It is Valentine’s Day tomorrow, so now is the time to get your skates on and plan something for the love in your life.
At this point I can hear a collective groan from anyone who has been in a partnership or marriage for more than five years. Surely you don’t have to bother any more? Yes, you do.
Look at it this way, it is mid-February, the weather is cold, the days are short, and if you do have someone to share your life, your dog, your holiday plans and your bills with, then this is definitely something to celebrate.
At this stage it probably won’t be dinner out at a local restaurant, but you can make it a special day with just a little effort.
All you have to do is to declare that you have dinner preparations under control and get yourself to a supermarket. There are so many meals for two in fancy boxes that you should have no trouble making a decent dinner that you can both enjoy, and if you limit yourself to a single rose rather than two dozen blooms that will be drooping by Monday, you will have serious cash left over for some decent wine.
To select the right wine for your relationship I have devised a series of questions that will determine your level of commitment to each other. High scores indicate a firm relationship and so you should naturally spend more on the wine. Any resemblance to the debate on EU membership is purely coincidental, although the EU could be regarded as equally baffling as most long-term marriages.
Full fiscal partnership: Do you have a joint bank account? If yes, score 10 points, but if you only share household expenses, then score zero.
Movement of families: Have you negotiated just how often his/her mother can come and stay? Yes, score 10 points; no, score zero.
Freedom of travel: Does he/she have to go everywhere with you or can you have nights out with the girls or even the boys? Score 10 points for yes, zero for no.
Benefits: If one of you loses your job, will the other continue paying the bills until you find a new one? Score a massive 50 for yes, zero for no.
Influence in the world: Do you get more dinner invitations as a couple or as two singletons? Score 10 points for lots of genuine coupledom invitations.
Defence: When next-door’s cats invade your garden do reach you for the water pistol together? Score 10 points for yes, zero for no.
Fishing quotas: Can he go fishing whenever he likes? Score no points whatever the answer.
Add up your scores and find the right wine for your evening.
100 points: Clearly you have found your perfect soulmate and so you should splash out on a top-notch fizz. Krug Grande Cuvée, NV is a complex blend of over 400 individual wines. It has style, vivacity and finesse, but you could add to the whole Krug experience by stepping up to the gentle strawberry-edged, spice-tinged flavours of Krug Rosé. There is nothing like a glass of rosé champagne to make a girl smile, whatever her age. Head to Harrogate Fine Wine for Krug Rosé (£235).
90 points: You are in almost-perfect coupledom, and so deserve to pop the cork on a very fine wine. Billecarte-Salmon Brut Rosé is an exceptional rosé champagne. Pale satin pink, with a persistent, creamy mousse, it has perfectly balanced floral and wild strawberry aromas which lead into the taste of raspberries. Find it at Winearray in Boroughbridge, £62 for a full bottle, or buy two halves, at just £32 each – one for dinner and one for breakfast.
80 points: Your partnership really works without being in each other’s pockets. Celebrate with a glass of Bollinger Brut Rosé (Waitrose currently on offer from £54.99 down to £43.99 until Monday). It is pale peachy-salmon in colour with a definite scent of wild strawberries and a precise balance of acidity, perfect as an aperitif, to be enjoyed with nibbles of salmon, and king prawns.
70 points: Some work is needed to achieve perfect harmony, but you still deserve a classic glass of champagne. Choose Laurent Perrier Cuvée Rosé (Waitrose on offer from £58.99 down to £43.99) for a deep salmon-pink colour, terrific fruit character and a rounded creamy palate ending with a light touch of spice.
60 points: Maybe it is time to have that conversation. Don’t invest too much in this relationship, nor in the wine, although the flavours need to be good. Try the bright, fresh fruit flavours of Oudinot Brut Rosé (Marks & Spencer, down from £28 to £23 until March 7). Such great value and flavour might just re-ignite that spark of love.
50 points and fewer: You are not so much in a relationship, more like sharing a living space. I suggest you both go out and buy your own bottles of wine and enjoy them side-by-side on the sofa. Just so there are no leftovers to negotiate for, try a half bottle of Lanson Brut Rosé (Waitrose £17.99). Alternatively head to Harvey Nichols where they have a range of 200ml taster bottles of champagne, such as Moët et Chandon at £14.75. Buy several if you spend a lot of evenings on your own.
And for single girls, if tomorrow’s celebrations are good but didn’t end with diamonds then just remember that it is February 29 in two weeks time. Even in these egalitarian days it is good to have an excuse to do the asking!