Four Interesting Valentine’s Day Alternatives to Champagne

Having previously worked in floristry, I have Valentine’s Day PTSD. Far from feeling the romance, I associate the celebration of love with long working hours, men frantically trying to find red roses and general anxiety. 

That being said, I do appreciate the opportunity to indulge in the otherwise unremarkable month of February; a month that brings a second round of winter chills, snow-drifts and grey skies. 

Whilst my partner and I will be eschewing the bun fight that is trying to get a table at a half-decent London restaurant, we’ll be using Valentine’s Day as an excuse to stay in and treat ourselves to a bottle of something sparkling. Champagne would be my normal go-to but with the cost of living spiralling, wine experts are advocating more affordable pours this year. With this in mind, I had the hard (!) job of tasting four interesting and importantly – affordable alternatives to champers.

Louis Couturier Crémant de Bordeaux, £12, Morrisons

If you’re yet to discover Crémant, you’re in for a treat. Simply put, it is a category of French sparkling wines produced outside the Champagne region, though using the same production methods. This results in a similar taste and tingle on the tongue to the real deal, without the eye-watering price tag. The Louis Couturier bottle from Morrisons is described as having ‘aromas of lemon sorbet and brioche’ and is recommended as an aperitif, paired with oysters. I loved this bottle, the Crémant was dry, effervescent and extremely drinkable. The branding also elevates the fizz above its £12 price tag; take this as a gift for your next dinner party and the host will be impressed.

Nozeco – Zero Alcohol £3.50, Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Tesco, Waitrose, Coop, Sainsbury

It was with slight trepidation we popped this bottle of Nozeco – was it going to taste like Appeltiser? When the cork exited from the bottle we were met with the satisfying sight of white smoke just like chilled champers – so far, so good. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Nozeco is the UK’s number 1 zero-alcohol option and this pink variety is described as having ‘subtle floral notes with hints of citrus fruit, apple and elderflower’. We were pleasantly surprised –  the floral notes dominated and they weren’t overly sweet. Nozeco tastes like summer in a bottle and I’d happily drink this on a blanket in the park without feeling short-changed by the lack of alcohol. Extra points for the fact the label states it’s vegan too – Nozeco clearly have their conscious consumer cornered. 

Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Brut Rosé, £12 – Ocado 

Another Crémant, this time a pink variation from Calvet, that promised ‘hints of strawberry, biscuity notes, fine bubbles, balanced acidity and a rounded finish’. Having developed a taste for pale pink rosé following a trip to Provence, I was most looking forward to this bottle and it didn’t disappoint. Fruity but not too sweet, the berry notes were delicious and made for a drinkable glass of fizz. It’s recommended this fizz is best paired with Asian chilli, garlic and noodle dishes this Valentine’s dinner. I’ll also be bringing a bottle along to my next girl’s evening when I want something a little more special than prosecco. 

J.P. Chenet Ice Sparkling Wine, £11, Ocado 

Specially made to be served on the rocks, J.P Chenet’s Ice Sparkling Wine has plenty of shelf appeal thanks to its striking white bottle that wouldn’t look out of place in a Mayfair club. At the sweeter end of the scale of the fizz we tasted, this sparkling wine has aromas of white fruit, citrus fruit and almond. Given I prefer my drinks drier, I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and would certainly serve it up again as an aperitif – although I wouldn’t continue to drink this with dinner. Pair with salty nibbles – olives, nuts, and crisps ahead of dinner and enjoy the novelty of a glass of fizz over ice.

Sophie Green

Sophie Green is PR Manager for a designer flash sale website and part-time fashion blogger, having founded her fashion and shopping blog in 2012. Finding a passion for the industry at a young age, Sophie studied Fashion Communications at university and has worked in the industry for over a decade, heading up the PR departments of several fashion and fine jewellery brands. Through her fashion blog she has worked on campaigns with brands including UGG Australia, La Redoute and Headmasters and counts sitting opposite Anna Wintour at the Topshop Unique LFW show as a career highlight! Outside of work Sophie likes to unwind by hitting the gym for a boxing class or ‘researching’ the best G&T’s the capital has to offer. Her fashion obsession is sequins, with an entire section of her wardrobe dedicated to all things-sparkly!