Valentine’s Day isn’t just about roses and chocolate — it’s about sharing fond memories, celebrating relationships, enjoying a meal, and, of course, drinking lovely wine with your Valentine. And if it’s a great day together, you’ll make more memories to share next year.

The traditional “romantic” starter would be oysters with their mystical qualities (a subject upon which you may do your own research). While oysters on the half shell are always fun and allow you to open your evening with a great bottle of champagne or prosecco, you might want to grill or roast some oysters instead. Maybe spice them up with a bit of Cajun hot sauce or garlic and pepper and then top them off with glasses of a semi-sweet wine to blend with the spice. An Australian Riesling would be nice, but so would a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or an Austrian Gruner.

If your main course is a beef tenderloin (maybe with a green peppercorn sauce?) why don’t you get a big beautiful Australian Shiraz, a full bodied French Chateauneuf de Papes or a California Zinfandel to serve? All of them will go well with the meat and will keep your mouth smiling and your eyes twinkling as you gaze across the table.

Alternatively, if you want healthy fish, maybe the white flesh of a local cod (or fluke) with a bit of tomato for Valentine’s Day color will do well. A big, fruity Chardonnay from the West Coast or from France will help with the acid of the tomato. Alternatively, if you feel like going all Continental, a Pouilly Fumé would be more than nice.

Perhaps you’re planning to make Mickey’s Chicken this Friday night. The assertive flavors in this dish require a crisp wine to keep your palate clear. A Saint-Véran white comes from the Southern half of Burgundy and while made from Chardonnay, is nicely lean and dry. Alternatively, I’d pour a Chablis, or if you wanted a Bordeaux, a Graves, which is made of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.   

At dessert, a light fruit tart will help you finish that bottle of fizz from the oyster course. Or a small dark chocolate something will help you finish the red from the meat course. And after that, a little glass of Port while sharing the clean up and gazing into each other’s eyes. And after that…?


Jim Malkin lives in Chilmark and drinks wine with dinner.