heart shaped wine glassSchmoozing with booze this Valentine's Day is a sure-fire way of turning your loved one's knees to jelly. Start by whipping out a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon chilled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit from the fridge, open it (without taking your eye out with the flying cork) before pouring it into elegant champagne flutes.

Unfortunately Dom Perignon is pretty expensive (Majestic's price for a 2006 bottling is £150, although you do get a gift box), so a better choice is a much younger champagne or a champagne blend made from several years production. These are labelled Non-Vintage or NV and are half the price of a vintage champagne made from one particular year's crop, with supermarket own-label bottles starting at around £15.

half bottles champagneBut if you're looking for an under-a-tenner romantic sparkler then your best bet is a bottle of Australian fizz. It'll taste a whole lot fruitier (more pear and tinned peach flavours rather than champagne's lemon and biscuit) but it may not make your loved one swoon if they're expecting the more traditional French stuff. Don't worry, just pop a whole vanilla pod into the opened bottle. Not only will this make the wine taste more creamy but the scent from the pod will increase levels of lust, so I'm told.

Wine is one way of winning over the heart of a British man or woman, but there is a simpler and even cheaper way. Serve a cup of British Rail tea. It worked for Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Only Briefly though, in 1945.

pouring champagnePG Wine Reviews

Babycham Sparkling Perry (75cl)

£3 Asda

Made with pears rather than grapes Babycham isn't a wine, but if you covered up the label many people would say it was. Light, fruity and sweet with a slight fizz, this makes a very acceptable low alcohol alternative at just 5.5%.

champagne frothValdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Extra Dry

£7.49 Aldi

Flavours of banana with lots of light bubbles. Good with food.

Woolundry Road Australian NV Brut Cuvee

£11.99 Virgin Wines

Flavours of apple and peach cobbler with a toasty top. Slurpable.

Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Champagne NV

£16.49 Waitrose (down from £21.99)

Blanc de Noir literally means 'white of black' and is a white coloured champagne made from the dark-skinned Pinot Noir grape. Expect creamy apple, lemon and sesame seed flavours – this will go well with food so a good romantic meal matcher.

Chandon Brut Méthode Tradionelle, Argentina

£16.99 Majestic

Match the nuts and apple flavours to smoked salmon.

Champagne Gremillet Brut NV

£21.99 Virgin Wines

A lemon and appley Champagne.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on MatureTimes.co.uk

Italian flagItaly is the world's largest producer of wine, producing 65 million bottles of it every year. And as about 4.5 million of these are exported to the UK then the chances of coming across an Italian wine in a restaurant, supermarket or garage forecourt shop are extremely high. So it makes sense to understand what you’re getting before deciding to buy one of the multi-million number of bottles available. And the easiest way to do that is to read the wine label.

SPAR MalbecThere's no wine in the house and with only ten minutes to go before the food is ready what can you do? Buying the meal-matching wine from the local village shop or corner convenience store is the best strategy when time is limited.

Chinese takeaway signReceived wisdom says the naturally sweet-sour flavours of German white wines work best with Chinese food. Which helps with the food-wine matching for this Saturday’s celebration of the Chinese New Year, but really any wine you like will match, but a bit of sweetness helps.