You might think that your eyes need testing if you’ve spent any amount of time in the shops this week. The sea of red and pink items on display are dazzling, casting a haze over shopping centres across the world. When you get outside, it’s as if someone’s messed with the colour button on the telly – It’s quite disorientating.
Don’t get me wrong, I love any excuse to get romantic and to be affectionate with my Mr (and any excuse to cook and sip!) but it’s astounding how much stuff is out there for us to buy in an effort to replace genuine love for somebody. So my tip is to steer clear of Valentine’s tat and fall for the bargains that are on the shelves in the name of love… And drinking. This year 14th Feb falls on a Sunday, the perfect excuse to stay in with your Valentine and cook up a storm accompanied by some really great wines! There are some great deals out there, particularly on the fizz front. And if you don’t have a Valentine? Who cares. Eating and drinking is for everybody!
If you want to go classic but you’re not too sure whether your dinner date like white or pink Champagne, Tesco have the duo for you. Finest Premier Cru is down to £14 until Sunday. As you pour, it looks like it has no fizz but don’t be fooled, it’s gentle on the tongue and has beautifully savoury notes but it’s not heavy. There’s zing in the finish and it’s bright and exciting. It doesn’t need food so enjoy every drop before you move on! If you then decide pink is your thing, Finest Rosé Champagne is a snip at £20. It’s bone dry but has a little redcurrant going on there so it’s juicy and moreish.
Sticking with Champagne, Majestic Wine Warehouse have a fun
and fruity offer for you. Oeil de Perdrix Rosé Champagne is £17.99 when you mix & match any 6 bottles. The Champagne’s light, delicate colour matches that of the eye of the partridge, which is where it gets it’s name. And it’s got a really pretty label… But if I’m to be taken seriously, I’d better tell you what it tastes like. Its bubbles are light and subtle and is the perfect aperitif. Please don’t serve it ice cold, otherwise it doesn’t taste pink at all! A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, blackcurrants come through on the pallet and is delightful to sip while your cooking – but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
But you don’t have to go classic Champagne, there are so many other options that are worth a try – And I really like to serve drinks that people aren’t familiar with. Marks & Spencer do not disappoint. Their Mount Bluff rosé is a bottle fermented sparkling rosé from New Zealand. At only £13 it boasts a creamy strawberry character and has a hint of pomegranate too. It’s really lovely and being from below the equator it’s something that your date might not be expecting. And if you’re in M&S and want a variety of pink fizz – Their pink Champagnes are always top notch for the price – The stunning Oudinot Cuvée Brut Rosé is reduced to £22 and the delicious Graham Beck Rhona Brut Rosé is reduced to just £15 until 7th March.
The Co-Operative also have something worth noting for the Italian fizz fans: Calitalia Rosé Secco Spumante. At £7.99, you can splurge on your food budget. It’s dry but has a floral, violet like quality. Really soft bubbles on the tongue, it’s not sweet but there is a syrupy strawberry hint to it – Imagine that syrup when you’ve stored strawberries in sugar. It’s delicious at the price and great for a Valentine’s party.
Another bargain Italian fizz that really hits the spot is Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Pinot Rose. It’s a Spumante extra dry. Beautifully delicate bubbles that aren’t harsh in the slightest. Strawberries and cream on the nose and a red current tang on the pallet. I was expecting a decent drop but I wasn’t quite prepared for how elegant and delicious it really is. It’s down from £10 to £6.75 until 15th March. And if you’re in store and fancy splashing out, their own Brut Rosé Champagne is reduced to £20 until 23rd Feb.
And let’s not forget Cava. The somewhat underrated fizz. Prosecco came along and took it’s seat at the party some time ago and to be honest, I’m quite a fan. Especially when it tastes as good as Cordineau Brut Non Vintage. To be honest, I’d rather have a good quality Cava than a below average Champagne. This one has a little bite of brioche and a subtle pear like quality and at £6.49 on a mixed 6 deal in Majestic Wine Warehouse, you can’t go wrong!
So however you decide to toast the weekend, get out there and get some decent wines to go with your cooking. But just remember, one weekend of romancing, wining and dining is not enough to make up for 51 other weekends without it. And more to the point – you don’t need a date to enjoy good food and wine. Just pop that cork and get cooking! Happy Valentines all!