Friday, 10 February 2017

Wine and dine your Valentine

Dry January, thank goodness, is behind us and the first official occasion of the year for making a bit of a splash, wine-wise, is upon us. Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to make a grand romantic gesture to your loved one – and if that gesture is a bottle of something, you get to share it too – win-win I’d say.

What to buy your Valentine?
 The obvious choice is pink and sparkling, so here are some recommendations, from the budget bottle to the (very) grand gesture.

Langlois-Château Brut Rosé NV – from £12, The Champagne Company,, Amazon, Cellar Magneval (Woking)
This is a crémant (made in the same way as Champagne) from the Loire Valley and given a distinctive character from  the Cabernet Franc grapes that go to make it. A delicate salmon pink, with a creamy mousse and real fruitiness with a little strawberry shortbread, it delivers plenty of flavour at the price.

Moët & Chandon Rosé Imperial NV – RRP £43, Sainsbury’s, Majestic, Selfridges, The Finest Bubble
Moët’s supple, fruity style suits those new to the Champagne drinking lark. It has plenty of up-front, lively charm that is fresh and suitable for drinking on its own. A fine way to kick off the evening.

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé NV - £54.95 in a gift box at The Finest Bubble, £43.99 at Waitrose
Laurent-Perrier’s rosé Champagne is one of the few which gets its pink hue from contact of the skins of the black grapes with the juice – most are made by adding a certain amount of red wine to the blend. Whether one method or the other makes for a better Champagne is a point of debate, but this has undoubted appeal, from its distinctive bottle to the lively redcurrant-tinged fruit and fresh flavour. A magnum would taste even better, with more complexity and elegance.

Bollinger Grande Année 2005 - £94.95 at Finest Bubble (£92.95 each if you buy six – they won’t go off), £85-£88 at Drink Supermarket, The Drink Shop
I have a soft spot for this pink Bollinger vintage, which combines the power of the house style with such indulgent finesse. Slightly decadent, this is very much one for a romantic night in.

Dom Ruinart Rosé 2002 – RRP £200, Harrods, Selfridges, Hedonism Wines, Jeroboams and Finest Bubble (who offer same day or next day delivery in Surrey)
This is an utterly beguiling champagne which would surely win over any fan of fine white Burgundy. It is 80% Chardonnay, plus 20% of Pinot Noir as red wine. The colour is a mellowing coral with orange highlights and the nose is redolent of a maturing white Burgundy, combining rich and expressive fruit with a featherlight delicacy. The Pinot Noir gives spice and breadth on the finish and the wine’s long maturation on lees and under cork makes for exquisite complexity. This is one to savour over lobster or other rich seafood dishes.

Try before you buy
Cellar Wines in Ripley are putting on a free sampling of a range of wines this Saturday 11th February, including a couple of manager Andy’s favourite pink sparklers: Antech Cuvée Emotion Rosé 2014 from Limoux in southern France and Champagne Goutorbe-Bouillot Brut Rosé NV. And there’s 10% off single bottles on the day – there’s no rule that says you can’t be romantic AND canny.

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