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Here are a few tips for picking out a crowd-pleasing Valentine’s Day wine without breaking the bank

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow — whether you’re looking to plan a date with that special someone, hanging out with your best pals or even just looking to treat yourself this year, you may be scrambling to find the perfect wine for the occasion.

Walking into a liquor store’s wine section can be overwhelming. Whites, reds, rosés, sparkling….and they all come from a plethora of different vineyards at many different price points. Sandra Guibord, founder of Sandra’s Wine Life, has some tips for picking out the perfect Valentine’s Day wine.

One of the most important tips that Guibord can offer is this: you don’t have to break the bank to find a nice bottle of wine.

“When you see wine suggestions, they are usually from these obscure vineyards that you can’t find in stores, and if you can, it’s usually expensive,” said Guibord. “Expensive doesn’t mean better. There are plenty of bottles that are inexpensive that will go over well at any celebration.”

An inexpensive crowd pleaser that goes over well is a sparkling wine. According to Guibord, a La Marca Prosecco offers a clean and fresh taste with hints of citrus that will please any palate. It can be served on its own or as the base for a mimosa or Kir Royale. Plus, at $17.89 a bottle, it will allow you to spend the extra cash on some take-out to go with it.

“Anything fried, like fried chicken or fired calamari, is a great pairing for this Prosecco,” said Guibord. “The bubbles help cleanse the palate of the oil from the fried food. This is a great wine for take-out meals.”

For those venturing out into the sparkling rosé category for a Galentine’s Day, Guibord says the Gruet Brut Rosé, which costs $17, will put an elegant touch on the celebration. 

Gruet Brut Rosé is an elegant full bodied sparkling wine made 100% from Pinot Noir Grapes,” said Guiord. “To make your gals feel extra special, serve this sparkler with classic chocolate covered strawberries.”

White wines are generally good crowd pleasers, not just for Valentine’s Day, but for any occasion. If you’re lost in a sea of white wines, Guibord recommends a Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay. At $17.99 a bottle, this lush chardonnay has flavors of golden delicious apple, citrus and a touch of oak, and pairs perfectly with a home-cooked meal.

“Getting a reservation on Valentine’s Day is a nearly impossible task,” said Guibord. “Pop a roasted chicken in the oven with lemon and herbs and serve it with this wine. It’s simple and cost effective.”

If you’re anything like me, the red wine section can be the most intimidating. A great romantic red that can spice up your Valentine’s Day is Colosi Nero Dd’Avola. At $13.99, this Sicilian wine has an intense fruit flavor that will liven up any celebration. The best part? It pairs perfectly with pizza.

Pizza is the most underrated valentine’s day meal,” said Guibord. “This wine is spicy and has a full body, making it a perfect pair for staying in, ordering pizza and watching a movie.”

At the end of the day, Guibord says it’s not even necessarily about which wine you choose — it’s about your intent.

“Chances are on Valentine’s Day, you’re celebrating with people you know or want to know better,” said Guibord. “Don’t worry too much about the execution of the night. It’s about showing these people that you love them.”

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