The Sommelier at undeniably one of the most romantic spots in the area dishes on making Valentine’s Day memorable.
By Kelly A. Magyarics
Name some romantic sparkling wine options besides Champagne for Valentine’s Day.
Other than Champagne, there are many beautiful bubblies from many places. J Winery in Sonoma, California is doing a fantastic job with sparkling wines, and their rosé is especially fitting for Valentine’s Day. [See below for more wine recommendations.]
On the flip side, name some amazing bottles of Champagne if you are looking to pull out all the stops.
With Champagne, it’s very easy to pull out all the stops! If you’re looking for an amazing experience, delve into the world of vintage Champagne. Most producers bottle a vintage Champagne (not every year, however), and perhaps you’re one of the lucky people who got married in a vintage year. What an amazing experience to be able to drink a wine that started its life the same year you married your love!
Pick some options if you don’t care for sparkling wine…or even wine in general. (Maybe a cocktail…)
There are countless options for cocktails! Like sommeliers, a good bartender is happy to take a few bits of information about your likes and dislikes and fashion something special for you on your night out. [2941’s aromatic, romantic Boardwalk cocktail ($10) mixes Beefeater gin with grapefruit, St. German, Opal basil and Moscato d’Asti; the Planetarium Manhattan ($10) features Jim Beam rye, a Cabernet reduction,
and bitters made with crabapple and nutmeg, and is garnished with a brandied cherry.]
What is one of your favorite Valentine’s Day food and wine combinations?
The classic pairing of oysters and bubbles is hard to beat! Beautiful textures from both sides accentuate the flavors of each.
What tips do you have if you are looking to impress your date with an evening out?
Get in contact with the sommelier where you’ll be dining ahead of time and work together to pre-select your wines for the evening. When you arrive, you can just sit back and focus on your date with one less worry.
What tips can you share for impressing your date with a romantic evening IN?
Just cook whatever you’re most comfortable with. I feel that it’s more important to be able to spend time and focus on your date than be concerned about timing an intricate meal. Remember that this time is about the company, not just the food.
Talk a bit about the romantic nature of 2941–why is the setting so conducive to proposals and romantic evenings?
I often think of 2941 in the same way that I think of New York City…when you walk in, it’s so grand with our high ceilings and giant windows. The bustling activity of the front of the restaurant might seem daunting, like the city streets. But once you’re seated, it’s as if you’ve been made the most important person in the city. You still have the beautiful views and the sense of being part of something larger, but with the privacy and intimate service that are most conducive to a romantic evening.
Tell me about the Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu at 2941. What are your favorites dishes on it and your favorite wine pairings?
I love the various textures and weights that each dish brings. Each course has several dynamics, with soft and loud notes that playfully engage the wines and the palates of the guests. I think my favorite course might be the Filet Mignon with Oxtail Crust, Sunchoke and Crosnes. We’ll be pouring a rich and powerful blend from Priorat, Spain called Vinedos de Ithaca ‘Odysseus’. This is a wine that’s especially close to my heart as it was served at my own wedding, so I feel that it has good energy aside from just being incredibly delicious.
(2941 Restaurant is located at 2941 Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church. The restaurant is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a special five-course tasting menu offered from Friday, February 11, through Monday, February 14. The cost is $130 per person, with $75 to add wine pairings with each course.Call 703.270.1500 for reservations.)
The perfect wine for sipping on Valentine’s Day is whatever bottle you choose to open with someone special…but here are a few options to get the romance flowing:
If your date’s not afraid to drink pink:
Select the Domaine Carneros Brut Rosé Cuvée de la Pompadour ($35). The gorgeous, romantic color of this wine made in partnership with French Champagne house Taittinger is matched by aromas of strawberries, roses and a touch of peach. But don’t confuse this with a sweet wine—it’s a true Brut, and will pair with duck, salmon or even filet mignon.
If you want a bottle that taste great and looks fun on the table:
Pick St. Francis Winery’s 2007 Sonoma County Red Splash ($10). This luscious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel and a few others has enticing raspberry fruit and spicy clove notes, and it’s approachable and very drinkable. The label’s bright red paint splatters are perfect for a Valentine’s Day table.
If you want to be assured of a love match:
Pour 2008 Wild Rock Cupid’s Arrow Central Otago Pinot Noir from New Zealand ($20). Lovely aromas of blackberries, raspberries and herbs is met with plum and cherry flavors and a touch of Pinot’s earthiness. This happens to be a great choice if lamb chops are on the menu.