Wine to share with your Valentine, from pink fizz to romantic prosecco

Valentine wines 2017

It’s great that when love is in the air you can buy special treats for your Valentine. Even better, you can buy a treat you’ll enjoy too, which is a win win. Or perhaps it’s wine, wine. Here’s some ideas.

Me & Monsieur Jones 2015 (£15.99,, or £11.99 if you’re one of Naked Wines’ investing Angels, 14% abv) Love was in the air when English girl Katie Jones moved to France to make wine and met and married local winemaker Jean-Marc. This wine is a blend of grenache grapes from his vineyard and old vine carignan from hers. It is deep red, velvety, with lush fruity aromas and soft tannins. It’s as cuddlesome and snugly as your Valentine.

If prosecco is your Valentine’s favourite fizz this one fits the theme. Prosecco Romeo & Juliet NV Treviso (£11.99, or £8.99 in a buy six deal at Majestic, 11% abv) I love the arty label which helps it stand out from the prosecco crowd. The wine has typical aromas of pears and apples and signature prosecco favours. You’ll find cheaper prosecco, but if you want a message of love, it’s all there in the name.

Veuve Monsigny Pink Champagne Brut (£14.99, Aldi, and, 12% abv) This pink sparkler is new in store this week, just in time to turn your thoughts to love. Enjoy a flirtatious evening with this good value champagne which has a shimmer of red berry fruits, a flutter of fizzy bubbles and delicate fresh and dried fruit flavours.

Vin Mousseux Beaumonde Rosé Brut 2015 (£11.99,, 12% abv) Beaumonde Rosé is the pink of a blushing English bride – well, a bride that hasn’t been on the sunbed for hours and hours before the wedding. It is made from grenache grapes grown on limestone just down the coast from the hills of Provence, the home of elegant pink wines. There’s flavours of fresh red fruits and strawberries, together with a wisp of herbs on the nose.

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Lanson Rose Champagne (£28.99, from £34.99 until February 14 at Bargain Booze, 12.5% abv) This champagne is such a pretty rose petal pink. It has aromas of my favourite strawberry tarts, you know the ones; crisp shortcrust pastry, fresh strawberries and a peak of cream. Fresh red fruit flavours tingle with a juicy flash of acidity. What’s not to love.

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé (RRP £58.99, down to £43.99 at Waitrose until February 21, and £44.99 at Majestic in a buy six deal) This extra-special champagne is presented in a 16th-century style bottle and speaks class. It has elegant fresh aromas of red fruits, raspberries and strawberries, and to taste, delicious red fruits dance on the tastebuds, as a peek of cherry emerges from the shadows. Light some candles and enjoy.

Finally for small budgets …. Lambrini has released special bottles of Very Cherry and So Strawberry (both RRP £3.29, 5% abv) and Always Original (RRP £1.99, 7.5% abv). They’re bang on trend for this Valentine season, as they’re festooned in hearts and flowers. The limited editions are in Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Co-op and Sainsbury’s while stocks last.

*First published in February 2017 in over 20 regional UK newspapers including:

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

Wine Diploma Diary: I’m not exactly what you’d call a domestic goddess but …

My wine diploma diary dusting

I’ve turned into a person who’s gone all tidy-uppie.

I’m not very domesticated. It’s a rare thing to catch me with a duster in my hand.

Let me put this into context. Years ago I was the victim of a burglary and I duly gave the list of missing goods to the police.  It was a month before I noticed the thieves had also stolen the Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Another time, at work, I noticed through the newsroom window that it was raining. I said to my work pal Steve “oooh look, it’s raining and I’ve left the washing outside”. He said: “Jane, that’s the most feminine thing I’ve ever heard you say.” I said: “Yes, well. But its been outside a week.”

As I said. I’m not very domesticated.  Dairy cattle are more domesticated than me.

I’ve gone all tidy-uppie partly because its a New Year New Start and all that – but mainly because I want a tidy place and a tidy mind.

I sat on the bed on Sunday and rifled through all the bedside drawers, throwing stuff away, rediscovering forgotten things, finding little memories. A lock of my hair from when I was baby which mum had saved all her life; a Wembley FA Cup final ticket stub from 1947 (dad was there to see Burnley FC  lose in the 114th minute).  Keepsakes from special peoples’ lives all tangled up in a bedside drawer.

Now the precious things are breathing again and the rubbish is in the bin.

I feel better for it. Uncluttered. I suppose its fung suede or however you spell it.

The reason for this sudden domestic diversion? I’m a bit nervous to be honest. I’m due to start my online wine diploma through the  Wine & Spirit Education Trust on February 18. I need to be organised. I need to have a clean desktop, albeit a virtual one. I need to be good at juggling stuff even though as a kid I was always pretty rubbish at playing catch.

I’ve bought diary refills for the Filofax, rediscovered in the drawer and last used in 2009. No matter how easy it is to make notes in the ether, I like writing things down.

I’ve thrown away loads of pens. Pens with no ink tend to be a bit useless at writing things down.  I’ve put all my old WSET wine books in a pile. I need to re-read them before February 18. I can now set myself reading goals in the new diary pages in the Filofax using a pen which has ink in it.

I’m doing the tidy-uppie thing so I can do the keepie-uppie thing with the diploma. I want everything where it should be from the beginning of this impending two-year spare-time odyssey. Yes, I’ll be juggling time and work, let alone space, but it will be organised juggling.

Just don’t ask me to dust.

*I’ll be writing this Wine Diploma Diary as the two years unfold.