Ordering a bottle of wine may be a bit intimidating if you don’t exactly know what you’re doing. There’s a lot of pressure involved, especially if you’re trying to impress your date. How should you choose a wine? “Hmm, $34. This should be fine,” is not the answer. We have some suggestions to make your experience easy and tasteful. With a little of our advice on vino, you can get moving from wine dummy to wine debonair.
First off, are you enjoying one glass for the conversation and a toast, or are you looking for a slight buzz with that cordon bleu? Decide if both you and your date would like to share a bottle of wine (if a bottle’s apropos, then start planning a long walk afterwards or a taxi ride home). Before you grab the list, you must decide on your meal, since that will depict your selection of wine. Let your date decide first and then choose your meal to compliment the color of his or her order. It is the general rule that white wines tend to favor fish and white meats while red wines compliment red meats and red sauces.
A few suggestions to impress and enjoy:
If you’re ordering red meat, a Cabernet Sauvignon is a good choice. Lamb and roasted turkey compliment it as well. Robert Mondavi of Napa Valley, California, makes an exceptional world-class Reserve Cabernet. This wine has tremendous depth with a powerful flavor. The best vintages for this particular wine are 1995, 94, and 93.
A good Chardonnay always honors a delectable white meat. Veal, roasted chicken or turkey, and rich seafood are prime examples. Mission Hill Canadian Chardonnay of British Colombia, Canada, is an excellent wine in its kind and is definitely worth seeking out. The best years for this Chardonnay are 1997, 96, and 95.
Both red and white Pinot Noir compliment fish cuisine. Grilled, baked, or strongly flavored seafood, such as salmon, are a few menu items that will bring out the best of these wines. Calera of San Benito, California, is a premium Pinot Noir. The best years for red Pinot Noirs are 1996, 95, 94 and 92 while the best for white varietals are 1997, 96, 95, and 92.
When your bottle of wine arrives at your table, your server will present the bottle and ask you if it is acceptable (try and hold your tongue because we all know it’s the one you ordered). The Sommelier (wine server) will usually offer it by placing the cork on the table for viewing. Look to see if it is soft or dry and brittle. Dryness is an indicator that air might have entered the bottle and rotted the wine. Also, waft the cork beneath your nose to make sure that it doesn’t smell like vinegar. If it does smell of vinegar (and you will know, trust us), the wine has been contaminated and it is very much socially acceptable to ask for a fresh bottle.
Nex,t the server will pour a small amount into your glass for taste testing. Lightly hold your wine glass by the stem, smell the wine for acrid (musty) odor as well as for a flavorful bouquet. Then gently sip the wine, allowing it to roll around on your tongue. If you like it, set it down and smile.
Here’s an important point to note: Don’t say, “This will be fine.” It is sort of insulting. Instead, tell your date how the flavor and the body of the wine remind you of her… just kidding.
Okay, now you’re a pro! You can order like a natural and drink like a connoisseur. It’s really simple and now you have the wisdom and great taste to make the bottle (and your date) good to the last drop.
Step 1: Bottle or glass?
Step 2: Decide on the meal. (Date first, you second)
Remember: Red wines = red meat, red sauce, lamb, roasted turkey
White wines = white meat, Veal, roasted chicken or turkey, and rich seafood.
Step 3: Inspect cork for dampness (dampness = good, dryness = bad)
Step 4: Sniff cork for vinegar smell (if it makes you jerk back, send it back)
Step 5: Take a sip of the small amount your Sommelier pours for you, and approve (or disapprove).
Step 6: Allow the server to fill your glasses. Toast. Drink. Drink again. Call an Uber.