Blog post

Valentine’s Day: Date Night with Domaine Carneros

January 31, 2023

If you’re looking for a romantic experience this Valentine’s Day, then consider having a date night-in with Domaine Carneros and your special someone! To help you plan out your dinner, I created three approachable recipes with my husband that anyone can cook.

These Valentine’s Day recipes include simple ingredients that are available at most grocery stores. The best part is that all three recipes pair wonderfully with the listed wines from Domaine Carneros: 2018 Verméil Demi-Sec, 2018 Blanc de Blancs and 2017 Late Disgorged Brut Rosé.

*Sponsored: Thank you to the Domaine Carneros for sponsoring this Valentine’s Day blog post!

Three Domaine Carneros bottles

First Course

Pairing: 2018 Verméil Demi-Sec
Plate: Winter Harvest Salad

Valentine's Day arugala salad with beets and citrus with Domaine Carneros

The 2018 Vermeil Demi-Sec opens with sweet and crisp aromas. 2018 consisted of the coolest temperatures the winery had seen since 2011, which enabled an extended hang time and longer flavor development for the fruit. The roasted beets in this recipe have much sweetness and depth to complement the wine.

2 cups arugula
1 medium-sized avocado, sliced or diced
1 large beet, roasted and cooled
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
1 clementine orange,peeled and sectioned
¼ cup pistachios
⅓ cup feta cheese crumbles

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup EVOO
Salt and pepper

Garnish (optional)
6 heart-shaped, beet slices
2 teaspoons pistachios

1. In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients then set aside.

2. If you’re feeling festive, then use a small heart cookie cutter to create beet hearts from the slices. Otherwise, chop the beet into half-inch cubes.

3. In a large bowl, toss arugula, beets, citrus, avocado, pistachios, feta and dressing.

4. Serve salad onto two plates. For an extra touch, garnish each plate with: 3 decorative beet hearts, 1 teaspoon of pistachios, and a sprinkle of feta cheese crumbles.

Second Course

Pairing: 2018 Blanc de Blancs
Plate: Scallops, Bacon, Mint, Peas

Valentine's Day scallops with pea puree, mint and bacon with Domaine Carneros

The winemaker’s notes for the 2018 Blanc de Blancs recommended halibut as one of the pairings, and scallops have a similar firmness to that of halibut. Scallops have a lighter flavor profile that pairs well with this elegant wine. The sautéed scallops complement the wine’s aromas of citrus and bright fruit. Additionally, the creaminess of the pea purée contrasts well with the bright acidity palate of the Blanc de Blancs.

6 medium-sized sea scallops, rinsed and dried
1 12oz frozen bag of peas
2 tablespoons butter
1 applewood-smoked bacon strip 
1 mint sprig for garnish
EVOO to cook scallops

1. In a lightly-coated and preheated pot, add the frozen peas and cook on medium heat. Stir until peas are no longer frozen.

2. Add heated peas to blender with butter. Blend until thoroughly mixed.

3. For a smooth pea consistency, push pea purée through a sieve into a bowl. Set aside.

4. Slice bacon into thin strips then place on a preheated pan with no oil. Fry until it is crispy, but not burnt. Shortly after, chop into small 1/4 inch pieces.

5. Season scallops with salt and pepper, then sear in a preheated pan with oil until it reaches a golden brown color. (2-3 minutes)

6. Spread pea purée on two medium plates for medium scallops. If using larger scallops, then use a full size dinner plate.

7. Place 3 seared scallops in the middle of each plate. Then, sprinkle with bacon and garnish with small mint leaves. If only large mint leaves are available then coarsely chop the leaves.

Third Course

Pairing: 2017 Late Disgorged Brut Rosé
Plate: Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Valentine's Day dessert of strawberry shortcake trifle with Domaine Carneros

Since 2005, Domaine Carneros has produced this beautifully aged Brut Rosé in limited quantities. This particular vintage marked the third wettest winter in 125 years, which resulted in a wine with an alluring depth, concentration and freshness. Included in the tasting notes are elements of strawberries, raspberries and baked peaches. So, I created a strawberry shortcake trifle as a lighter dessert to match these notes. With the winemaker’s pairing suggestion of dark chocolate, I garnished the dessert with delicate, dark chocolate shavings. This is the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!

½ bundt angel cake, 1 inch cubes
16 ounces strawberries, rinsed and dried
½ cup granulated sugar

Whipped Topping
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Garnish (optional)
1 dark chocolate bark 
1 mint sprig


1. Cut rinsed and dried strawberries into ¼ inch slices. Then place in a large bowl and sprinkle granulated sugar across sliced strawberries. Use a spatula to coat all strawberries with sugar. Next, wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and place into the refrigerator. Store for a minimum of two hours then prepare trifles.

2. When ready to serve trifles, use an electric mixer to combine heavy whipping cream with powdered sugar. Mix until peaks form then set aside.

3. In a 10-12 oz dessert dish or coupe glass, make a single layer of cake cubes. Next, place a layer of macerated strawberries and its juice directly on top of the angel cake. Spoon whipped topping across the layers. Add another layer of cake cubes, and top with strawberries. Then place a large dollop of whipped topping in the middle of strawberries.

4. Use a microplane zester, or standard cheese grater, to grate small chocolate curls over the whipped cream. Garnish with a mint sprig.

I hope these recipes and Domaine Carneros pairings can create a memorable Valentine’s Day date night-in!

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