Drinks to adore on Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air, so with Valentine’s Day coming up on February 14 (next Tuesday), Times Drinks Editor James Viner has rounded up six enchanting wines and a luxurious creamy liqueur that are certain to put you in the mood for romance…


Whether you’re planning to treat your loved one by celebrating at home with a romantic dinner for two or having drinks with friends on Valentine’s Day, make it one to remember with something delectable. And what better excuse for any singleton wine lover to pull the cork on an otherwise cheerless Tuesday evening? Fall in love with these seven Cupid-approved bottles for your Valentine…


1)    Capture their heart with a handsome French still rosé. Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Grenache-Syrah-Cinsault Rosé 2021, Languedoc, France (£9 Clubcard Price, Tesco, until 20 February)

Coming in a strikingly sculpted bottle – this Languedoc still rosé is a summer fruit, grapefruit, floral and red fruit star with a long, lively, flickering finish. Just the ticket for shellfish and mildly spiced Asian cuisine. More delicious than a dozen roses, this is a great alternative to Provence rosé from the former rugby French international and négociant whose wine empire now includes a £200 plus rosé (the ultra-premium Clos du Temple Rosé).


2)    A bottle of adorable Moldovan fizz for a tenner. Albastrele Blanc de Cabernet Sparkling Brut NV, Cimislia, Moldova (£9.99 mix 12, Laithwaites, Sunday Times Wine Club)

Bordering Romania and Ukraine, Moldova has more vineyards than South Africa (and also the world’s biggest wine cellar, Milestii Mici). Tony Laithwaite of eponymic Laithwaites has been shipping Moldovan wine since ca. 2000. This floral, peachy, fruity-forward, thirst-slaking Charmat (second ferment in the tank, like most Prosecco) sparkling wine is uncommonly made wholly from Cabernet Sauvignon. It would make a great Kir Royale. Rather impressive (and unusual) for a tenner. Works a treat.

3)    Dry, spicy, aromatic white from Argentina’s signature white grape variety, Torrontés. Susana Balbo, Signature Barrel-Fermented Torrontés 2021, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina (£19.95-£22.50, The Great Wine Co., The Champagne Company, Noble Green Wines)

Terrific, lip-smacking, medium-bodied (11.5% abv), floral, spicy, gently oaked Torrontés from a high-altitude vineyard – a little higher than Snowdon – all musk-peach, lime-citrus and rose-petal spice. Lovely drinking from the renowned, pioneering female winemaker Susana Balbo, rightly dubbed the ‘Queen of Torrontés,’ who was Argentina’s first female winemaker in 1981 (she also served three terms as President of Wines of Argentina). Bring on mildly spiced seafood, empanadas and fish ceviche! It’ll make you stop and meditate a little as you drink … a magnificent thing.


4)    Must-try supermarket Champagne made by Piper-Heidsieck. Les Pionniers Rosé NV Champagne, France (£22, Co-op)

Nothing says romance in a glass better than pink bubbly. Red-fruited, celebratory, zesty and racy, this is the finest sub-£20 own-label rosé champagne on the high street. Think rosehips, raspberries, red cherries and red apples. Made by top resurgent champagne house Piper-Heidsieck for the Co-op, it has a spume of fine bubbles and is a joy with sushi or lightly poached salmon fillets. Sophisticated drinking for the price. Difficult to resist sipping another glass…It’s a special occasion, so don’t.

Try it in a French 75 with a pink slant. À votre santé!


 5)    Woo your sweetheart with a ravishing fruit-driven sparkling rosé from Marden, Kent. Herbert Hall Rosé Brut English Sparkling Wine 2018, Marden, Kent (£39.50, Lea & Sandeman)

Gorgeous, fruity, floral and red berry fruit gem, all peach blossom, freshly picked redcurrants and raspberries, made from (organically farmed) 40% Chardonnay and 30% each Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in Marden, Kent. It’s brisk and well-balanced with saliva-sapping energy. A very accomplished wine. Rather glorious with sushi too –get your order in at award-winning London wine merchant, Lea & Sandeman (or, for £44, from Herbert Hall). Great vibrant drinking.


6)    Romantic and deluxe rosé Champagne

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé NV Champagne, France (£60-£77.50, Wanderlust Wine, Hedonism Wines, Fortnum & Mason, The Secret Cellar, The Finest Bubble, Champagne Direct)

I love, love, love this refined, classically-restrained, luxurious pink champagne, the pale-salmon hue of which leads on to a hedonistic, floral, red fruit and creamy palate, which sashays with such precision thanks to minerally fresh acidity, delivering a quiet, almost understated grace. In persistence and purity, it is ravishingly magnificent, a dreamy Valentine’s Day deluxe ‘Champagne Rosé’ for those seeking both flavour and refinement. An exceptional, stunning aperitif (it’s fab with sushi, dim sum and wild salmon, too) from a revered family house founded in 1818. A mesmerising display of class – and pure romance in the glass. Go on, splash out and make it a Valentine’s Day to remember. Superlative!


7)    It’s cream liqueur o’clock for lovers with a sweet tooth… Have your cake and drink it!

Ballycastle Red Velvet Cream Liqueur (£7.49, Aldi)

Cream liqueurs aren’t just for Christmas! Tasting like liquid cake and exhibiting an ambrosial melange of alcohol, double cream and red fruit cake flavours, it’s a scrumptious tipple that promises to be a luxurious hit once again. Fun drinking for lovers with a sweet tooth and sure to sweep Valentine’s Day imbibers off their feet. Try it poured over ice in a tumbler. Happy ‘Bally-tine’s Day’! For those looking to resume Dry January in February ardent Aldi shoppers can instead wow their Valentine with the brand-new Haysmith’s non-alcoholic (0% ABV) raspberry and redcurrant gin (£8.99, 70cl). What’s not to love?


Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine

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