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The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre

Yes, St.Valentine’s Day is almost upon us again and its colour is pink. Why pink? Pink is a pop singer and synonymous with Gay Pride. The FT is pink and so are salmon. Sydney turned out in pink in honour of Jane McGrath for Aussie fast bowler Glenn McGrath’s Foundation. The Pink Un is a website devoted to Norwich City FC and Palermo FC wear pink on the pitch. Pinks at my old school were worn as a badge of sporting pride. Actually, I never made full pinks at sport and had to content myself with the indignity of half pinks and a pink and white striped tie. So that explains it.

Or not. Pink isn’t even one of the colours of the rainbow, but we’re conditioned to believe in pink as the colour of femininity and romance. Which is why there is no greater gift to the wine industry than St. Valentine’s Day. Such a great gift in fact that producers of rosé are falling over themselves in their eagerness to show their generosity by sharing the gift of pink with us. This year is no exception to the annual bombardment of suggestions of pink-hued drinks and romantic dinners designed to (cue cliché) ‘delight the special one in your life’. Does Mrs Mourinho rush out and buy a nice Portuguese rosado for The Special One? I doubt it, but once a tradition is established, only a Gerald Ratner would dare to dispatch the flamingo that laid the pink egg.

Among the plethora of pink brands on offer, you’ll find Most Wanted Lightly Pink Sparkling Pinot Grigio served in a convenient (but hardly romantic) 200ml can, Romeo & Juliet Prosecco for star-crossed lovers, Paul Mas’ Prima Perla (why?) Grand Brut, Bird in Hand’s Adelaide Hills Sparkling Pinot Noir, appropriately blushing a delicate pink and the one I want:  Pol Roger’s 2008 Vintage Rosé. The company offering the stylish pink Pol points out that since ‘nothing should be left to chance when it comes to wooing a loved one, the forward thinking Lothario buys Valentine’s champagne years ahead’, so ‘if you buy a bottle of fizz now and cellar it properly at home for a few years, by the time you go to drink it, it could be worth a lot more’. Good to know that romance is not dead but just sagely invested.

  

I have been bombarded with the usual tempting ‘bedroom offers’ of complimentary Champagne and chocolates that will, so it seems, ‘guarantee the most amorous of evenings’. There’s just one problem with that and I think you’ve guessed it.  Before tucking into the Champagne and chocolates, you’ve devoured, while gazing into your loved one’s eyes, ‘a selection of canapés, a chicken, cep and truffle soup, a grilled diver caught Orkney scallop, a Pembroke lobster with Thai spices, a grilled sea bass with sea asparagus and white asparagus, a new season Welsh mountain lamb, a boiled egg and soldier and a wild strawberry soufflé’, to mention just one menu. Metro has it about right: ‘sex is not fun when you’re full. It’s active and bumpy and often involves your stomachs touching. If your chicken liver parfait is pressing on your small intestine, it’s going to be super hard to feel sexy’.

  

Even if the romantic gourmet menu is the greatest oxymoron since McDonalds Restaurants, only a curmudgeon could possibly deny the existence of St. Valentine’s Day and an appropriately romantic pink gift to go with it. It’s in that spirit that I heartily (heart-ily, get it?) recommend a good pink read in a new book on rosé wine by Master of Wine Elizabeth Gabay. After a fascinating romp through the history from Noah to Brangelina ‘s Château Miraval, Elizabeth takes us on a journey of discovery, explaining how rosé became trendy and glamorous (and expensive) and that not just ladies who lunch, but even real men, drink rosé today. Rosé, Understanding the Pink Revolution (Infinite Ideas, £30), is the gift that keeps on giving.