Whether celebrating Valentine’s Day or another excuse for amorousness, it is hard to avoid considering what you will uncork for such a romantic evening. From staying in to going out, here are my top three wine styles I recommend for any special evening. 

 California-Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon


California is replete with some of the country’s most renowned wine regions; as such, the best of the best Cabernets often fetch very high prices. When looking for a more “everyday” drinking wine, a great tip can be to look for “California”-appellation wines, meaning those where grapes are sourced throughout the state versus from a single appellation.

AJR Pick: Cannonball 2012 California Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.99)- find it here.

 Rosé Champagne


There is nothing more romantic than a glass of something sparkling, and better yet, pink and sparkling. The salmon-colored, effervescent wine is ideal to start any evening, particularly a romantic one.

Champagne is always made from one or more of three grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir, and pinot meunier. Brut rosé ends up being “pink” as the pressed juice spends some, although not a lot, of time on the “skins” of the pinot noir grapes, imparting some of their red colors to the wine (turning it “pink”).

As for Champagne, it’s both the region in France from where authentic champagne is made. And there’s nothing more classic than Veuve Clicquot, one of the most globally well-known champagne producers.

AJR Pick: Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Brut Rosé ($75)- find it here.

 Brut Champagne


If you’re willing to splurge, I can safely say that there is no champagne I enjoy more for special occasions than Dom Pérignon. It’s elegant, restrained, brioche notes and delightfully refined beads (bubbles) make it the definition of elegance. It is pricey- but if you’re on a rare date night, aren’t you worth it?

AJR Pick: Dom Pérignon 2006 Creator’s edition by Bjork and Chris Cunningham ($185)- find it here.

Alyssa Rapp is the Managing Partner of AJR Ventures, a strategic advisory firm to companies in the beverage/consumer package goods/luxury goods spaces, ranging in size from well-funded start-ups to Fortune 500’s. She is also a Lecturer in Management at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business on the Global Dynamics of the Wine Industry. She previously served as the founder and CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc. and is the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips.

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