Valentine's Gift Buying Guide
The annual day for the romantics among us is nearly here. We're well into the new year and while we've returned to regular routines, we are still looking for those moments that can brighten the week. Valentine's day can be one of those moments. February 14th falls on a Tuesday this year which means it can deliver a little joy to an easily forgotten, drab day.
Now you could book a table at a restaurant, but why not avoid the busyness and expense and have a special evening at home? You can create the ambience that you want with your preferred music and lighting. Make as much or as little fuss as you wish.
When it comes to Valentine's day, there is only really one thing that matters (or at least we think so here at Reserve...). It's not flowers or cards. It's the wine! Finding the perfect wine can make all the difference. If you're making an effort with the food, it is the extra ingredient that can really elevate the experience. It can also enhance even the most ordinary meal - have you ever tried Champagne with fish and chips? Or simple parpadelle in a nice ragu with a glass of sangiovese?
Now when choosing the wines with a partner in mind, the most important thing is knowing what they enjoy. After all, one of the most romantic things you can do is show someone that you listen to and understand them, right? That you've paid attention to what they like and don't like. However, if you're not sure and need a little guidance, we're here to lend a hand.
To help you select the right wine, we've chosen some of our favourite bottles that are sure to hit the spot.
Valentine's Wine Gifts
If you want to choose a special bottle to offer as a token of your love, we have a few ready-made options for you. These can be delivered to your door to save having to rush to the shops on the way home from work and we can add a printed gift message to any orders too - just fill in the box at the checkout.
You can also add a gift box to any of our wines. Take a look at our collection of gift packaging here.
A good idea is to keep it classic with tried and tested wines that offer sophistication and class whenever they're poured. Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre in France's Loire Valley absolutely ticks these boxes. It'll be an ideal match if you're serving up oysters, but is also perfect with creamy goat's cheese
Kate says: "A good Sancerre is still a real treat and this is an example that really hits the spot. There's no finer example of bone-dry Sauvignon Blanc and Daniel Crochet has captured the pure, crisp fruit and limestone minerality beautifully."
A serious treat for any red wine lover, Ca Dei Maghi, Valpolicella Ripasso is an Italian red full of rich, mature red cherries and sweet spices with silky smooth tannins.
Kate says: "What a treat this is. It takes the wonderful Valpolicella from this excellent winery and gives it some Amarone oomph. You get sweet richness in a sleeker and very drinkable red that is sublime with cheese."
To make your Valentine's day extra special, we've chosen two of our favourite wines that will spark a bit of passion and romance with whoever you're sharing with. You'll find an elegant Rosé Cremant sparkling that's all bright red berries and crisp acidity from Loire Valley in France, and a seductive Italian red full of rich plummy, fig and vanilla spice from Puglia. It may sound cheesy, but these really do scream Valentine's Day.
Sparkling wines for Valentine's Day
If you prefer your fizz on the natural end of the spectrum, you'll love this rustic sparkling wine made in the old fashioned col fondo (on the yeast) style with zero dosage, unfiltered and frizzante for a soft creamy bubble. The result is a lighter fizz than other sparkling wines. Lots of citrus peel and green apple combine with refreshing acidity and a beautiful dry finish.
Gorgeous Cap Classique that is worth the price comparison with Champagne, and then some! Discovering quality sparkling wine from other countries almost feels like being invited into a secret club - you don't want to tell anyone so you can keep it all for yourself. South Africa has been home to some of our best recent finds, and wines like this are amazing value if you're looking for a richer, vintage fizz, without the top-end price tag. It has an explosion of golden delicious apples, lime, caramel, vanilla spice and hints of nuts and biscuits. Clean and fresh, it's got firm acidity that's crisp and lingering. It has a soft mousse texture on the palate flavoured with apples and light yeasty notes.
It's definitely worth celebrating our home-grown English fizz too, and this from Gusbourne is our best-selling wine for a reason. It is made from a combination of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier which spends a minimum of thirty six months on lees and three months on cork before released. It has a delicate mousse and aromas of pear, mandarin and orange blossom on the nose. The palate is dominated by citrus and orchard fruit, with ripe lemon juice, orange and pear, alongside stone fruits and hints of ginger. The wine displays notes of freshly baked bread and apple tarte tatin, with a long length and lively freshness on the finish. It just shouts decadence and sophistication and is surprisingly good with chicken wings.
A perfect fizz to enjoy on a special occasion.
Red Wines for Valentine's Day
When it comes to red wine, texture is all important. You're looking for a wine that is rich and velvety. If it feels luxurious and deep with flavour, it's the right kind of wine for the mood. I look to southern Italian wines for examples of this, or French. Places where there is an implied romance throughout their winemaking. Below are few favourite suggestions.
A velvety, fruit packed Barbera. The aroma is vibrant with intense notes of raspberry and cherry. Full-bodied, velvety on the palate with flavours of cherries, prune, but also liquorice and spices. This has a comforting warmth and finishes dry with decent length.
Try with Italian-style sausage and lentils
This wine was created to celebrate the birth of the winemaker's son, a true ambassador of the Lirac appellation. It's a blend of Grenache 60% and Syrah 40%. There's big concentration in the fruit from 80 year old vines and soft complexity from 12 months in oak. Give it a little time to open up and it'll be generous with blackberry and blueberry fruit and savoury richness.
Try this with a steak or grilled lamb cutlets.
A real showstopper. This is a powerful and beguiling blend of Negroamaro and Susumaniello. It immediately entices with an aroma of jams, vanilla, and spices. It has an elegant, warm, soft and round texture with intense fruit verging on slightly sweet and ending with luscious tannins.
To be paired with aged cheeses, grilled meats, lamb, game and spicy dishes
White Wines for Valentine's Day
White wines for Valentine's are all about classic finesse. Chardonnay from Burgundy, Sancerre, Soave all have that class. You can also look to richer wines with more body that have a fuller, voluptuous mouthfeel and flavours that last long in the mouth. Here are some wines that will deliver that sophistication to your evening:
A fresh and expressive Soave, it has classic aromas of white flowers, almond blossoms and a touch of citrus. Rounded, ripe fruit is perfectly balanced by a fresh, clean acidity. Long and fragrant, it has a note of fine, almond pastry on the finish. If you've been bold enough to prepare some clams, this is a great match.
Avesso is a grape variety that is a core component of Vinho Verde blends but is increasingly being used to make really fantastic single varietal wine. This is aromatic and full of character with bright peach, apricot, pineapple and vanilla aromas. Fermented and aged in French oak barrels for 1 year, this is a full-bodied white with a round, ripe palate and layers of complexity as you get waves of fruit and oaky richness before finishing with warm spice. It's a white wine that is refreshing as well as rich and luxurious. It has an element of surprise and you won't know what to expect, but will be delighted with what you find.
Try this with a fish pie.
There is a reason that wines from Burgundy in France are so sought after - they seem to effortlessly exude quality and class. This is Chardonnay for those who've fallen out of love with it. A gorgeously, crisp, fresh, pure, crystalline, minerally, concentrated and intensely-flavoured expression of the grape. Highly recommended and wonderful with all manner of fish but also chicken dishes in a creamy sauce.
Rosé wines for Valentine's Day
On an occasion so full of red hearts and pink flowers, rosé is never far away and it can be a fun or sophisticated choice. Whether you like it softer and sweet or with a bit of Cote D'Azur glam, there's a rosé for you.
On the sweeter end, we have this semi sparkling Moscato that is also lower in alcohol, due to only being partially fermented (all its sweetness is entirely natural, unfermented grape sugars.) A delicious blend of natural sweetness and fizz with crisp acidity thanks to early picking and minimal intervention in the winery, to retain freshness and natural effervescence. In the words of Huon Hooke, "Aussie moscato doesn't come better than this."
A great wine to have with fresh fruit-filled desserts.
A stylishly presented Provence rosé. Subtle and elegant with wild strawberry and citrus fruit on the nose. The palate is clean and fresh with beautiful smoothness and pink grapefruit and cranberry notes. This is the fashionable dry style of rosé that has been taking our summers by storm, and it is just as delightful in February.
A Lugana blend of local varieties including Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera. This is a delicate rosé with tantalising aromas of summer pudding and redcurrants and a refreshing, thirst quenching character. Rosa dei Frati is light pink in colour with a touch of 'onion skin' orange and is perfectly balanced with a lovely refreshing finish. A rosé for adventurers.
Spirit Gifts for Valentine's Day
Not everyone is a wine drinker of course, so you may be more interested in these fabulous spirit gift packs to treat your special someone.
An exquisite sipping rum, made almost entirely from sugar cane honey. A blend of 80% pot still rum and 20% light rums aged for 12 years. Full of fruity and sweet flavours such as banana and toffee and accompanied here by a beautiful glasses and ice mould, making it an ideal gift for anyone serious about rum.
A blend of single malts from the Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries and a unique grain whisky, Nikka from the barrel is married from a selection of different oak casks. At cask strength it possesses solidarity, depth of flavour and a rich aroma of orange and cinnamon spice.
This set includes a portable stainless steel ice bucket and engraved ice tongs. The square 50cl bottle of Nikka from the Barrel fits snugly inside for ease of transportation.
I hope we've been able to inspire your Valentine's evenings with our suggestions and tips. You can find more suggestions in our Valentine's collection or if you would like some bespoke advice, just reach out to us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or jump on the live chat.