You have a plan for Tuesday and now you're ready to stick with it. Ready for your next assignment? Beverage pairings!
No romantic meal is complete without a little (or a lot) of booze, and picking the right hooch is a nice touch. We've co-opted a handful of professionals who've thought long and hard to coordinate just the right alcohols to make your dinner a little more special. Choose one to take you through the meal, or pick up all of the accompaniments. Just don't get sloshed. As our consultant Lawrence Skrivanek says, "The dinner is ending, but the night IS NOT!!!!!!!!!!"
Little Italy Amore: For this one we looked to Dell'anima and L'artusi beverage director Joe Campanale for a little wine advice. He says to dive right into something "lightly sparkling and bubbly" like Domaine Renardat-Fâche Cerdon du Bugey 2010, which is great with all sorts of charcuterie but especially the spicy di Paolo's sopressata!" A medium-bodied red like Turley Cinsault will take you into entrees, and then a more unorthodox pear cider could accompany your desserts. "Poire Granit is an off-dry sparkling pear cider from Normandy. Its high acid will cut right through the richness of the cream, and the stone-fruit flavors pair so well with the ricotta and fried shell."
Chinatown Chow Down: We looked to Davis Anderson III, a certified sommelier and Eleven Madison Park employee, to break down the drinks for our Chinatown Chow Down. He says he will "almost always choose to begin with something bubbly, be it beer or wine," and this time he's chosen beer, a Flemish beer. Rodenbach Grand Cru should get you started in the right direction, and a Cotes-du-Rhone should keep it going. The "huckleberry, thyme, olive, and smoke" in renowned producer Eric Texier's 2009 Brézème should balance out the spicy cumin lamb. Reach for madeira to pair with the ice cream (Charleston Sercial Madeira from the Rare Wine Co). The best part? "You can have a glass tonight and leave it open for the following year without having another and not worry about how it will change over time -- it won't. "
Brooklyn BBQ Bounty: Red Hook Winery's winemaker in residence, Christopher Nicolson, went all in, choosing four wine picks for your barbecue. I guess in Red Hook they say "go big, or go home." As an aperitif he suggests a "ludicrous splurge," the Jacques Selosse Brut Initiale NV, as a sipper. Then an "aromatic, tightly wound wine" like 2010 Scholium Project "La Severita di Bruto," followed by a dolcetto d'alba (2007 or 2009 G.D. Vajra), and finally a riesling like the 2009 Donnhoff Riesling Niederhauser Hermannshohle Auslese, because "chocolate and peanut butter are rascals; riesling is the clever girl who can bring them together."
Midtown Japanese Meal: Lawrence Skrivanek, the owner of the FiDi's beloved wine shop La Petite Cave, believes that "for a Valentine's meal, if you don't have anything rose or sparkling, you haven't made it special." In that vein, he's chosen a sparkling rose (Laurent Perrier Brut Rose NV, Gruet Rose) to start off your night. For the pork katsu, he wants you to "think texture," and the Carneros region. After all of that wine, a sake or liqueur might be the thing to pair with the green-tea mille-feuille. Either a Murai Family nigori sake or a snifter of Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur.
Greek Platters on the UWS: Noble Group Media's Jonathan Cristaldi is not a big fan of Greek food, stating "it's all Greek to me" (ha, ha), but he took the challenge of pairing it fairly nobly. He'd start with a dry riesling like 2007 Ludwig Neumayer Riesling Rothenbart to go with the hummus and then pinot blanc (2009 Robert Foley Vineyards Pinot Blanc) to lead you into the Souvlaki Party. Last, but not least, if milk isn't good enough for your cookies, opt for a late-harvest dessert wine. 2007 Macari Vineyards "Block E" Late Harvest Chardonnay should end the night on the right footing.