Valentine’s Day can be polarizing — some people love the romance, others wear all black in protest of its corniness. But when it comes to Cupid’s holiday, here’s something we can all agree on: iconic Valentine’s Day candies are damn delicious — and especially so when they’re paired with the perfect wines.
But, don’t just pop bottles and shovel handfuls of candy hearts into your mouth. Pairing wine and candy means there’s going to be sugar and big flavors coming at you from all directions. To ensure your pairing is swoon-worthy and not a clashing disaster like your last Tinder date, here are some guidelines:
- Pairing wine with chocolate candy: Choose a wine that’s slightly sweeter than the candy but matches its intensity to prevent the pairing from tasting muddy.
- Pairing wine with fruity or caramel candy: Choose a wine with similar flavors and textures to the candy for a complementary and balanced pair.
Whether you’re looking to impress your significant other, your Zoom date, or just yourself on February 14th, we’ve done the work for you and coupled seven quintessential Valentine’s Day candies with the perfect wines.
Cupid Corn with Chardonnay
Cupid corn, which is traditional Halloween candy corn wearing a festive pink and red outfit, features that same sweet, caramel-y taste and chewy texture of the original. A handful of this candy calls for a big glass Chardonnay (ideally, one that was aged in oak barrels). The wine’s buttery flavors and creamy mouthfeel will complement the caramel in the cupid corn, while also toning down some of this candy’s sugarbomb tendencies.
Try: La Crema 2018 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($23)
Chocolove Ruby Cacao Bar with Sparkling Rosé
Ruby chocolate, which is made from ruby cocoa beans that give it its signature deep pink hue, tastes slightly different than other chocolates—it’s extra smooth and features red berry aromas and flavors. A sparkling rosé comes equipped with the ripe red fruit flavors and vibrant acidity to complement this chocolate bar in an amazing way. Plus, they’re both pink, which is fun and festive for Valentine’s Day.
Conversation Hearts with Sauvignon Blanc
From seventh grade Valentine’s cards to your adult home candy dish, conversation hearts are the gifting candy poster child of this Hallmark holiday. They’re sugary, they’re chalky, they’re full of fruit flavors like lemon, orange, banana, and grape — and if you’re looking for a wine pairing that will have you saying I’m “CRAZY 4 U” (we had to), let it be a Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvy B is dry (to balance out candy’s sugar), plus it’s tart and bursting with tropical fruit flavors, totally matching the candy’s flavor profile.
Try: Cote des Roses Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99)
Hershey’s Lava Cake Kisses with Port
Velvet Lava Kisses, a seductive twist on a classic Hershey’s kiss, features a decadently soft center that spills out as you take a bite, coating your mouth with rich dark chocolate. If you want to lean into the sexy side of this holiday (without putting on lingerie), follow each chocolatey explosive bite with a sip of red Port-style dessert wine. Port is rich, sweet, and features nuances of chocolate to play off the melt-in-your-mouth candy, while also adding some berry flavors. It’s truly a match made in heaven (unlike you and your ex).
A Valentine’s Day icon, these lip-shaped, sweet-and-sour gummies feature juicy flavors of strawberry, cherry, and watermelon, with a dusting of sugar on top. If you’re seeking the perfect companion for this tart treat by way of wine, think pink and reach for a crisp and refreshing rosé—it delivers the same bright, fruity burst to the mouth as the candy, but with a clean and dry finish so your palate is happy, not overloaded.
Everyone has a soft spot for the unexpected couple that just works so well together. Holiday Reese’s are beloved for having the ideal chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio, so even if you’re not a “Valentine’s Day person,” it’s OK to fall in love with this pair: Nostalgic Reese’s hearts and celebratory Prosecco. The prosecco’s crisp, lively bubbles act as a palate cleanser and cut through the fattiness of the peanut butter, making for a festive and well-balanced duo.
Try: 90+ Cellars Lot 189 Reserve Prosecco Superiore ($15.99)
Queen Anne Dark Chocolate Cordial Cherries with Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet and chocolate can be such a sultry combo, but it has to be done right. Cab brings big, bold tannins and dark fruit flavors to the party —which are delicious, but can overpower a lot of flavors and candies. But succulent red cherries and gooey, sugary cordial all covered in bittersweet dark chocolate alongside a Cab? This intensity and flavor profile match is one that we’ll be swiping right on on Cupid’s Day and every day.
Try: Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon ($23)