ALISTAIR GIBSON: RosÃ© is the key to our hearts this Valentine's Day
Hopefully it's already in your dairy, but in case you hadn't realised, next Wednesday is Valentine's Day. For the restaurant and cardÂ industries it's the year's first important date.
For the rest of us it's the first opportunity to take a step outÂ of the winter blues and think about rosier times.
Rosier is probably the key word here as rosÃ©, andÂ sparkling at that, does, for lots of us, seem to be the wine to go with Valentine's day.
So, with that inÂ mind here is some pink fizz to help you celebrate with your partner.
Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot NoirÂ 2017, Adelaide Hills (Waitrose Â£10.99 down from Â£14.99 until February 20) is an Aussie fizz that is veryÂ frivolous in all the right ways. Very pale pink in colour with a lovely mousse, the bouquet is all about redÂ fruits, strawberries and cherries, indeed its quite easy to think strawberries and cream here.
The plate isÂ crisp with more red fruits and a long, soft finish.
On offer, this is great value, one to keep in the fridgeÂ and maybe not just for valentine's day.
On a slightly more serious note Taittinger Brut Prestige RosÃ© NV,Â Champagne (widely available including Majestic, Ocado and Asda but on offer at Waitrose Â£36.99 from
Â£49.99 until February 20) is gorgeous champagne.
Taittinger is one of the last remaining family ownedÂ prestige Champagne houses and across their range the quality really does shine.
This is a classicÂ champagne blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier and family member Vitalie TaittingerÂ describes drinking the wine as the '˜sensation of having a big kiss of the wine' '“ which seems very fittingÂ for the occasion.
The colour is vibrant pink with a constant stream of fine bubbles, with notes of crushed
strawberries, raspberries and cherries on the nose with a little spice, followed a beautifully harmoniousÂ palate with more red fruit and some zesty acidity before a very long finish.
This is a little more seriousÂ than many rosÃ© Champagnes and would happily work as an aperitif or with a red fruit-based dessert orÂ even perhaps with a delicate salmon dish.
I have long thought that one of the best value supermarketÂ Champagnes is the Co-op's Les Pionniers Brut and now they have added a rosÃ© which will be released onÂ February 12, just in time for Valentine's Day.
Les Pionniers NV RosÃ© Champagne (Co-op Â£21.99), madeÂ for the Co-op by Piper Heidsieck (as is the Brut NV) is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay and hasÂ spent up to four years ageing the cellar before being released.
A lovely bright pink colour with fine,Â persistent bubbles rising in the glass, the nose has red fruits and a touch of orange zest, which isÂ followed by a really mouth filling palate with well-balanced acidity and more red fruits.
This is very goodÂ value given the quality and is another champagne that could easily start the evening or match a salmonÂ dish very happily.