Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is generally celebrated with a drink in hand. We asked sommeliers across the country what they’ll be pouring on Feb. 14. Whether it’s a special bottle for one, sentimental favorite to share, or well-earned shift drink, here’s how 10 wine professionals will be drinking on Valentine’s Day.
“Valentine’s Day is cuffing season’s most sacred day. Unless my $30-a-month investment in Match.com yields a return, I will celebrate alone. Unshackled but hopeful, I will drink to love with a glass (O.K., bottle) of Winter’s Hill 2015 Reserve Pinot Noir… This wine is good company! So captivating with a silky mouthfeel and intense flavors of black cherry, raspberry, and spices. Who needs a date?” — Regine Rousseau, Sommelier, Author, and CEO, Shall We Wine, Chicago
“With my husband we try to share a special bottle every year, maybe not the priciest bottle out there but something that means a lot to us, personally. This year we will probably return to our first-date wine, Domaine de la Tour Vieille Collioure rouge from the south of France. A simple bottle with a lot of soul.” — Victoria James, Beverage Director, Cote, New York
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“My wife loves white Burgundy, particularly leaner, racier versions. One of her favorites is Domaine Roulot Meursault Villages, so I will be pouring the 2014 for her. Lucky for me, she makes the most delicious scallop pasta with parsley and lemon — a perfect marriage!” — John Slover, Corporate Beverage Director, Major Food Group, New York
“Valentine’s Day is one of the very few times a year I enjoy having dessert. This coming year I plan on having a bottle of Dumangin Ratafia de Champenois on hand. It’s a vin de liqueur made from Champagne juice that’s been fortified with Champagne brandy and then aged in a solera. It’s one of my absolute favorite dessert tipples because it just pairs with everything. Chocolate, fresh fruit, crème brulée, it does it all.” — Gregory Stokes, Sommelier, Veritas, Columbus, Ohio
“Well, I’ll be working, so my date will be my staff after work. I usually try to drop some tasty wines and knowledge bombs on them after grueling shifts like Valentine’s Day. Thankfully I have a bunch of wine geeks on staff so they get all jazzed about the weird shit I usually have kicking around. I’ve been sitting on the 2011 Macle Chard for a minute. Super-crazy wine — so salty, so briny, so tasty. Anyway, something like that, neato and uncommon.” — Sebastian Zutant, Co-Owner and Beverage Director, Primrose, Washington, D.C.
“We usually pour delicious grower Champagne by the glass on this day… This year, we will be indulging in a Franciacorta, the Barone Pizzini Brut Rosé. These wines like the Barone Pizzini are generally small- production wines and organically farmed from a small region around Lake Iseo in Italy. My dates will be my hard working staff at Flight (and of course, that includes Kabir, my partner in life and Flight)!” — Swati Bose, Sommelier and Owner, Flight Wine Bar, Washington, D.C.
“I never get to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my wife because I’m always working the floor those nights (insert sad violin music). If I could, I would bring a stunner bottle to that date. I love old, rare, and everlasting Rieslings from everywhere in the world. The way they age, gaining texture and complexity, is kind of the parallel with a relationship that gets stronger, interesting, and fortified with time. I have a bottle of 1970 St. Nikolaus Scharzhofberg Riesling Auslese from the Mosel region of Germany ready for the occasion.” — Ferdinando Mucerino, Sommelier, Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica, Calif.
“Cru Beaujolais! Although the holiday has basically ruined the Saint-Amour Cru, there are thankfully nine other great Crus to choose from. My wife is a huge Beaujolais fan and one of our favorites to open is Marcel Lapierre Morgon. Bright, fresh, and playfully complex, Lapierre Morgon is a great bottle to share for a casual lunch or a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.” — Jack Mason, Master Sommelier at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.
“Elvio Cogno Barolo Vigna Elena. It is light in color with intense aromatics, but powerful on the palate. It hits on all cylinders and is intoxicatingly romantic in its own right.” – Dan Amatuzzi, Beverage Director, Eataly USA
“I am a huge fan of Lambrusco, especially the drier, lighter styles. What is sexier than fruity, pink fizz?” — Emily Wines, Master Sommelier and VP, Beverage Experience, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Nationwide