Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Be My Valentine

Normally I head a mile from marketing hype encouraging us to big it up for certain occasions and Valentine’s Day where you can’t miss the marketing telling us to invest in chocolates and fizz for loved ones, preferably something pink, should be no different.

But I have a confession to make. It’s my anniversary, and some years ago my romantic fate was sealed by a shoe box containing a bunch of white freesias and a bottle of Pol Roger champagne, left anonymously on my desk.

I was then a TV researcher, and in a production meeting had opined that proper champagne and an armful of white flowers was the way to a girl’s heart. They were.

Fast forward down the years, we’re still together and Pol Roger still does it for me (find it at Majestic £42.00 or £37.00 when you buy two). On the dry side, with a very fine mousse of bubbles, it’s a delicious mouthful. If you have to go pink, then my choice would be Billecart Salmon Rose – and with this why wouldn’t you. It’s pale pink, raspberry scented, elegant and beautifully made by a family firm. Harvey Nichols in Leeds has it in a gift pack or search the internet for the best deal, but expect to pay upwards of £45 a bottle.

But for the best deal in terms of choice and quality from small and medium producers,  I’d now head to the Champagne Warehouse, a family company run out of Boston Spa which has a fabulous choice of sparkling wines and champagnes, all personally sourced. Plenty of choice around the £25 mark, and if you call them, they’ll make suggestions when you tell them the style of wine you like.

Their good value crowd pleaser, Triolet Brut, which is light fruity and easy drinking, was served at their stall at York Food Festival.  At £18.99 a bottle it’s great value – and the producers also sell grapes to Billecart Salmon.

Want an off  piste gift? Flourish and Prosper’s Sean Welsh has put together a fun box of six wines for £50. Amongst the bottles are Passion Has Red Lips, a Cab Shiraz from Some Young Punks in Oz, St. Amour, Cru Beaujolais from France and Pasion de Bobal, from Utiel Requena in Spain, described as having a passionate and intense heart. You get the picture. Knowing Sean the wines will be delightful and interesting – and probably preferable to just one bottle of champagne. Wouldn’t fit in a shoe box though.