Romantic wines for Valentine’s Day

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Times editor James Viner raises his glass to today’s feast of love and picks out four wondrous bottles to woo your loved one and celebrate Valentine’s Day 2022 in style.

The weather may be gloomy and the holiday season a faded memory, but spring will soon be here and love is certainly in the air since it’s Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for a special bottle that will bring out the best in your Valentine’s Day dinner and add a little sparkle to the ceremony, here are a handful of top quality suggestions and romantic wine delights.

For starters, in my opinion, it’s enough to be (dry) sparkling wine – it’s pure romance in a glass…

1. HELLO! YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY APERITIF, SORTED… IT’S ALSO ONE FOR PROSECCO REFUSENIKS (LIKE ME)!

Il Papavero Rosé Prosecco Brut 2020, Italy: Laithwaites£9.99 mixing 12+ bottles, 11.5%

If there is one day in the year when it is mandatory to open a bottle of delicious pink sparkling, it is Valentine’s Day (a cliché I know!). But remember: never mix dry bubbles with chocolates – see below for my favorite sweet Valentine’s wines. This value-priced pale pink rosé Prosecco Brut DOC is lacy, dry and very flirtatious and would be so easy to love as a Valentine’s Day aperitif or with fruity desserts. It has a floral scent, pillow-soft texture, easy-going bubbles, and generous flavor; a veritable cocktail of summer fruits, red apple and pear that seduce sip after sip. Superb with panettone and fresh fruit desserts, it’s great fun, more indulgent and great for stocking up and putting in the fridge if Valentine’s Day turns into a celebration. You’ll be polishing the bottle in no time; a sparkling pink perfect for making someone feel special without breaking the bank. Serve well chilled. Vegan-friendly too. Another winner from Laithwaites first class new wine portfolio. Also order this Rich in flavor and scrumptious organic vegan Sicilian Frappato, carefully crafted, low in tannin, in mid-March. It is the first UK wine to be bottled in 100% recycled glass. Mark your calendars, it will sell out again in hours. Five five!

2. FINE-GRAINED ROMANTIC RED FROM THE RIBERA DEL DUERO ON SPAIN’S NORTHERN PLATEAU

Finest* in partnership with Bodegas Portia ‘Ebeia’ Ribera del Duero 2019, Burgos, Spain: Tesco£12, 14.5%

Comprising more than 90% of its low-yielding vineyards, the main grape variety of the DO Ribera del Duero is Tempranillo, recognized by the labels of local clones of Tinto Fino or Tinta del País. Unlike the DOCa Rioja, about 100 km to the northeast, here the most planted red grape variety in Spain absorbs sunlight at high altitudes by growing thicker skins, which is reflected in the intensity of the deep color and high tannin levels of the resulting wines. From just 24 wineries in 1982 – when the ambitious DO debuted – there are now more than 300, with approximately 8,000 winemakers. 23% of the vines are over 50 years old (including 10% over 80 years old).

Look for the sleek, less oaky, overworked and flashy wines of Ribera (many made from expensive new French oak), like this intense, zesty and supple Tesco beauty from the DO’s high mid-east district in the high plateau. extending north to Segovia and Avila which is criss-crossed by the Duero River. Here the nights are cool and the days hot, giving acidity and intensity to the wine. Sourced from vineyards some 850m away in Burgos and tapped into a savory package of vibrant length and sophistication, this silky, dark fruity, beautifully perfumed red has fine, ripe tannins and a characteristic hint of acidity. light oak (less than a year old) is only a means to an end. It will be an indulgent treat for your loved one. Just the ticket for lamb chops, winter stews (hello beef in Provençal daube), hare in a jug, wild mushrooms, fatty fish like tuna and cod, cheddar and manchego. 10/10 for the super light bottle too! Effortless and filigree, it’s on-target brilliance and a true street find. More information here. A candidate for your busy decanter. Foster + Partners designed the bodega.

3. MAGNIFICENT FIZZ FROM A 5 HECTARE ORGANIC VINEYARD LOCATED ON THE EDGE OF MARDEN, ABOUT 15 M NE OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS

Herbert Hall Brut 2016, Marden, Kent: Herbert Room/Leah & Sandeman/n07T Wells, £39.50 to £40, 12% off

With its fine pearl (bubbles) and fragrant qualities of honeysuckle, stone fruit, sweet pastry and citrus, this exquisite, pleasantly biscuity bubbly from a five-hectare vineyard in the nearby town of Marden is a real hit. with seafood, especially oysters, seafood, sushi. and fish and chips. Made with the utmost care from the three classic Champagne varietals here in Kent, it’s a case of love from the first sip. Very complete and impressive. It’s a stunning appetizer and sure to elevate the amorous mood. Delicious, wonderfully long and complex with a very dry finish.

4. ELEGANT, ROMANTIC, VEGAN, PINOT-NOIR-FORWARD ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE

Deutz Rosé Champagne Brut NV Sakura Edition (in gift box), France: The best bubble/The Champagne Company/Laithwaites£42-£50, 12%

With one or two exceptions, don’t buy cheap rosé champagne! Spend more if possible and buy this instead. Located next to Champagne Bollinger in the revered Pinot Noir village of Aÿ, Champagne Deutz has 42 hectares of vines, which provide 20% of its grapes. This perfect, immaculate bubbly is a particularly attractive, well-crafted and elegant pale salmon-pink rosé champers with aromas of raspberry, nectarine, strawberry and cranberry offering depth and length of flavor in a chalky, mineral texture. It was aged for three years, with an additional six months after disgorging before release, and is very clearly dominated by Pinot Noir and vinous. “Sakura” means “cherry blossom”, the unofficial national flower of Japan. Reference non-vintage rosé champagne to discover, it is a jewel of love in a flute and vinous seduction at its height. This is the one I would choose to accompany lightly smoked salmon, duck with red fruit sauce, smoked salmon pâté, sashimi, seafood in a creamy sauce, fruit salad, red fruit crumble or sip with a creamy cheese (Brillat Savarin perhaps?) . Nice intensity. Grab it and push the boat out…

FOUR REMARKABLE VALENTINE’S DAY SWEET WINES TO COMPLETE CHOCOLATE, TRUFFLE AND CHOCOLATE DESSERT BOXES:

Tesco Finest LBV Port 2015, Douro, Portugal: Tesco£11 (a box of dark chocolates please)

Quady Elysium Black Muscat 2017, California, USA: Majestic£11.99, 37.5cl (serve chilled with chocolate desserts)

Henriques & Henriques Malvasia 10 years, Madeira: The Wine Society/Corney & Barrow/Tanners£20-£24.15, 50cl (pair with blue cheeses, fruit cakes and also chocolate truffles from TW’s Temper Temper Chocolate)

Banyuls Cuvée Léon Parcé 2018, Domaine de la Rectorie, France: The wine company£22, 75cl (serve chilled with quality dark chocolate)

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoteWine

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