Valentine’s Day: A half-bottle of Champagne is the perfect way to woo a loved one

Although it goes well with food, an entire bottle can be too much for two people, so think smaller

Virtually every wine shop offers small sizes of Prosecco, but I think a half-bottle of good Champagne is the perfect way to woo a Valentine

The Champenois argue that a magnum is the perfect size bottle for Champagne. Apparently, it ages better than any other format, although you will require plenty of willing friends to share it with. Winston Churchill is credited with the quip that a magnum is the perfect size for two gentlemen to enjoy over lunch – provided one isn’t drinking.

However, with Valentine’s Day coming up, this might be a time to do things by half. A half-bottle of sparkling wine is the ideal way for two people to begin romantic proceedings. Each gets a decent glass of fizz plus a small refill, before moving on to a still red or white. Although Champagne goes very well with food, an entire bottle of sparkling wine can be too much for two people, even if consumed over a meal. You can buy various stoppers to keep the fizz in fizz, although most good quality sparkling wine will last overnight without any difficulty. But they will lose some of their effervescence.

With just two of us sharing wine over dinner, I find myself looking out for half-bottles of all kinds of wine, still white wines in particular, to enjoy before moving on to a full bottle of red. The alternative is to save half a full bottle for the following evening.

There are all sorts of preservation gadgets to use on full bottles, some very expensive, but most wine (red and sweet wines in particular) will keep overnight or longer, especially if you keep them in the fridge. Keep a few empty half-bottles in reserve to store the unused half-bottle.


Until recently it was quite difficult to find half-bottles of any description, and you will pay a premium but several importers told me they are seeing an increase in sales of half-bottles of all styles of wine. Looking online I see Mitchell & Son, JNwine, Whelehan’s, 64Wine and others offer a decent selection, although as Valentine’s Day is next Monday, you might have to visit the shop in person. If you intend finishing with chocolate or some other dessert, a small glass of sweet wine is a lovely way to bring an end to a romantic meal, and most are available in half-bottles.

Virtually every wine shop offers small sizes of Prosecco, but I think a half-bottle of good Champagne is the perfect way to woo a Valentine. As well as the Prosecco featured here, Mitchells has the Gobillard Brut Champagne (€23.95), Mitchell & Son and Le Caveau, Kilkenny, and 64wine have the stylish Laurent Perrier La Cuvée (€30.50). I spotted half-bottles of Taittinger Rosé (€34.99) and Deutz Brut Classic (€28.99), two fine Champagnes, in my local SuperValu, but I suspect they are not available in every branch.

Bouvet-Ladubay Saumur Saphir Brut 2018
12.5%, €13 for a half-bottle
Ripe peach fruits balanced perfectly with a crisp citrus acidity. Lightly textured and showing a little maturity, this is a very stylish, well-priced bottle. Drink solo, with smoked salmon or other seafood.
From: Whelehans Wines, Loughlinstown,

Bortolomiol Extra Dry Prosecco 'Bandarossa'
11.5%, €15.50 for a half-bottle
Rich frothy creamy pear and peach fruits with a nicely rounded finish. Not the cheapest Prosecco but a lovely glass of wine.
From: Mitchell & Son, D1, Sandycove,; and Avoca, Kilmacanogue and Dunboyne.

Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV
12%, €35.10 for a half-bottle  
Much improved these days this is a very attractive Champagne with floral aromas, racy green apple fruits, and a touch of creamy brioche. A great aperitif or with all sorts of fish and shellfish.
From: O'Briens,; Brown Thomas, D2,; selected Dunnes Stores,; and SuperValu,

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage
12%, €39.99 for a half-bottle
A delicious, deeply coloured zesty rosé Champagne brimming with ripe raspberries, blackcurrants and other summer fruits, finishing dry. The perfect way to spoil your Valentine.
From: Dollard &Co., D2,; The Corkscrew, D2,; Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock,;