Pairing Wines for Valentine’s Day With Glo Restaurant and Lounge

Making wine has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. It was a regular part of culture and religion for everyone from the Egyptians to the ancient Greeks, and researchers have found wine residue in pottery dating back to the 6th millennium BC. This longstanding relationship between Homo sapiens and Vitis vinifera (the common grape vine) speaks to just how powerful wine can be as a pairing for the food we eat.

“They work symbiotically, it’s a perfect marriage,” says Jennifer Carter, Wine Steward here at Glo Restaurant & Lounge. “It can complement a meal and bring out flavours you wouldn’t otherwise notice.” Whether you’re looking forward to your reservation or cooking up your own Valentine’s dinner, you owe it to yourself and your partner to explore this classic connection. And while multi-page wine lists and the shelves at the liquor store can seem intimidating, you can certainly make some great pairings all on your own with a few tips from Jen’s training with the Court of Masters and International Sommelier Guild.

Start things with our light Pear and Candied Pecan Salad

Start things with our light Pear and Candied Pecan Salad

One of the easiest ways to start pairing is by matching your regions. People living and making wine in these areas have tailored their wines to suit the local fare, so take advantage of their experience. “Say if you’re cooking Italian food, you’re probably going to luck out no matter what you do if you get an Italian wine, red or white.”

The wild mushroom soup on Glo’s Valentine menu, for example, features wild truffle oil, a pairing from the Piedmont region of Italy. Piedmont is also the birthplace of Asti, a sparkling white wine made using the same Charmont method as the Villa Sandi Prosecco Brut that Jen has recommended for the menu. “The truffle is super rich, the mushroom soup has a great texture of umami, meaning it’s slightly fatty and coats your mouth,” says Jen. “So you take a sip of a Prosecco or Asti and it just cleans it right up with that bright acidity.” Get specific — the closer you get, the more accurate the pairing.

The second and often more difficult method is to use contrasting flavours, like sweet and dry or heavy and fragile. Keeping things light with some fresh seafood is a great way to ensure your Valentine’s evening doesn’t end prematurely, and the classic pairing is a Chardonnay from the French town of Chablis. “You’re going back to your regional pairings,” says Jen. “It’s full of minerality, it’s crisp and beautifully acidic but there’s still a soft roundedness that works beautifully with white fish and cream dishes.” Keeping it local? BC’s ocean-fresh seafood goes great with local Pinot Gris, like Poplar Grove from Penticton.

Of course, there are plenty of exceptions. “As far as food and wine pairings go there’s a lot of ways to do it,” says Jen. “It’s funny because there’s all these rules people create, but it’s just as easily acceptable to break those rules.” A steak has big, bold flavour that pairs perfectly with an equally bold tannic wine like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Malbec or Chianti — but in an exception to the exception, Jen’s paired our Surf & Turf with Ogio Primitivo, a slightly lighter red with softer tannins to match both the red prawns and the striploin. And while pork is considered a white meat and generally matched with white wine, Casa Viva Pinot Noir does a great job of standing up to our Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Tenderloin, even as a light and delicate red.

Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Tenderloin, paired with Casa Viva Pinot Noir

Prosciutto-wrapped Pork Tenderloin, paired with Casa Viva Pinot Noir

It’s in variations like these where restaurant staff shine, so if in doubt when out and about, there’s no shame in asking for a recommendation. “That’s their job, to guide you through your experience from start to finish,” says Jen. “They should know their menu and wine list off the back of their hand. Put your faith in them and you should have no issues.”

Last but not forgotten is the whole world of dessert wines, sherries and ports. “I would say ports and sherries are underexplored in North America,” says Jen. “It’s the flip side of an aperitif — they literally help your body digest what you’re eating, and it’s a great way to cap off a meal.” The rule of thumb is that you always want the wine to be at least as sweet as the dessert, otherwise the wine can taste like vinegar. For Chef Ryan’s dark chocolate paté, Jen recommends Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve and its strong cherry and fruity flavours.

Dark Chocolate Paté and White Chocolate Bark, paired with Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port

Dark Chocolate Paté and White Chocolate Bark, paired with Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port

Want to quiz Jen on the right wine for your romantic evening? Drop us a line at And if you’re still looking for a table on February 14th, there are still a few reservations open. Give us a call at 250.385.5643 and we’ll get you in the book.

Presented by Glo Restaurant and Lounge + EAT Magazine. Visit them on the Storehouse.

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