Celebrate V-Day with this tasty selection — including three sparkling rosés — that are sure to create that fitting romantic atmosphere and lift lockdown spirits. Here are the vinous makings for an appetising lockdown Valentine’s supper. Pop these food-loving bottles, whether for a romantic evening with your sweetheart or to enjoy by yourself over a night or two. Cheers to liquid affection!
1) Ultimate Bargain Seafood/Fish Wine from the Loire
Specially Selected Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur Lie 2019
Aldi, £5.99 (in-store only)
Loire, France, Alc 12%
If you’re looking for a top-value-for-money white wine to sip and savour, the search is over. For those wanting to save a few pennies, Aldi’s ‘Specially Selected’ affordable premium wine range offers an amazing bang for your buck. Relish this fresh, medium-bodied, gently stony French Atlantic white with chicken, seafood and shellfish. White fish, oysters, or spaghetti alle vongole anyone? Made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and aged on the lees (sur lie), it’s a classic Muscadet with a brackish tang to its green apple and pear fruit. An outstanding steal. In-store only.
2) Must-Try Own-Label Rosé Champagne
Les Pionniers Rosé NV Champagne
Co-op, £20 offer (down from £22 until February 23)
Champagne, France, Alc 12%
Make a pop with a Champagne cork this V-Day. Made by resurgent house Piper-Heidsieck, this sophisticated own-label rosé from Co-op is a star and such good value (on or off the current promo). It has hints of brioche, plus some redcurrant, red cherry, and biscuit. Super-drinkable and quite outstanding value at this price. Makes me long for Cantonese dishes, duck, a classic prawn cocktail, cold cuts, and sushi. Easily worth the full price; exceptional on offer. If you seek a bargain bottle of non-rosé own label champers be sure to try Aldi’s ever-trusty Veuve Monsigny Brut NV Champagne (£12.99). One for oysters. Take a bow, Co-op and Aldi.
3) Pop the Mood of Love with this Ravishing Pink Cornish Bubbly
Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut 2018
Cornwall, England, Alc 12.5%
With its delightful wild red fruit flavours, this admirably energetic, cherry-scented West Country winner will lift the mood. Lively, pure, elegant and delicious, it’s sure to invigorate the senses for a feast. With striking purity and a lifted bouquet, this is a really smart and fulfilling way to court your lover with a gorgeous aperitif. First-rate concentration – and good value – from just west of Bodmin, Cornwall. Unfurls by the minute. A captivating wine of real class and just the ticket if smoked salmon nibbles/seafood is on the menu. You’ll finish off the bottle in no time. Kudos!
4) Sparkling Rosé Seduction from Saumur
The Society’s Saumur Rosé Brut NV
The Wine Society, £11.95
Loire, France, Alc 12%
Put down your pink Prosecco and try this! You get a lot of bang for your buck with this top-notch, delectable, gloriously zingy, only-just pink, Cabernet-Franc-forward sparkler from one of Anjou’s most distinguished sparkling wine producers, Gratien & Meyer. Think strawberry, raspberry and redcurrant with a waft of pepper and delicately perfumed roses. It is superb as an aperitif and characterful enough for Cupid’s canapés. Organise fruit tarts or chocolate desserts and open a bottle of this bestseller from The Wine Society, and you’ll have a rather sybaritic Sunday night indeed. Sassy, easy-drinking – love it! A steal for the price.
5) Finally, Liven Things Up with This Rare Red Dessert Wine
Quady Elysium Black Muscat 2017, 37.5cl
California, USA, Alc 15%
A scrumptious repast needs a tasty pudding and a fabulous dessert wine to conclude. It is virtually impossible to evaluate or drink this dreamy, floral, cassis-and-red-fruit-stashed Californian example without pronouncing the word ‘seductive.’ Smooth as silk and beautifully composed, this is succulent, to say the least, but most strikingly it also rockets on from the finish. Heavenly served lightly chilled under candlelight with Gorgonzola, cheesecake, dark chocolate hunks, red fruit/chocolate desserts, poured over vanilla ice cream – or just sipped solo, à deux, as a romantic after-dinner treat. Swapped for crème de cassis, it makes a great ‘Kir Royale’ – perhaps topped with a strawberry? Hedonistic pleasure. Check out that label too!
Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine