A Day of Loving! Thoughts on Valentine’s Day
OK, let’s get one thing straight. I don’t actually like Valentine’s Day. I don’t like the commercialism, the tacky (and potentially fire-hazardous) cuddly toys, or the restaurants that charge double the price for a table ‘cos it comes with a plastic red rose. Humbug…humbug I say…
However, do as I say, not as I do, and to avoid a spell at your local A&E department, it’s probably a good idea to make an effort. Here follows a few ideas on smart bottles that really go beyond mainstream pink stuff and show that you care…or at least like a decent glass of wine.
Champagne should be in the mix somewhere and we use Taittinger here as the quality has always been consistent and erring towards the fuller-bodied style. Their Rosé is fantastic, loaded with all that strawberry/brioche character, and has beautiful length. Pink bubbles are a reliable, if not a safe choice, but this one will make sure you get a really decent glass. Doubtless, you’ll be having a few Oysters as a starter (Helford Natives worked for Mrs Hocking), so bring out the Chablis. Raveneau or Dauvissat are the best producers – more body and elegance. Main course? Well protein man here suggests beef, but that could well be because of all those top-flight Californian Cabernets that work as an amazing match. This year, Moone-Tsai Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon will be the bottle. New to us and loaded with a core of ripe fruit, vanilla, cedar and just a hint of cigar box. Sensational.
Dessert gives you the chance to clean up with something chocolate to “seal the deal”. Not the easiest thing to match with wine but I’ve got a plan. Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles make half bottles of a wine called Obtuse. It’s a Cabernet Sauvignon that’s been late-harvested and has a great deal more residual sweetness than normal red wine. It’s slightly lighter than Port and is just beautiful with chocolate or cream desserts. The other bonus is that it’s a tenner for a half bottle and you can buy it from your favourite (and only!) Californian wine merchant.
One last thing. Don’t forget the card and present. Experience dictates that it’s the kind of thing you only ever forget once…