Valentine’s Day is for lovers — lovers of wine, that is. Traditionally, the red wines that will snuggle up best to what’s on you and your partner’s plates come from the Old World: the vineyards of Europe.
There is a danger in over-simplifying the differences between wines from Europe and those from newer wine-producing areas, of course, but the historical background is that, for a variety of reasons, Europeans have grown up on wines that are lean, savory with lots of acidity.
Although there are exceptions on both sides, wines from Europe’s former colonies tend to be riper and more fruit-forward — still table wines, but made less to stimulate our desire to eat something than as something pleasurable to sip on by themselves. Europeans drink bitters; everyone else grew up on Coke.
That doesn’t mean that every European red is food-perfect. Some challenge us by being so lean and bitter that they can detract from food rather than complement it. But here are 15 from various countries in Europe — mainly France, Italy, and Spain — that you might fall in love with.