As romantic fever takes hold, our wine expert, James Viner, rounds up his best buys to add plenty of fizz to all the fun

PERFECT PINK PARTY TRADITIONAL METHOD FIZZ

1. Château de Chamteloup Crémant De Loire Rosé (£7.99, Aldi)

If you’re on a budget, you can still enjoy five-star fizz courtesy of this Aldi offering. Pulsating with stunning red fruits and roses on the bouquet and offering a stylish and silky palate, this ace traditional method sparkler stimulates your senses and is certain to work wonders if you pour it for your Valentine. At this price, it’s far better than any cut-price rosé Champagne and a splendid partner to a red fruit panna cotta or warm chocolate cake. 100% mouthwateringly perfumed cabernet franc. Great for party hosts. Alc 12%

THE ONLY WAY IS KENT, WINEMAKER VICTORIA ASH

2. Hush Heath Estate Balfour Brut Rosé 2013, Kent (£29.99-£35.99, SimplyWines Direct and Waitrose)

You may well wish to disregard Champagne and favour a bottle from the heart of the Kentish countryside to toast your sweetheart. 2013 marked the tenth spectacular vintage release of Balfour Brut Rosé, a sophisticated elite wine with rather more chardonnay in the blend than pinot that’s alive with summer berry, freshly baked bread and gentle spice flavours. It’s at once fleshy, yet focused and tense – just the amorous ticket for smoked salmon, turbot in a creamy sauce or fishy canapés. Ravishing stuff. Alc 12%

BENCHMARK, MOUTH-FILLING NON-VINTAGE CHAMPAGNE

3. Pol Roger Champagne Brut Réserve NV, Épernay (£34.99 offer at the Co-op and widely available; £22, 37.5cl, The Wine Society)

Pol Roger was just 18 when he founded his Champagne house in 1849. The white foil Brut NV is a vinous bullseye made from around 30 still base wines chosen from at least three vintages (equal parts chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier). All toasted brioche, hazelnut, ginger nut biscuit and white peach, underlaid with soft spices. Spot on for sushi, oysters, cold lobster mayo, scallops wrapped in prosciutto, gougères, fish and chips or Thai dishes. A real standout when I tasted it again recently. Top marks. Alc 12.5%

SYBARITIC ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE SUPERNOVA

4. Taittinger Brut Champagne Prestige Rosé N.V (£35-£37.75 offer Tesco/Waitrose; £21.99, 37.5cl, Wine Reserve)

This graceful, racy and deep pink-coloured rosé makes for a beautifully poised apéritif and is sure to be an outstanding appetiser for your Valentine’s celebrations. It fizzes with wild strawberry and raspberry loveliness; there’s also a bit of spicy/toasty richness. A scrumptious pairing for fruit-based desserts, sushi, dim sum, Cantonese, salty snacks and canapés. They don’t come more seductive than this. An altogether luxurious choice and a very tasty treat for your privileged loved one. Tantalising offer. Alc 12%

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine


 

Win Wines served at the EE BAFTA Film Awards Courtesy of Champagne Taittinger and Villa Maria 

Q: “What is the name of Taittinger’s sparkling wine project near the village of Chilham in Kent?”

On February 18, the stars of the film world will come together to celebrate the best in film at the EE British Academy Film Awards 2018. To celebrate the occasion, we are offering Times readers the chance to win an exclusive BAFTA-labelled bottle of Champagne Taittinger Brut Réserve NV and Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2017 as well as Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2016 – the exact same wines that guests will be enjoying during the BAFTA awards ceremony evening. Champagne Taittinger and Villa Maria’s partnerships with BAFTA pay tribute to their support and love of the arts. Taittinger is the only leading Champagne house to remain owned and actively managed by the family named on the label. Taittinger is widely available, see www.taittinger.com and @TaittingerUK Villa Maria has been New Zealand’s most awarded winery for more than 30 years and remains proudly family-owned. Villa Maria wines are widely available from all good retailers.

Visit www.villamaria.co.nz and @VillaMaria_UK

Send your answers by March 1st to twtcompetitions@protonmail.com

TERMS & CONDITIONS: Entrants must be 18 or over and must provide a mainland UK address and telephone number for delivery. For more information, visit www.bafta.org.

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