Forget pink champagne and the usual cliches: with 51% of us now not in a relationship, isn’t it time for a Valentine’s Day rethink?
By the time you read this, I should be in the depths of the Cork countryside, having escaped the fluffy pink world of Valentine’s Day. Having lost my husband recently, it feels especially poignant this year, but more for the symbolism than the reality. My late husband, consistently loving for the other 364 days of the year, never had much truck with being told to make romantic gestures on the 365th.
I’m guessing a good many of you are in a similar position (51% of the UK population is single, according to one report last year, though that does include unmarried cohabitees); for you, too, it may well be a normal, schmaltz-free weekend.
So what are we going to drink not to mark it? Well, there’s a good argument for treating yourself to whatever rocks your boat, whether that’s a quarter-bottle of champagne, a good glass of sherry or a favourite bottle of whisky, on which latter score Ardbeg’s Corryvreckan (57.1% abv) would do nicely: Masters Of Malt has it for £64.86, The Whisky Exchange for £66.65). You should love yourself, after all.
If you’ve never tried PX sherry, now is as good a reason as any. A 50cl bottle of the wickedly treacly Gonzalez Byass Noe Pedro Ximénez (£17.99 General Wine Company and other indies, £19 Waitrose; 15.5% abv) is a revelation. And, if you feel that’s a bit pricey, Morrisons has a very decent one in its Signature range for £6. You can also get dry versions of PX: the latest 2015 vintage of the aromatic Mayu Pedro Ximénez Single Vineyard (£8 Sainsbury’s; 13% abv), from Chile’s Elqui Valley, for example, would be delicious with a veggie curry.
If you’re a bit of a pinot fan, as I am, a bottle of the headily floral Escarpment The Edge Pinot Noir 2014 (13.5% abv), from New Zealand’s Martinborough region, makes similarly priced burgundies look mean. It’s £13.49 at Booths, £13.99 at the Oxford Wine Company and £14.99 at Waitrose, which often seems to be more expensive than the indies these days.
And if you’re having friends or family round for a roast tomorrow, to avoid the day together, why not go for a ribera del duero rather than a rioja, for a change? I really like the gratifyingly smooth, supple Ferratus Ribera del Duero 2008 (£19.99 The Guildford Wine Company, £22.70 Spirited Wines; 14% abv); again, if that’s too dear for your tastes, Aldi has a good one in its Exquisite range for just £5.99 (13.5% abv) that you can now also buy online.
And me? Well, I’m anticipating St Paddy’s Day by a month and hoping for a cracking glass of Murphy’s in some fantastic Irish pub. Sláinte!
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