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Making a meal of it: half bottle challenge!



Hello everyone!

I’ve just seen that Conrad in our Showroom has posted a lovely blog about how he’s creating a Valentine’s Day menu and matching each course to a half bottle so he and his other half can enjoy a better range of wines on Valentine’s Day without worrying about having lots of leftover wine.

I thought this was a lovely idea, and it also led to the discovery we seem to sell 65 different half bottles of wine now! 31 whites (including dessert wines), 20 reds, and some Sherry and Champagne. I had no idea we did that many.

Looking at the selection (and any other halves available elsewhere obviously!) what are your ideas for three-course meals and halves to match? I’d love to hear your suggestions - and maybe I’ll try one of them out for Valentine’s Day! :smiley:

St Valentine Celebrations? [2019]

Oh yeah, um… that’s… totally been my worry too when opening full bottles à deux…


Here’s a more serious suggestion from the list:

First up, a little sherry with some nuts while the cooking finishes:

It’s valentine’s day, so it’s a celebration. That calls for fizz! No pinks on the list, but how about an English sparkler with canapes:

Moving to the table, where strips of smoked salmon lie with blinis and crème fraîche.

Lamb shanks have been simmering all day in the slow cooker. Serve with a red berry jus and a delightful rioja:

What happens next depends on your geographical loyalty. I go with the British way, dessert first.

Maybe some lightly spiced poached pears with a vin de paille

then onto the best course, cheese! No ports on the list, but a strong red for some good hard cheeses:

and finally retire for some cheeky chocolates and a glass of

and the hanky-panky can begin. Or the snoring, I won’t judge.


Probably the snoring with all that booze ! Great line up though :+1:!


Oh, I like this challenge!
My suggestion are:

English fizz – how could you not? – for aperitif.

Seared scallops with bacon and lemon butte with this lovely white Bordeaux:

Fleurie to go with oven roasted chicken with sumac and pomegranate molasses (we love this recipe!):

or, if you prefer white- gentle and spicy Alsatian Pinot Gris, which might just work:

A slice of chocolate and chestnut cake with a little vanilla ice cream on the side and:

And this awesome Sherry with the finest blue cheese:

This is making me hungry. And Quorn schintzels are just not the same… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Oh my, these are some pretty special menus haha! :heart_eyes: You really went all out. If anything I’ll end up consuming more wine, not less. :rofl: That lamb-and-Rioja combo and the scallops-and-white-Bordeaux in particular sound riiiiiight up my street.

I might have to try a combination of these, maybe… all in the name of science, of course. :wink:

Does anyone here actually buy halves very often?!


I would love to buy more halves, but the range of wines available in half bottle, even from TWS, is very limited, and hardly ever includes any wines I’d buy on their own merit (Allegrini’s Valpolicella and Cauhapé’s Jurançon honourable exceptions!).


Challenge accepted - I won’t do as well as the previous submissions, BUT as the non-teetotal half of the marital unit, I am fairly well acquainted with our halves range :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Wine 1:

I know I’m biased, but I love this stuff. I also find we tend to get through halves a bit more slowly than 75cls stock-wise, so while it’s not a foolproof strategy, the half bottles often have a bit more maturity. A canape no-brainer.

Wine 2:

The 09 Arana is a star and I’m chuffed we have some in halves. It’s everything you could want from a traditional Rioja for the £ and the 09 vintage is nice and generous. I’d match its smoky charms with a veggie tagine.

Wine 3:

Sentimental fool alert: the first time I clapped eyes on my better half was when she was performing in a production of As You Like It, so I couldn’t not choose this. But the wine is absolutely sensational as it happens. Sweet but balanced and great with blue cheese, but I reckon Mary Berry’s pear frangipane tart recipe + this would be ridiculous.


As suiko says, I would, but the range isn’t there. We do frequently plump for halves in restaurants which have a good choice - a quality pair of halves will often go with a substantial meal better than one bottle across all, or be more interesting to explore.

At home, halves of champagne are a great discovery. If you find the right merchant then pretty much everything NV is available - Ruinart, Billecart, LP, Pommery, Tatt, Gosset, Veuve… (try Vinatis for all these, Rose variants, and much more) - and these are an ideal size for a glass or two each as a couple if you also want to tuck in to a standard format bottle of still wine (with the option of coravin, stoppers, etc. if not finished). Generally vintage not readily available as halves, or le Grand Siecle, etc., but that’s understandable.


I am veeeery excited about this - following your advice I’ve decided on a special Valentine’s Day meal tomorrow and I’ve chosen a course from each of you! :grimacing::dancer::dancer:

I’m going with:


Because why not?


Scallops with bacon and a lemon butter, a la @Inbar’s suggestion, with this:


Slow-cooked lamb (I’m actually going with this recipe) like @tom suggested, with this:


Martin’s pear and frangipane tart (and yes, I’m going with Maz Bez’s recipe) with this:

Also some blue cheese like Inbar suggested, because CHEESE.

I’ll almost certainly round this off with Tom’s final suggestion: snoring. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Put a fork in and finish off the next day. Never as good value as a whole bottle.