Schmoozing with booze

heart glassSchmoozing with booze this Valentine's Day is a sure-fire way of turning your loved one's knees to jelly. Start by whipping out a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon chilled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit from the fridge, open it (without taking your eye out with the flying cork) before pouring it into elegant champagne flutes.

champagne frothDom Perignon is pretty expensive (Majestic's price for a 2002 bottling is £110), so a better choice is a much younger champagne or a champagne blend made from several years production. These are labelled Non-Vintage or NV and are half the price of a vintage champagne made from one particular year's crop, with supermarket own-label bottles starting at around £15.

But if you're looking for an under-a-tenner romantic sparkler then your best bet is a bottle of Australian fizz. It'll taste a whole lot fruitier (more pear and tinned peach flavours rather than champagne's lemon and biscuit) but it may not make your loved one swoon if they're expecting the more traditional French stuff. Don't worry, just pop a whole vanilla pod into the opened bottle. Not only will this make the wine taste more creamy but the scent from the pod will increase levels of lust, so I'm told.

pouring teaWine is one way of winning over the heart of a British man or woman, but there is a simpler and even cheaper way. Serve a cup of British Rail tea. It worked for Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Only Briefly though, in 1945.

PG Wine Tips

£5.99 and under

There are a few fruity, slurpable wines among the forgettable masses.

Spar Donacella Spanish Cava Brut

£4.99 (down from £7.19 until February 16th)

Lightly fizzy tasting of brown bread and lime.

Sparkling Mateus Brut Rosé

£5.00 Asda

A straightforward sparkling rosé: strawberry, lemon and digestive biscuit flavours within a lot of froth.

Costs a bit more, but tastes great

Sometimes a bottle of wine tastes so fab it's still a bargain whatever it costs.

Aldi Philippe Michel French Cremant du Jura Sparkling Chardonnay

£6.99

Sharp apple, lemon and grapefruit flavours.

Undurraga Brut Chilean Sparkling

£9.99 Majestic

Simple and quaffable apple and cream flavours.

Spar Marquis Santey French Champagne Brut

£13.29

Crystallised fruit flavours of lemon and orange, plus a touch of pastry. Fruity and versatile.

This article has appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on Mature Times