Somehow it’s already February, so there’s no time to lose if you’re planning a Valentine’s Day celebration. Nowadays, many of us choose to stay in, rather than go out, on February 14th. That’s because so many restaurants tend to be crowded and commercialised on this date. There are often limited/themed menus – and higher prices, too! So, it’s easy to understand why preparing a delicious dinner at home, accompanied by a bottle of something special, is such an attractive option.
There are a few rules to follow when pairing food with wine, if you’re keen to create a meal to remember. But whichever wines you select, storing and serving them at the correct temperature is vital. Your regular fridge simply isn’t designed to do this, which is why a specialist cooler is a genuinely worthwhile investment. Read on to discover product manager Luke’s romantic wine round-up – and his corresponding wine storage recommendations.
Featuring four programme functions and finished in a sleek stainless steel, our Sense Premium Wi6150 Undercounter Dual Zone Wine Cooler can store up to 44 Bordeaux-style bottles – more than enough for several months of romantic dinners!
Oysters and Champagne is an iconic pairing that’s hard to beat for a Valentine’s Day starter option. In fact, the latter is a classic pairing for all types of seafood. Where oysters are concerned, it’s all about the umami. While it doesn’t sound remotely romantic, this distinctive taste category is one of five basic ones, which are detectable to human taste buds. Research suggests that the yeast in Champagne and the muscles of the oysters combine to create a complimentary synergy of umami that significantly enhances the taste of both.
The ongoing cost-of-living crisis means most of us are keeping a close eye on where we spend. But you really don’t have to bankrupt yourself to buy a bottle of decent bubbly. Tesco Finest Premier Cru Champagne scoops numerous awards every year and is priced at £23. But whatever Champagne you invest in, you’ve wasted your money if you don’t store and serve it correctly. So don’t skimp on a dedicated wine cooler. Not only will this appliance ensure the right storage temperature but it will also guarantee constancy.
Fluctuations of heat and cold will damage all good wine, and Champagne is no exception. I recommend investing in our new dual temperature Wi6155 wine cooler. It features state-of-the art functionality and has ample room for 44 bottles, including Champagne. You can even dim the brightness inside the cabinet – ideal for a romantic night in when low-level lighting is required.
The quality/price ratio of Tesco’s own-label Finest Premier Cru is amazing. Just make sure you store it properly! Our new Sense Premium Wi6155 Undercounter Dual Zone wine cooler incorporates four programmes and four light functions, including chic white LED lighting. A charcoal filter helps to purify the air and protect the corks from damage, and this model comes in a super-stylish black glass finish.
Oysters aren’t for everyone so a great alternative for a Valentine’s Day dinner is scallops. They’re less expensive than oysters, and are quick and easy to prepare – literally minutes from pan to plate. Searing scallops enhances their sweetness, and makes them a match made in heaven for a good white burgundy.
I’m a big fan of Puligny-Montrachet, and Saint-Aubin is worth exploring too. However, Chablis is often a far more purse-friendly option. I always enjoy the Jean Chanussot Chablis from Waitrose, priced at £16.99. If your kitchen is compact, our new Sense Premium Wi3155 Undercounter Single Zone wine cooler would provide a great storage option. Measuring just 295mm wide, this slimline model features four programmes, including eco, which saves energy by automatically switching lights off when the cabinet is not in use. And it looks as good as it chills, thanks to chic touch controls, an on-trend black glass door and a beautiful LED display.
A great match for seafood and shellfish, Waitrose’s Jean Chanussot Chablis is a classic composed from several terroirs. Keep it perfectly chilled in our new Sense Premium Wi3155 wine cabinet. Small but perfectly formed, this single-zone model can hold an impressive 20 bottles of wine with a charcoal filter and white LED lighting.
For meat-eaters, steak remains a popular main course choice for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. Keep things simple with a pan-fried sirloin, or roast a fillet in the oven with a delicious Dijon mustard crust. Buy the best full-bodied red you can afford to accompany it. And remember, the fattier your steak, the more robust your wine should be. Merlot pairs well with many different types of red meat. Try Laithwaites’ Pattes Noires Merlot 2019, priced at £11.99 (or £10.49 when you mix 12 bottles or more). Made by a multi award-winning cellar in the tiny Côtes de Céressou region, it’s ripe, silky and packed with juicy red and black fruits.
This moreish Merlot has won no fewer than three gold medals, and takes its name from the black-pawed vixen that features in the Fontès village legend
Many people mistakenly think that a wine cooler is for bottles of white only. But that really isn’t the case. It’s true that serving temperatures can vary significantly. For example, for rosés and whites, 8-14°C is optimum, while full reds require 16-18°C. For sparkling wines it’s 6-10°C. However, all wine – red or white – should be stored at around 12-14°C. So, if you enjoy drinking a variety, a multiple zone wine cabinet can accommodate everything.
Luckily, we have more than 50 wine cabinets to choose from, single and dual zone, undercounter, in-column and freestanding. If you need to store both red and white, our Sense Premium Wi6161 would be perfect. This high-performance, dual-zone wine cooler includes clever no-frost compressor cooling technology, and can accommodate 750ml Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne bottles. Its aesthetics are an added bonus, as this cabinet incorporates a bespoke furniture door which can be matched to your kitchen cabinets.
Of course, these days not everyone eats meat. If your Valentine’s Dinner is a vegetarian or even vegan affair, you’ll need to serve wines that fulfil that criteria too. Pasta is a perennially popular option, and can be jazzed up with tasty ingredients such as avocado, tomato and lime. Make sure that you pair acidic foods with acidic wines. I like Whighams’ Famille Hugel Classic Vegan Riesling (£19.95), a dry, refreshing pour with a rounded palette.
With a temperature range from 5° to 18°C, our Sense Premium WC6100BS wine cooler would store this perfectly. This single zone cabinet has ample room for 30 Bordeaux-style wine bottles, housed on beautiful sliding beech shelves. We have designed this model to emulate the distinctive style of our ovens – and the new on-trend matt black colour-way!
No romantic Valentine’s Day dinner would be complete without a deliciously decadent dessert. For most of us, that requires chocolate! A rich, chocolate pudding is the perfect way to end a celebratory meal: think mousse, cheesecake or fondant. In general, lighter dessert wines such as Sauternes and Moscato work well with lighter chocolate puddings. Richer wines such as Tokaji – or even a fortified one – complement darker, denser recipes.
Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Sauternes (£12 for 37.5cl) is always a great go-to pudding wine. Lusciously sweet, but not cloying, it features a crisp, fresh acidity that works well with all sorts of desserts, from chocolate to cheese. Ideally, Sauternes needs to be stored at around 12°C, and our Sense Premium Wi3150 Undercounter Wine Cooler would be perfect for the job. This single zone wine cabinet is another excellent option for smaller kitchens – or if you just don’t drink a lot of wine. It can even convert into a can chiller using optional glass shelving.
Discover how the award-winning blogger used Caple appliances and sink/tap to create her dream kitchen.
Read our exclusive interview with Made in Chelsea star Tiffany Watson who chose Caple appliances and more for her kitchen makeover
Discover Great British Bake Off finalist Alice Fevronia's stunning Caple kitchen makeover & which high-performance appliances she chose