Putting the fizz into lurve

Excellent South African bubbles
Excellent South African bubbles
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SOUTHSEA GREEN: Planning for the new season

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Wine for Valentine’s Day is all about bubbles, isn’t it?

Of course there are choices after that to consider: should it be pink or white, English fizz or maybe Prosecco? Or is it to be eye-watering, bank-breaking top end Champagne or a cheeky little Cava?

Crushed red fruits and spices

Crushed red fruits and spices

So here are a few thoughts trying to cover all bases.

South Africa is not well-known for its fizz, but Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV (Majestic £11.99 but £10.79 if part of a mixed six) is lovely sparkling wine from a producer who is really producing some of the Cape’s best fizz.

It is such a pretty colour, pale salmon; there are crushed red fruits on the nose, followed by a lively palate with a nice balance of fruit and acidity.

This is really very good and it’s hard to think of a sparkling rosé that at this level delivers quite like this wine.

Codorniu ‘1872’ Vintage Brut 2012 Cava (Waitrose £7.99 on offer from £11.99 until February 16) is simple, fresh fizz which is great value at this price. Biscuity with lots of fresh citrus notes and a nice mouth feel. It’s the sort of bottle you should have in the fridge in case anyone drops round.

If you are going to push out the boat then my current favourite rosé Champagne is Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosé NV (from £48.99 Waitrose, Majestic, Ocado, Asda) which is all about crushed red fruits and spices and a creamy finish.

Then there’s Bollinger Rosé NV (widely available and on offer at Waitrose at £43.99 from £54.99) which for my money is currently the best NV rosé Champagne on the shelves – rich red cherry fruit and real structure and weight.

I haven’t forgotten English wine.

I’ve been busy working on a tasting of Hampshire wines in which anyone can take part.

Admittedly it’s after St Valentine’s Day but it promises to be lots of fun.

Virtual wine tasting and how you can participate.

On Thursday (February 18) I shall be hosting a unique event for Hampshire vineyards, a virtual wine tasting in which anyone can take part.

It will feature four wines from four Hampshire producers.

They are: Danebury Madeleine Angevine 2013; Exton Park Rosé Brut NV; Hambledon Classic Cuvée Brut NV, and Meon Hill Chardonnay Brut NV.

The tasting will be part of the weekly @EmsworthHour on Twitter between 8pm and 9pm and all the producers will be involved.

If you want to take part then log on to twitter and use #EmsworthHour.

If you do participate you can buy one or all of the wines above and taste with us, sharing your thoughts.

You will be able to question the producers and take part in a more general discussion about Hampshire vineyards and the excitement that is building up on the South Downs.

Thanks to The News for supporting this idea and the Blue Bell Inn, Emsworth, for hosting it.

A full list of stockists of all the above wines is available on the vineyards’ websites.