is a brilliant food wine that will match your homemade (or delivered) pizza, lasagna, or spaghetti and meatballs (because you know it’s love if you can slurp spaghetti together)."


Made from 100% Gamay, these wines are juicy, fresh, unpretentious, and pair with a wide variety of foods. If you’re roasting a chicken, making risotto, or grazing on a variety of nibbles, Beaujolais can match it all. If you want to up your Beaujolais game, grab a bottle from one of the 10 Crus of Beaujolais. These Crus are top notch quality and more serious wines than the entry level juice. The most well-known Crus are Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent, and Fleurie.

For a compelling cru Beaujolais, Kerry suggests the Domaine Chamonard Fleurie La Madone, priced around $46 per bottle. "It hails from a single, tiny plot of 60-90-year-old Gamay vines on the region’s signature ‘pink granite’ soils," she explains. "This is a compelling cru Beaujolais with deep black raspberry, woodsy spice and floral notes. Relax and watch it unfold with more time in the glass."

Or, consider a red wine from Spain! Kerry suggests the 2018 Escalada do Sil Valdeorras Tinto, priced around $38 per bottle. It's a lovely blend of Mencia & Merenzao (known as Trousseau) from vines that are located a staggering 1600-2400 ft. above sea level in Galicia, Spain. "This wine offers an effusive and perfumed floral nose draws you in to the beautiful purity of the fruit. This is power without weight in the best sense," she notes.

Credit: Getty Images

Wines for a Date Night Out

Because bubbles are celebratory and work with so many dishes, choosing a champagne or sparkling wine makes plenty of sense. For something a little more nuanced, Dave suggests going with a White Burgundy, also known as a Chardonny from Burgundy.

"If you’re contemplating having lobster while you’re out on Valentine's Day, White Burgundy should be your go-to wine," he explains. "The zesty citrus notes of this wine are an ideal match to all manner of shellfish. The real secret of the pairing is the fact that this style of wine and lobster are a beautiful mach texturally. Between the flavors, texture, and intensity this pairing knits together brilliantly."

Finally, our talented sommelier source offered the following words of wisdom when going out for Valentine's Day.

Pro Tip: Opt for the Wine Pairing. Are you going out to a restaurant that is offering a wine pairing with your dinner? Trust the experts and get the wine pairing. Alternatively, ask for a recommendation to match your meal. Go in with an open mind and let the restaurant do the hard work for you.

Pro Tip: Drink Something New. Take a chance on a wine you’ve been wanting to try or a region that you don’t know about – always feel empowered to ask a sommelier at the restaurant for guidance. We live in a time with access to so much great wine, so why not take advantage? You and your Valentine’s Date could discover a new favorite pairing together, or at the very least have an adventure.

Credit: The Tavern by WS

For our residents in the New York area, consider a trip to Hudson Yards this Valentine’s Day! The neighborhood has no shortage of special activities and dining options. For instance, the Edge observation deck has a truly sky-high date package, complete with champagne. Ahead of Valentine's Day, book a table at The Tavern by WS, known for its epic wine list and absolutely stunning interior design. The restaurant is featuring specials like Scallop Crudo, Lobster Ravioli, and Seitan Wellington on Feb. 10, 11 and 12.


The Related Life is written and produced by the Related Life Editorial Team. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events, news and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife.