Let’s start with a little history and context: Valentine's Day – also known as Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine – is observed every Feb. 14. Stemming from a Western Christian feast day honoring early Saint Valentinus of Rome, Valentine's Day is a noteworthy cultural and commercial day of celebrating romance and romantic love around the world.
History suggests the first connection with romantic love was with Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when love was very polite, refined, and in fashion. Later in England, during the 18th-century, Valentine became a more common event in which lovers expressed their affection for each other by presenting flowers, sweets, or exchanging romantic cards.
In fact, "Roses are red, violets are blue" – immortalized in song by Bobby Vinton in 1962 – can be linked to Edmund Spenser's epic The Faerie Queene (1590). The modern Valentine's Day poem dates to a collection of late 18th century English nursery rhymes by Gammer Gurton's Garland:
- The rose is red, the violets blue,
- The honey's sweet, and so are you.
- Thou art my love and I am thine;
- I drew thee to my Valentine:
- The lot was cast and then I drew,
- And Fortune said it shou'd be you
Now back to the celebration. Purchasing a valentine gift is a special and, frankly, personal decision, so I will leave that to you. However, you can share the day [and night] with your valentine over a wonderful and romantic beverage. Nothing shouts “romance” quite like champagne, with no style of champagne better suited for celebrating Valentine’s Day than rosé. (Not the cheap imitation faux sparkling wine known as Cold Duck!!)
For one thing, the color is a symbol of Valentine’s Day and rosé fits perfectly. However, rosé trends toward the premium price and is considered more desirable especially when it comes to enjoying with good food, another Valentine’s Day staple. However, for those that want to enjoy a rose sparkling wine made in the same manner as the higher priced varieties, yet not compromise on quality, there are several options. For example, Spain makes a wonderful Cava in the traditional method and is a great place to start (try Campo Viejo Rose Brut Nv Cava for only $13/bottle). For those who want to splurge, a wonderful example of a true rose is Champagne Benoît Lahaye Rosé de Macération — France $54.
However you chose to celebrate, enjoy the time with a loved one! Happy Valentine’s Day.
Nelson A. Barber, PhD is a frequent writer of food and wine and is also known as Dr. Wine!