Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while it would be nice to be whisked off on a romantic hot air balloon ride over The Palm Jumeirah, or spoiled with flowers and expensive sparkly things, what’s more likely (if we’re really lucky) is a relaxing night in, dinner, and cuddles on the couch after tucking the kids in for the night.

There’s still a chance to create some romance with a home cooked meal, especially if you’ve got the perfect wine pairing to boot. With that in mind we at The Tasting Class have set out our recommendations on what to pair with home-cooked man-approved meals.

Cabernet Sauvignon is king when it comes to pairing with a juicy, well marbled steak like sirloin or rib-eye. And we’ve even got a great recipe for Sirloin Steak With Asian Slaw  for you to try out. Cabernet is high in tannins (The grippy, puckering sensation you feel on the inside of your cheeks when you drink a strong red wine), which essentially clean away the fat the steak leaves inside your mouth, helping each mouthful of steak taste as good as the first bite.

Love on a budget: Spend as much as you’re happy to spend for a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. We’re a big fan of the Montes Cabernet Sauvignon, 55 AED from African + Eastern and The Cellars.
Splash Out: Head to the USA isle and treat yourself to a hearty Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa or Sonoma in California.  Try the Kenwood ‘Jack London’ Cabernet Sauvignon, 110 AED from Barracuda.

Prefer a leaner cut? Since beef tenderloin (fillet) isn’t fatty and lovers of this cut tend to like their meat on the rare side, go for a lighter red wine like a Pinot Noir.

Love on a budget: There is no such thing as a cheap Pinot Noir (Or at least there shouldn’t be). This grape requires a lot of TLC in the vineyard and expensive oak barrel aging making it costly to produce. We don’t recommend spending less than 130 AED on a Pinot Noir. We really love the Brancott Estate Letter Series ‘T’ Pinot Noir, 130 AED – 150 AED from Barracuda, MMI and Al Hambra Cellars.
Splash Out: New Zealand is where it’s at! Central Otago and Martinborough areas are where the most revered drops come from. Try Craggy Range Pinot Noir, 215 AED from MMI and Al Hambra Cellars.

Spaghetti Bolognaise (or other pasta in red sauce)
You’re eating Italian food, so stick with their wines too. Italian wine tends to be a little bit sour, and that’s because they have evolved to match the acid in the food, like tangy tomato-based dishes. Hello Spag-Bol!

Love on a budget: Grab a bottle of Chianti. Generally those labelled ‘Chianti Classico’ are the best so get one of those if it’s in your budget, otherwise any Chianti will do. Try the Gabbiano Chianti Classico, 100 AED from African + Eastern and The Cellars.
Splash Out: Barolo. He should be so lucky to have you, a home cooked meal and a Barolo in his arms. Try Prunotto Barolo, 249 AED from MMI and Al Hambra Cellars.

Roast Chicken
We know what (some of) you are thinking. ‘I don’t like Chardonnay’. Well, it’s time to try it again. Chardonnay went through an awkward phase in the 80’s and 90’s where woodier than Ron Burgundy’s hunting lodge. Winemakers now aim to strike a balance between spice, wood and fruit flavours in Chardonnay. Roast chicken is a classic combo with the buttery and toasty taste of the wine.

Love on a budget: Avoid straight up cheap Chardonnay, even if you’re on a budget. Chardonnay costs a lot to make well thanks to the expensive oak barrels it’s aged in. Aim for something around the 100 AED mark from Argentina where economy factors enable them to make decent wines that don’t break the bank. Try Zuccardi Q Chardonnay, 100 AED from MMI and Al Hambra Cellars.
Splash Out: You can get great Chardonnay from most wine producing countries if you’re happy to pay for it. Try an Aussie gem from Adelaide Hills, Margaret River or the Yarra Valley. Try Shaw + Smith M3 Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, Australia 170 AED.

White wine with fish is the general rule, but wine pairing can be more technical than that. If fish is on your menu here are some quick tips of what wine to pair with different fish dishes:

Ceviche – Dry Riesling. Try Yalumba Y Series, 83 AED African + Eastern and The Cellars.
Grilled white fish – Sancerre, Sauvignon Blanc, Albariño or Gavi. Try Martin Codax  Albrañio, 84 AED from MMI and Al Hambra Cellars.
Battered white fish – Cava or Champagne! Go on with your bad self! Try Agustí Torelló Mata Vintage Cava, 80 AED at Barracuda or Laurent-Perrier Brut NV Champagne, 330 AED from African + Eastern and The Cellars.
Salmon – Gewurztraminer from Alsace, France. Try Gustavo Lorentz, 80 AED from Barracuda.
Seared Tuna – Dry Rosé. Try Chateau Minuty, Provençe, France. 77 AED from MMI and Al Hambra Cellars.

We think you can probably come up with something great to tickle your Valentines’ fancy after dinner without our help…


Recommendations by The Tasting Class – Providers of fun an interactive wine and beer classes in the UAE. Visit The Tasting Class or contact to book a private tasting at home, or to get the location of the next public tasting. They can organise a great wine dinner at home for you, too!

 Stay tuned to British Mums as we’ll be announcing some exclusive tastings especially for you lovely ladies, soon!