Valentine ‘must have’s’ for an evening of Romance
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
Valentine's Day has been celebrated, first as a pagan festival, then by the ancient Romans then associated with various Christian Saints called Valentine, as a festival of romance and love. Around the World flowers, chocolates and gifts are given, but for a romantic evening what is it best to drink?
The fashion for pink wine has to be a good place to start.
A nicely romantic aperitif might be a bottle of pink fizz, and there are lots of great deals around for Valentine's Day.
Tesco's have a special £15 "The Finest" Meal for two, with the choice of the Finest Prosecco Rose, or if you prefer a still wine, the Finest Pinot Grigio Blush. Bought without the meal package, the Tesco Finest Pink Prosecco is a good value and at the time of writing this article, just £7.00 (£8.50 usually), and is a fun wine.
Another great value pink Italian fizz is available in Waitrose;- 25% off at the moment, La Gioiosa et Amorosa Rose Spumante, is now £7.49 a bottle.
For those who want to keep supporting the British wine producing industry, there are two good pink English Sparkling wines being sold in Waitrose, the brand-leading Nyetimber Rose with 25% off is £31.49 a bottle. Also the excellent Hush Heath Balfour Rose from near Canterbury in Kent, is one of the best English fizzes and is £39.99.
Of the best value Pink Champagnes, Waitrose's own label Champagne Rose NV, is made down in the Aube area of Champagne from 100% Pinot Noir by the excellent producer Alexandre Bonnet. Reduced for Valentines by £4 a bottle to just £22.99.
Or if you want to really splash out, Bollinger's Grande Annee Vintage Rose 2012 is £110 a bottle in Waitrose, but it is so delicious it would win over anyone's heart.
if you want to really splash out, Bollinger's Grande Annee Vintage Rose 2012 is £110 a bottle in Waitrose, but it is so delicious it would win over anyone's heart
Other aperitifs getting the evening under way, why not start with a cocktail?
Master of Malt have several. Mermaid Pink Gin from the isle of Wight is pink and juicy from an infusion of strawberries, so with ice, a strawberry decoration and a splash of tonic, what could look more romantic? £35 per bottle.
They also have a wonderful Banana Rum from Project 173, the perfect base for a Banana Daiquiri, to recreate a substitute for a Caribbean paradise. £19.95 per bottle.
For me the best Valentine cocktail has got to be the Easy Tiger Pink Pavlova Gin, with a few added berries and topped up with ice and tonic. £29.95 per bottle.
Assuming the evening is off to a wonderfully romantic start, perhaps a little wine with dinner?
To carry on the Pink theme, the top wine from Sacha Lichine is the delicious, delicate, but beautifully elegant and balanced Rock Angel. Available at VIP Bottles for just £22.99.
For red wine, it is great to see that some merchants have managed to get stock of the single village Beaujolais which sells out every year throughout France on Valentine's Day, Saint Amour.
it is great to see that some merchants have managed to get stock of the single village Beaujolais which sells out every year throughout France on Valentine's Day, Saint Amour
Because it always sells out, there is some pretty ordinary wines made, but I can recommend Laithwaite's Saint Amour Domaine de Billards 2019, young fresh with cherry and raspberry fruit, it can be slightly chilled and goes with fish or white meats.£13.99.
The other Saint Amour even has a heart on the label. It is equally fresh and fruity, and from Majestic The Pardon et Fils Les Diamantines, Saint Amour 2020. Not really a substitute for diamonds, but it will make a sparkly evening and at a special price of £9.99 for a mixed case of six.
And finally, for those who want to sleep well, Master of Malt have a superb whisky as a night cap. From the Hebridean island of Islay, but not really as typically peaty, more smokey with aromas of almost a seashore breeze and slightly fruity. It has the extraordinary name of Seaweed & Aeons & Digging & Fire 10-year-Old. It has masses of recommendations from whisky connoisseirs and is just £34.95 per bottle.
Worth a little planning, particularly if you have had a "Dry January", but lots of opportunity to have a wonderfully romantic evening with your love ones.
Updated 4th February 2022