Schmoozing with booze this Valentine’s Day is a sure-fire way of turning your loved one’s knees to jelly. Start by whipping out a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon chilled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit from the fridge, open it (without taking your eye out with the flying cork) before pouring it into elegant champagne flutes.
Unfortunately Dom Perignon is pretty expensive (Majestic’s price for a 2004 bottling is £137), so a better choice is a much younger champagne or a champagne blend made from several years production. These are labelled Non-Vintage or NV and are half the price of a vintage champagne made from one particular year’s crop, with supermarket own-label bottles starting at around £15.
But if you’re looking for an under-a-tenner romantic sparkler then your best bet is a bottle of Australian fizz. It’ll taste a whole lot fruitier (more pear and tinned peach flavours rather than champagne’s lemon and biscuit) but it may not make your loved one swoon if they’re expecting the more traditional French stuff. Don’t worry, just pop a whole vanilla pod into the opened bottle. Not only will this make the wine taste more creamy but the scent from the pod will increase levels of lust, so I’m told.
Wine is one way of winning over the heart of a British man or woman, but there is a simpler and even cheaper way. Serve a cup of British Rail tea. It worked for Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Only Briefly though, in 1945.
PG Wine Reviews
Babycham Sparkling Perry (75cl)
Made with pears rather than grapes Babycham isn’t a wine, but if you covered up the label many people would say it was. Light, fruity and sweet with a slight fizz, this makes a very acceptable low alcohol alternative at just 5.5%.
Comte de Senneval Champagne Brut NV
Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut NV
Both these are pretty good. And £9.99! Crazy price.
Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Rose
Classic Aussie rosé blended fizz – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes provide red raspberry and strawberry flavours with a touch of rosehip on the nose. Match with your Valentine pink food inspired meal of salmon and prawns in hollandaise sauce.
Asda Extra Special Premier Cru Champagne Brut NV
Simple lemony fizz with a champagne label. Cheap though, but not as cheap as Aldi and Lidl.
Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne NV
£15.99 Tesco (down from £19.99 until February 14)
More simple lemony fizz with a champagne label.
Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Champagne NV
Blanc de Noir literally means ‘white of black’ and is a white coloured champagne made from the dark-skinned Pinot Noir grape. Expect creamy apple, lemon and sesame seed flavours – this will go well with food so a good romantic meal matcher.
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© Paula Goddard 2015 www.paulagoddard.com