Angela Mount's Best Wines For Valentine’s Day 2014
Roses are red, and Valentine’s Day wines tend to be pink; but not exclusively. I’ve rounded up a selection of wines and sparklers that can’t fail to please, for a romantic evening in. With more and more loved-up couples opting to stay in rather than face the often awkward and staged Valentine’s Night at a restaurant, here are a few ideas for wines to fit the mood, from Champagne and sparkling wine to whites and reds that will work with a lovingly-prepared dinner in.
Valentine’s wouldn’t be Valentines without Pink Champagne, but be careful which ones you choose; at the top end, Laurent-Perrier Rose, and Billecart Salmon Rose are two of the classic ones to impress – however, if you’re looking for pink Champagne at a more reasonable price, one of my suggestions is:
Oeil de Perdrix Champagne Rose NV
Oeil de Perdrix means ‘Partridge eye’ in French (I am reliably informed partridges do indeed have very pale pink eyes), and the colour of this delicate Champagne is a very soft, peachy-pink, with a stream of the tiniest bubbles dancing to the top of the glass. It’s a delicate, dare I say it, romantic style of fizz, with gentle aromas of strawberries and rosehips, hints of rose petals, and lovely soft flavours of wild strawberries, yet with a refreshing zesty finish, and a light, creamy edge. A great aperitif champagne, but one that would also work with smoked salmon and prawns.
If you want to push the boat out, then the classic, most romantic Champagnes have to be the iconic Laurent Perrrier Rose Brut NV, which is on a cracking deal at Waitrose at the moment, or the sublime Billecart Salmon Rose Brut NV, with its dreamy subtlety and elegance.
From the other side of the world, another, great value pink sparkler is worth a try:
Graham Beck Brut Rose NV
Bright, flirtatious, and lively, this is a great value pink fizz from one of South Africa’s leading sparkling wine producers, with a very stylish, elegant label. Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, it’s a perky, cherry and cranberry-scented sparkler, full of soft, foaming red berry fruit, with a snappy citrus edge, which gives it a refreshing finish. There’s lots of bold, ripe flavours here, so this would work equally well with delicate smoked salmon blinis, or a bowl of raspberries and strawberries.
Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV
It doesn’t have to be pink wine all the way on Valentine’s Day. One of the best Champagnes on the high street is Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV, which wins award after award, and proves that you don’t have to fork out on top brands to great quality fizz. The Tesco team have come up with a true gem here – with its pale golden colour, and delicate stream of bubbles, it’s a ripe, smooth style of champagne, with no harsh edges, full of delicious toasty, buttery, warm peach and cream flavours, and lovely, refreshing finish. It will be the perfect glass of bubbles to start off a romantic evening, but has enough weight and flavour to cope with food as well – seafood, calamari, tempura prawns – perfect.
From £17.99 | Click here to see the best price for Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV
Tesco Finest Pignoletto NV
Prosecco may be the flavour of the moment, but if you’re looking for impressive fizz on a budget, stay one step ahead of the crowd, and impress with an Italian fizz, which isn’t mainstream yet, but soon will be. Tesco Finest Pignoletto is a delightful glassful of fizz, with a stream of tiny bubbles, and an effortless brightness. Crisp, lively, and bursting with fresh green apple, ripe peach and zesty lemon freshness, it’s a perky delight, with a delicate, creamy edge,
which would also be great mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice, if you’re planning a romantic Valentine’s Day breakfast.
Rose wines are great food wines, and shouldn’t be relegated to the role of summer drinking – they are some of my favourites for fish and spicy dishes. Morrisons have added a couple of great pink wines, which would work well if you’re cooking prawns, tuna, or salmon:
Morrisons Signature Pinot Grigio Blush 2012
If I’m honest, I’m not a fan of Pinot Grigio Blush, but the team at Morrisons have done a great job with this fruity, dry rose from northern Italy. It’s fresh, and lively, with a gentle softness, yet a lively, red berry fruit character – lots of juicy, raspberry scents, strawberries and cream on the palate, with a refreshing squeeze of citrus. Another good one to try with prawns, but this would also be a great match with Thai or Chinese dishes.
Morrisons Signature Garnacha Rose 2012
Bright and breezy, this is a juicy, deep rose-coloured pink from northern Spain, produced close to the bull-running city of Pamplona. It’s a big, bold, dry rose, with a great whack of ripe strawberry fruit, tempered with a sprinkling of savoury herbs, and the fresh aroma and flavour of crisp apples. Made from the soft, fruity Garnacha grape, this one is a great food wine, great with the sweet savouriness of duck, and also with salmon.
La Grille Pinot Noir Rose 2012, Sylvain Miniot
Back at Majestic, a dainty, pale peach coloured Pinot Noir rose from the south of France is definitely worth a try. La Grille Pinot Noir Rose 2012, Sylvain Miniot, a delicate, very fresh, whisper of a wine, produced on the stony foothills of the Massif Central, bang in the middle of France. If you prefer your pinks to be light, pretty, and whimsical, this is the one for you – it has a very pretty, elegant style, with gentle scents of rose hips and wild strawberries, and a lovely, almost ethereal style, with soft, savoury flavours, and a touch of crisp green apple on the finish. Don’t overwhelm this wine with anything too spicy, but it would be a dream with pan-fried scallops or smoked salmon.
If you’re trying to impress your date with some beautifully-prepared seafood, such as scallops, prawns, smoked salmon, or even oysters, here are a couple of white wines which should fit the bill.
Ara Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013
Ara Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2013 has won a clutch of awards for its ripe, vibrant, elegant style, and if you’re looking for a zingy, tropical style of Sauvignon Blanc this Valentines, this will be perfect. From the Wairau Valley, in the very south west part of Marlborough, the wines comes from one vineyard, and benefits from the warmer climate in this corner of the region. It’s bursting with ripe, tropical, and pink grapefruit aromas and flavours, and has a long, lingering, lime zest-streaked finish. It’s ripe, it’s smooth, it’s stylish, and it’s a dead cert with seafood.
Gruner Veltliner Terraces, Domaine Wachau 2012
If you’re looking for a spicier style of white, another favourite white from Waitrose is their Gruner Veltliner Terraces, Domaine Wachau 2012 – hats off to the Waitrose team, this is a real star – if you buy one white wine this week, make it this one! From the steep slopes of the Wachau region in Austria, which loom above the Danube, this is a fabulous, fresh, vibrant, dry, yet spicy white from Austria’s very own Gruner Veltliner grape,which is riding high in the wine fashion stakes at the moment. It has gorgeous scents of fresh, juicy peaches, white blossom spring flowers, and tastes delicious – vibrant, restrained, elegant, and so stylish, bursting with fruit , yet with a bone dry, steely finish. For any seafood dish, with a hint of chilli or spice, look no further.
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling 2008
Another great aromatic white to try, if you’re planning Thai, Chinese or Indian food is Villa Maria Cellar Selection Riesling, which is full of lively flavours of ginger and lime zest spice and freshness. From one of the top wine producers in New Zealand, It’s vibrant, stylish, and brimming with ripe, ogen melon and nectarine fruit, with wafts of honeysuckle and passion fruit coming out of the glass, yet, with a lovely citrus tang on the finish.
Finally, onto reds. There are 2 options here – keep the mood and the flavours light, or seek out the perfect red-blooded red for a classic, peppered steak. Here are my suggestions:
Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages 2011
From the king of Beaujolais, this is a fruity, light red, which will appeal to those who don’t want a hefty hit of tannin or alcohol, or simply prefer their reds light and juicy. This is simply delicious – I can only describe it as a happy, fresh, lively red, full of the joys of spring ( when it arrives), but more importantly, bursting with very intense aromas of bright, cherry and raspberry fruit, with a gentle ruby red colour, and delightfully soft flavours of red fruits, and cream, with a light, silky finish. If you’re cooking duck, or want a gentle red to go with fish, this is the one.
Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2011
However if steak or a rich red meat dish is on the menu, go for a rich, but velvety and seductive full-bodied red, such as the iconic Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel, which just oozes richness, velvetiness, and warmth, with luscious, moreish, damson and blackberry fruit, overlaid with sweet spice, a hint of mocha and a lingering finish. This is the wine to drink in front of the fire, with the lights down low.
*This article is showing the prices and stock available on 10/02/2014. Delivery fees may apply.