If inflated prices for a prix fixe with a choix fixe leave you cold, or attention-seeking PDAs don’t encapsulate your relationship, we recommend giving them the swerve in favour of the less self-conscious, sexier option of (drumroll, please)...staying in. It may seem like the easy option, but you’re not off the hook, we expect you to design your night, to factor in the elements that will show you really know your other half. Plan the things that make your significant other feel, well, significant.
Empty gestures abound at this time of year, but we at Winerist know that invigorating libations, sensual food and an atmospheric setting are the stuff of which memories are made. If you’re planning to declare love, lust or enduring commitment, then that’s far more likely to go well at the sexiest spot in town - in the bosom of your home.
Set The Mood & Take Our Advice
Create a cocoon away from the cold outside, this is the perfect time to snuggle up and share body heat. Plan moody lighting, seductive music, a sensory feast and a thoughtful gift - all with the aim of spoiling your loved one in ways that are particular to their tastes. To relax nerves, tense muscles and the mood, consider and follow the order of our selection of essentials from what we know best - exquisite drinks, sublime food and experience gifts that woo and wow. We’re giving you an early heads-up so you can make your Valentine’s Day intoxicatingly insightful and thoughtful. Take the baton and run. Run, hot stuff!
Champagne Castelnau Rosé NV Gift Box
Bubbles are still the best way to toast your love at the beginning of your evening. Plus, this delicious bottle is presented in a refreshingly-not twee, sophisticated gift box; yet still delivers the romance and pairing versatility of rosé. Champagne Castelnau is located in the heart of Reims, so you’ll be giving and enjoying a premium Brut Rose with a palate that is both delicate and voluptuous, and where the fervent red fruit flavours slowly develop in the mouth. It’s a great accompaniment to a timeless gourmet evening, and your lover can enjoy it while you prepare the night’s menu. Which you have carefully planned, naturally.
How much: £35
Where from: Amazon
Mariage Frères Musical Love-Song Tea Box
If together you’re already a heady combination, or displaying stamina (always a sexy trait!) for an extended Dry January, this musical tea box shows you’ll always make time for tea for two. Born in the city of amour, Mariage Frères is the world’s most exclusive purveyor of luxury teas, and they nail beautiful gift sets that say, “I saw this and thought of you.” As well as making an enduring gift, the wooden box plays a famous extract from Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” so you don’t have to serenade your cherished one (unless they REALLY want you to). It’s filled with 200g of green tea and almond milk with a silver-plated measuring spoon, so you can be virtuous now, and naughty later.
How much: £59
Where from: Mariage Frères
Marks & Spencer Love Sourdough
Whatever you plan to nourish your beloved on Valentine’s Day (we can’t tell you that, YOU know them best, remember?), no matter whether it be ordered-in, a homemade fakeaway or a deluxe menu, make it what they love most. To begin the meal, there’s huge symbolism and seduction in the notion of breaking bread together, being each other’s sustenance, and feeding each other. We recommend this cute, crisp and tasty loaf gently oven-warmed with lashings of soft, salted butter to really make you salivate. Who knows, you may not need any further kitchen time?
How much: £2 for 400g
Where from: M&S, in-store.
Fortnum & Mason The “Exclusively Yours” Hamper
Well, the name says it all really. You’ve undoubtedly seen the iconic hamper baskets emblazoned with the F&M monogram. This year for Valentine’s Day, the home of the last word in taste and indulgence offers you the opportunity to personalise your hamper with your own initials, and shout the pedigree and longevity of your relationship too. Plan a cosy, indoor picnic with soothing and comforting blankets as a prelude to your summer of love ahead. Stuffed with Champagne, cassis, cookies, chocolate truffles, teas, and preserve treats to share, and even a book of contemporary love poetry, your hamper is an intimate gift that will ensure you complete your meal with sweet endings.
How much: £350
Where from: Fortnum & Mason
Domaine Matray Saint Amour 2017
As scarlet is the colour of passion, it’s only right to include a red wine as a component of your evening. We’ve gone for one that’s light enough to match well with white meat and vegetables but voluptuous enough to give an aroma and palate of kirsch and red fruit. Winemakers, Célia, Sandrine and Lilian Matray recommend serving this wine at 13-14°C. Tasting notes identify this Beaujolais Cru as “an elegant and refined wine with good mouth-filling qualities”. “Warming with good length.”
How much: £16.73
Where from: Alpine Wines
Spytail Ginger Rum
For something spicy and evocative of hot nights (perhaps that’s a theme for your feast there?), Spytail Ginger Rum is the way to go. Spytail is a brand new rum with a piquant ginger start and warm honey finish from ageing in Cognac casks. Let’s be honest, most Valentine’s Day gifting is aimed towards women. Not so, here. With its intriguing heritage (the makers are close to the River Charente where the world’s first submarines were built and tested, inspiring Jules Verne and the intrepid spirit of “voyages extraordinaires”) and its handsome and robust bottle, Spytail is a masculine gift of Caribbean rum given flavour and finish at the family distillery in Cognac. It’s the ideal gift for the man in your life, but best for sipping on the rocks with a twist of orange peel as an inflaming nightcap.
How much: £24.99
Where from: Amazon
Disznókő is Perfect for Valentine's Day
There are so many great things to be said about Tokaj, but one word that defines it perfectly and that is Disznókő. The Disznókő estate was classified as a first growth property at the time of the initial classification in 1772 and remains so today. This estate is all about great winemaking. But more importantly, these are delicious, versatile wines - and are great with shellfish and oyster starts, as well as fine chocolate and cheese. So whether you are planning on pairing these with an elaborate meal or serving it with brunch in bed, you are in for a surprise. Plus, there is something rather sensual about seeing your loved one pour a glass of luscious Tokaj Aszù into your glass.
Where from: Lea & Sandeman
Gifts To Build Anticipation
It’s a fact that there are a lot of Brownie points to be earned (and potentially, lost) on Valentine’s Day. That’s a lot of pressure for just one day, so we’d also recommend turning that single day into a gift with endurance. Gifting the one you cherish with that priceless thing - “something to look forward to”, is truly spoiling them in the way they deserve. We’ve picked our favourite sexy experiences for you, so you can book them quick, with a click.