Greg Rubin, owner of Horseneck Wine & Spirits, shares his favorite wine pairings for Valentine’s Day! This dad of two, and certified sommelier, is passionate about wine and proud of his historic small business, which has been open since 1934. “Horseneck is one of the oldest fine wine shops in the country (opened months after Prohibition was repealed!), and the largest liquor store in Greenwich,” shares Greg. “As such, we benefit from a track record of sourcing and acquiring the greatest top producers in the world, with a focus on Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, and California,” he adds. Greg also owns Vanderbilt Ave Wine in Brooklyn, which specializes in organic, biodynamic, and natural wines—which he’s incorporating into Horseneck’s offerings as well.
Valentine’s Day is coming up and a lot of people will be cooking and staying in. Here are Greg’s favorite wines to pair with each of the below:
OYSTERS – Champagne!! I would recommend something crisp with some real drive to it from a small grower like the 2016 Champagne Ponson 1er Cru ‘Maupas’ Blanc de Noirs
FILET/STEAK – Cab and a slab! I’ve been digging the Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon lately. Delicious California cabernet from a perfectly rocky and mountainous area outside of Napa. These guys have been making killer wines at crazy good prices for decades.
CHOCOLATE – It’s not exactly a popular opinion these days, but one of the big wine pairing guidelines is to drink sweet wine with sweet foods. So unless you’re eating Baker’s Chocolate, which I hope you’re not, you kind of need some sweet flavors in your wine. So, the classic pairing is Port, like the 2012 Late Bottle Vintage Fonseca. But if you want to stick to an awesome bottle of red, I highly recommend pairing chocolate with Amarone. Go real big and grab one of the last bottles of the 2013 Dal Forno Amarone. It’s insanely good.
LOBSTER – There’s nothing better than a well-made Cali Chard or a top notch white Burgundy. For Cali fans I’d go with Far Mountain ‘Myrna’ Sonoma Chardonnay which is the personal project of the winemaker at Quintessa and for white Burgundy I absolutely love the 2019 single vineyard Meursault ‘Les Chevaliers’ from Xavier Monnot. This is one of my favorite wine pairings, full stop.
PASTA (WHITE SAUCE) – What grows together goes together. Pasta that begs for white wine need a nice medium-bodied Italian white. The 2019 Vietti Timorasso from Piedmont, Italy is celebration-level wine at a weeknight price and goes with damn-near everything.
PASTA (BOLOGNESE OR RED SAUCE) – How can you go wrong with any Italian red? The 2015 Piemaggio ‘Le Fioraie’ Chianti Classico is brand new to the United States and has been a home run for us. If you wanted to go big for Valentine’s Day you could always do the 2017 Fratelli Alessandia Barolo di Verduno ‘Monvigliero’ which is just about as perfect a Barolo as there is and comes from the de facto Grand Cru vineyard in that area.
CHICKEN – Super versatile dish…you could do lots of things. For red I would probably do the Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and for white I’m a sucker for a lean and mean Loire Valley Chenin Blanc, so I would recommend one of the truly great white wines of the world – 2018 Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc.