But if you're looking for something a bit different to drink this Valentines Day, we'd highly recommend trying a naturally made wine.
What defines a wine as 'natural' has had the whole of the wine trade in a tizz for the past 5 years or so; it's a sore subject. So I'll simply offer our take and philosophy on it, and leave it there.....
In our opinion, a natural wine is naturally fermented grape juice that comes from grapes that have received no chemical treatments in the vineyard. It is not particularly tampered with in the winery and little, if no additives are used. This includes the use of sulphur (but in our opinion, a little sulphur can be used if the wine needs it No point in ruining a batch of wine just to spite your face, or whatever the phrase is).
Most importantly, a good naturally made wine should not be weird, "faulty" or outright rubbish. It should be vibrant, fresh and interesting. Essentially, it's alive. Sure, sometimes the flavours might be a little bit unconventional, but keep an open mind and a whole new wine tasting experience can be yours.
And just bear in mind; the resurgence of natural wine in the 1970s came not initially from any particular ideology, but from a group of French winemakers who didn't want hangovers and realised the more natural the wine, the less the hangover.......
Here are 4 naturally made wines we'd recommend picking up for your Valentines Day evening. They taste even better if you're in your natural state too.
Raventos i Blanc practice biodynamic farming - a form of organic farming that take into account the phases of the moon. They make exceptional, handcrafted sparkling wines that blows a similarly priced Champagne so far out of the water that you can't even see it anymore.
Peach, lemon rind, apricot and a bready note from extended ageing time. I can't express how much I love this wine (or how much I drink of it).
Another wine from Penedes, just outside of Barcelona, Celler Credo are a project of the best sparkling wine producer in the region, Recaredo.
Made from Xarel.lo, the local grape variety which is similar in style to a dry Riesling. Dry, good acid, a great mineral character and a touch of citrus and spice.
Made by rebellious winemaker Gonzalo Gonzalo, Gran Cerdo means 'big pig' and is dedicated to the bankers who refused Gonzalo a loan when he started up his business.
Biodynamically farmed grapes go into this fun Rioja which is frankly, one of the best value naturally made wines I've come across. Full of dark fruit and spice. You wont see Rioja on the label as Gonzalo doesn't get himself bogged down with trivialities such as paperwork, but it's made smack bang in the best sub region of Rioja from Tempranillo grapes.
4 French winemakers in the 1970s revived natural wine and are now considered the forefathers of modern natural wine The 'gang of four.' Jean Foillard was their protege and is now known as the best winemaker in Beaujolais. His wines are not that easy to get hold of (particularly older vintages) and have a large cult following.
His wines are the antithesis of cheap, astringent Beaujolais. In Morgon, he makes powerful, long lived reds that go brilliantly with food such as steak and chips; you know, Valentines Day foods. Full of cherry, spice and character. A real gem of a wine.