We don’t pop our cork for just any old champagne, we have sipped and slurped our way from some of the best - and, well, worst - sparkling wines on the market to bring you the best sparkler for Valentine’s day.
Ruinart Rosé Champagne, £45, drinksdirect.co.uk
This rose champagne is 45 per cent Cote des Blancs chardonnay, 55 per cent Montagne de Reims pinot noir - and 100 per cent delicious. It fizzes with strawberry loveliness, but doesn’t fall into the too-sweet-to handle category.
Chapel Down Rosé Brut, £17, sainsburys.co.uk
English sparkling wine has been going great guns in recent years, and this rose from Chapel Down shows the quality of what these vineyards can produce. It’s delicate, with tiny little summer fruit-rich bubbles fizzing up the glass. A well deserved recipient of a the International Wine Challenge gold medal.
Krug Rosé Brut Champagne, £190, 31dover.com
If you find this at the bottom of your wardrobe, you can probably guess they are going to propose, and when you taste it, you’ll want to say yes. Your partner has taste - and deep pockets. It is as good as rose gets, a model of balance and clarity, the result of blending several vintages of Pinot Noir (50 per cent), Chardonnay (30 per cent) and Pinot Meunier (20 per cent).
Belletti Spumante Rosé DOC, £5.49, aldi.co.uk (in store only)
This strawberry-tinted spumante is cheap, cheerful and very good value. Barbara Cartland-pink in colour, this zingy sparkling wine – which is largely raboso grape – is light and fresh and ticks all the boxes for a Valentine’s Day tipple.
Bollinger Champagne Rose Non-Vintage Champagne, £24.80 for 37.5cl, amazon.co.uk
Your partner has expensive tastes, but you bank balance does not. What to do? Get a half bottle and pose as the connoisseur. Say things like, this will go well with lobster given its cherry note and tannic finish — you can’t go wrong. If the date doesn’t go well, drink it on your own and pretend you are in Ab Fab.
Pol Roger Brut Reserve Non-Vintage Champagne, £39.09, amazon.co.uk
Creamy, fresh, with a touch of nut and a hint of peach - this is the antithesis of the dry-as-ash throat-rippers we have all suffered over at one point or another. This velvety champagne keeps good company, too, it was the brand served at royal wedding, no less.
Aldi’s Veuve Monsigny Champagne Rosé Brut NV, £13.99, aldi.co.uk (in store only)
Aldi are doing very well for themselves with this champagne produced in collaboration with venerable French house, Philizot, who has made a wine of unusual complexity and style for something at this price.
Billecart-salmon vintage 2006, £59.95, champagnedirect.co.uk
This 2006 vintage is three quarters pinot noir with the rest coming from a nicely balancing Côte des Blancs chardonnay. It is intense and buttery with aquincy flavours that rush across the tongue. A complex champagne which doesn’t want for oomph.
Paladin Prosecco DOC Tappo Spago NV, £10.95, perfectcellar.com
From one of our favourite online wine merchants, there is this light and juicy Italian prosecco with lots of melon and soft lemony flavours. Drink it as an aperitif or do as they suggest and serve with prawns - it is very nice indeed.
Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label, £37.95, uvinum.co.uk
When we can afford it, which is not as often as we like, this is one of our favourite champagnes. It is fresh and complex and expands to fill the mouth in one great rich golden tidal wave. Plus its versatile, being as good as an aperitif as it is with food. Top marks.
Our best buy is the fruity Paladin Prosecco DOC Tappo Spago NV but if we had the money, we’d go for the Veuve Clicquot, the best all-rounder we tried.