How to Choose Wine for a Date

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How To Choose Wine For Events

How to Choose Wine for a Date

Let’s face it: the dating scene is competitive. If you ever needed to make a great impression, now’s the time.

One surefire way to amaze your date? Know your wine. When the one you recommended perfectly complements the meal, your date will know you’re a keeper.

4 steps to match wine to your food when you’re eating out

Follow these four steps to ensure you’re making the right choice for you and your date.

1. Strive for balance by achieving contrast

If you’re ordering rich food that is high in fat, cream, butter, or things like them, you’ll want to order a strong, high-tannin wine to balance out the food. The dryness of the wine cuts the richness of the meat, and the richness of the meat cuts down on the astringency of the wine.

When in doubt, remember that the taste pairings you’ve heard about all your life – salty & sweet, acid & salt, fat & acid – apply to wine too. You don’t want to pair bitter wine with bitter food. You want to aim for contrasting flavors that complement each other on your palate. Creating contrast can help you achieve that critical balance we just mentioned.

2. Cost equality

Although there are a lot of inexpensive wines that taste great, when you’re out on your date and making the best pairing, you’ll want to equate the cost of the food with the cost of the wine. If your date orders an expensive steak, now’s not the time to recommend the $10/bottle special. Upscale your choice to match your date’s taste.

3. When in doubt, choose flexibility

If you just aren’t sure what bottle to choose or you want to pick something that will go with both your chicken and their braised short ribs, aim for the flexible wines. For reds, that would be ones with good acidity like Chianti, Pinot Noir, or Zinfandels. For whites, that would be a Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc.

4. The sommelier is there for a reason

It’s the sommelier’s job to help you make the right pairing so you enjoy your entire dining experience. If you have questions about what things go together, just ask. Better that than trying to look like an expert and making a horrible pairing that leaves a bad taste – literally – in your date’s mouth.

How to talk about wine on your date

By the time you sit down for your meal, your date likely knows that you’re not a sommelier. You’ll want to remember that too when you talk about wine on your date.

Know your vocabulary

While this concept might bring flashbacks to second grade spelling tests, stay with me. The first thing you’ll want to master before you talk about wine is the words people most commonly use to describe wine.

Here’s a great glossary often of the most commonly used wine descriptors. This will likely be all you need to speak confidently about your wine.

Know when to pull the cork off the bigger vocabulary

If you find yourself on a date with someone who already possesses some extensive wine knowledge, you might want to be armed with more than just those ten basic words. For those times,here’s a longer list of adjectives to help you have a great discussion about wine.

Understand the challenge of describing wine

No matter how many words you have in your arsenal, you have to remember one tricky point: you’re trying to describe the flavors of something that fundamentally tastes different to each person. That’s a real challenge.

Think about discussions you’ve had about art. If you and a friend are looking at a painting, you may receive the painting very differently and have varying reactions as to whether or not you like it, but fundamentally you are looking at the same picture.

When it comes to wine, you’re tasting the same thing, but you have no idea what the other person is tasting. You can only describe what it tastes like to you. What does this mean for talking about wine on a date? Just try to be diplomatic with how you’re describing your experience with a wine, remembering that your date may have had an entirely different one.

3 tips for choosing wine that’s appropriate for a date

If you’re eating in and want to pick the perfect bottle of wine for your date night, consider these tips to make the right choice.

Choose wine you know

Date night is not the time to experiment with a brand new wine that you’ve never tasted before. Nothing can kill a moment – or a meal, or an evening – faster than a funky wine that doesn’t go with anything or even taste all that good on its own.

Go with something that you already know you love. If this isn’t your first date with this person, then go with something you know they love too. If you really, really want to try something different, then try it out yourself before you buy it for the date. Make sure that you like it before you present it to your date or serve it to them.

Go the extra step and personalize the wine label that evokes something your date loves. Are they a dog person? Or maybe they’re a die hard Indiana Jones fan? By customizing the wine label you can show you’re the person who is willing to go a little further to make your date feel special.

Choose wine that goes with the meal

If you are cooking the meal and buying the wine, make sure you choose something that goes with your food. See our tips in “Matching Wine When You’re Eating Out.” You can follow the same ones when choosing something complementary to your meal at home.

If your date is bringing the wine, let them know ahead of time what you’re serving so that they know what to buy. If you don’t, you risk embarrassing your date if they show up with a heavy red and you’re serving fish, or a light white and you’re grilling steak.

Choose wine that goes with the tone of your date

All the attention to wine at a meal tends to go to the food pairings, but don’t forget to consider the tone of your date and choose a wine that complements it.

Is this a first date? Choose something more neutral in flavor tones so that you both might enjoy it. Is this an anniversary? Choose a sparkling wine that has a more celebratory feel. Is it a casual night in? Choose a wine that evokes a memory that you share. Maybe it’s a bottle you drank together before and loved, or maybe it’s from a winery that you visited together.

Choose a wine that makes an impression

Dating is intimidating enough. Don’t let the prospect of choosing the right wine add enough more stress to it. Browse our selection of customizable wines to get you started thinking about the right wine for your date.

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