Corks are bound to be popping on Valentine’s Day on Wednesday.
But what fizz best suits the occasion?
Pink Champagne is an obvious choice, with its air of romance and hint of decadence.
In my arduous research, I’ve sampled two glorious rosés from Taittinger.
Taittinger’s Brut Prestige Rosé – priced around £50 at various outlets – is an elegant Champagne, with a roundness that comes from exposure to red grapes contrasting with the fizz.
Summer fruit flavours would make it a wonderful start to any evening – and I think it would work a treat with lobster, langoustine or lightly-spiced prawns.
Taittinger Nocturne Rosé City Lights – again around £50 from various suppliers – is a much more cuddly Champagne, but lacks no elegance or class.
There’s a hint of sweetness that would make it a great tipple throughout the night.
Now a left-field suggestion from Sam Olive of natural wine supplier Wine Freedom, based in Warwickshire (http://www.winefreedom.co.uk).
Sparkling Rose 2011 Ancre Hill is made in Monmouth, Wales, by Richard Morris and priced at £29.
It’s a biodynamic wine made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, using natural yeast, with long lees ageing.
It’s Champagne style, with hints of citrus, fresh and compote strawberries and vanilla cream.
Sam waxes lyrical about this wine: “Soft persistent mousse with a soft and clean finish and delicate acidity. A stylish and delicious natural sparkling wine from pioneering Welsh producer in the beautiful Monmouthshire countryside.”
And now to Spain
Meanwhile, Chris Connolly of family-run Birmingham merchant Connolly’s Wine (https://www.connollyswine.co.uk) heads to Spain for his choice.
He told me: “I struggle to fully understand the Prosecco phenomenon which has transformed the sparkling wine market over the past few years.
“So much Prosecco is, as my father-in-law would say, ‘all gong and no dinner’, whilst for the same money, Spanish Cava can be a much more rewarding experience.
“With a minimum of 15 months ageing in the cellars in Penedes, Mont Marcal Gran Cuvee remains a big favourite of mine.
“Containing a healthy 20% Chardonnay, it has a lovely creamy texture on top of the distinctive nuttiness and earthiness that one expects from good Cava. A steal at £14.95.”
He also recommends Louisvale Brut Rose, a charming fizz from Stellenbosch in South Africa.
This blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir has a gorgeous cherry and raspberry fruit character and a delicious biscuity edge on the finish.
It costs £17.19.
Happy Valentine’s Day!