Make your Love Life Sparkle on Valentine's Day
07 February 2022
“I only drink champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not”. The famous words of Coco Chanel. Valentine’s Day is around the corner once more and that surely calls for a glass of bubbly. As the Covid situation seemingly improves day by day, at least this year we can get together again with the loves in our lives and celebrate in style either out or at home.
Although by no means obligatory, pink champagne or sparkling wine always seems appropriate for Valentine’s. In fact, if you look in the shops, its pink everything. Perhaps pink is the colour of love or its just that it seems appropriate for your loved one? Whatever the reason, there is nothing quite like a delicious glass of pink champagne. The wonderful independent house of Taittinger produces a stylish example, which is full-bodied, smooth and elegant. A high proportion of chardonnay is used and the added red wine for the pink colour gives subtle red berry flavours and aromas. Taittinger Prestige Rosé is available from Ocado at £40 or Majestic for a little less at the mix six price.
The smaller but brilliant house of Boizel, which is another of my favourites, produces a fresh and vibrant pink champagne, with delicate red fruit aromas. Delicate and light but certainly not frivolous, this is a special wine, justly rewarded with a silver medal in the Decanter World Wine Awards last year. Champagne Boizel Rosé Brut is available from The Wine Society at £44, with £7 off per bottle if you buy a case of 6.
Another of the Pink Champagne greats which is perfect for Valentine’s Day, is Pommery Rosé Royal Brut, from a house with close ties to the art world. A precise wine with elegant structure, underlying minerality and flavours of stone fruits and wild strawberries. I used to sell dozens of cases of Pommery years ago and it certainly has not lost its regal touch. Soft, vivacious and seductive, with persistent fine mousse and long finish. Waitrose currently has a fabulous offer at £33.75 per bottle, reduced from £45.
For those that are not so set on pink for your celebratory fizz, Pommery has recently launched an English fizz, the first of the champagne houses to launch in England. Others are set to follow soon, such as Taittinger. Made in Hampshire by the traditional method, Louis Pommery England Brut has distinct aromas and flavours of an English orchard, with cox apple and William’s pear, together with a citrus touch. A very light, dry, gentle fizz, so drink it fairly quickly. £29.99 mix 6 price from Majestic.
Away from the great champagne houses of the Marne, there are many first-class family producers, which are smaller and less well-known. Jeaunaux-Robin is in the village of Talus Saint Prix at the southernmost tip of the Cote des Blancs. Despite this, the white champagne is made from 90% red grapes, with only 10% chardonnay. The Extra Brut is beautifully dry, the low dosage allowing greater aromatic expression. Fine and elegant, with yellow plums, toasted brioche and preserved lemon notes. The Wine Society £32, on offer at £160 for 6 bottles.
In the words of Oscar Wilde “Pleasure without champagne is purely artificial”.