There are several stories relating to the origin of Valentine’s day, the most recognised being the story of a Christian saint named Valentinus. He was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were at this time persecuted under the Roman Empire.
Legend has it that during his imprisonment he healed the daughter of his jailer and before his execution wrote her a letter which he signed ‘Your Valentine’. Today we celebrate Valentine’s Day as a celebration of romantic love, using the day to show our affection and appreciation for that special someone in our lives.
This year, whether all you can manage together is a fish and chip supper, or a six course spectacular, why not make the evening extra special by enjoying something sparkling together?
Prosecco has had a huge revival in recent years, the Italian sparkling wine is now widely seen as a cheaper alternative to Champagne but without compromising on quality. It is easily found in Supermarkets and restaurants alike, and is worth spending a little extra on a bottle to enjoy a greater depth of flavour. The acidity in Prosecco makes it a great pairing for cheese, and the nutty, almond flavours will especially complement cheese like Gruyère. Perhaps you could enjoy with a cheese course at the end of your meal, or even with a romantic sharing fondue!
If you want to go for a classic Champagne, you can’t really go wrong with Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut. In its distinctive bottle, this Champagne is not too dry and so will suit most palates, with pleasant notes of fruit and vanilla. It is best suited to delicate flavours which are not too overpowering, so perhaps a light seafood linguine, or a brioche bread and butter pudding dessert to enhance its creamy finish.
To make things extra romantic, why not enjoy a rosé Champagne to add a touch of pink to the occasion? Rosé Champagne is often more versatile, and has the convenience of being able to take you through from starter to dessert. There are many on the market ranging in colour and taste, however Laurent Perrier Rosé really does tick all the boxes. Salmon pink in colour, precise and very crisp with intense fruit flavours of strawberries, raspberries and cherries, even the bottle looks expensive! Served very chilled with smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés, duck breast, or wafer thin slices of Parma ham.
If your sweet prefers things more sweet, and Champagne is generally too dry, try a sweet Champagne such as Laurent Perrier Demi Sec, with its aromas of dried fruit, almonds and hazelnuts, it is a delicious alternative to traditionally dry champagnes, but with all the quality you would expect for the price. Team with desserts such as almond panna cotta or apricot crumble to bring out the toasted aromas.
If you are really out to impress, there are some fantastic prestige Champagnes to choose from such as Veuve Cliquot La Grande Dame, Krug, Laurent Perrier Grand Siècle, and all offer outstanding quality and taste, however taking into account price, consistency, taste, and the all important recognition of the label, you cannot go far wrong with a bottle of Dom Perignon. I mean, who can argue with a monk who loves Champagne? It is a bold Champagne with aromas of cream, oak and peaches, with a gloriously long finish, and you can really taste the quality. One to be savoured and enjoyed slowly with a perfect pairing.
Due to its flavours this Champagne matches beautifully with strawberries (how romantic!) shellfish such as lobster if you are really looking to splash out, or fish if you want to make that fish and chip supper extra special. It also goes really well with a big diamond ring…
Have a lovely Valentines Day.
All wines are available at Waterhead Boutique Hotel on the shore of Lake Windermere, close to Ambleside.
- Written by: Lindsay Price, Deputy Manager at Waterhead