Bringing your special someone to an expensive restaurant is always a classy choice, but this can be nerve-racking if you know nothing about wine. While UK households spend £108million on wine per week, according to a report by the Mirror in June 2017, drinking lots of wine doesn’t guarantee knowledge about the grape-based concoction. Do not be nervous though because you only have to master five kinds of wine for you to order a bottle like a professional. This includes white wine, sparkling wine, red wine, dessert wine, and rosé.
Learning about wine is always a good idea whether you have a hot date or not because according to Wine Folly, an online magazine geared towards wine lovers, learning about wine can enhance social experiences, improve your ability to taste and smell wines, and give you confidence in ordering or buying wine.
Red wine is for red meat
It is important to pay attention to what your date will order so that you know what type of wine to pair with it. If he or she orders beef, you can get a bottle of Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon to go with it. If he or she orders lamb, you’d need to pay attention to the sauce. Lamb is a delicate meat, and it takes on most of the sauce’s flavor. If it comes with a hearty sauce be sure to get a medium-bodied or full-bodied wine for it. This can be a Petite Syrah, Malbec, or Cabernet Sauvignon. With veal, you can order a Pinot Noir or be more adventurous by ordering a rosé. For venison, you can get a Chianti.
While the guide above is enough to get you through dinner, it is still important for you to learn more about red wine in general especially if your date is a wine enthusiast. Red wine comes in a spectrum of flavors. There are those that are herbal and dry with notes of cured meats and clay while some have a slight flavor of truffles, smoke, tobacco, leather, or black pepper. Sweet reds come in a range of varieties too. You can order a Freisa or Recioto Della Valpolicella, for example. For fruity, dry reds with black cherry and raspberry notes, you can get a Cabernet Franc or opt for a softer wine such as a Merlot. If you want notes of blueberry, you can get a Shiraz, a Malbec, or a Petit Verdot. Sweet red wine is usually paired with chocolate, but they are excellent with meat and spicy food as well.
White wine is for seafood, white meat, and salads
White wine is usually ordered during lunchtime or when the meal is not that heavy. However, if your date orders roast pork or pork chops for dinner, you can get a bottle of dry Chenin Blanc with it and order a dish for yourself that suits the wine. If your date is eating duck, spring rolls, or salad, you can opt for a Pinot Gris. Salmon, tuna, and shrimp can be paired with these dry white wines. The dry ones usually have a light grapefruit flavour or leave a tinge of lemon on the tongue when drank. Dry white wines can also be a bit grassy such as a Sancerre or a Verdejo. It can also be rich and creamy with nutty undertones such as a bottle of Chardonnay or Soave. If you want floral notes, dry white wine such as a Viognier is a good choice. For a cheese platter, a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc is recommended. Sweet white wines can be off-dry with notes of peaches or apricots or it can be incredibly sweet and refreshing. For honeyed pastries or sweet puddings, a nice bottle of Muscat Blanc is a good choice since the wine has honey undertones. Curries, on the other hand, pair well with a bottle of Riesling.
Dessert wines and rosé
Dessert wines are pretty straightforward. They can be consumed on their own or paired with something sweet. If you want a fortified red wine, you can get a Rasteau, Maury, Vintage Port, or Ruby Port. If you want a white fortified dessert wine. You can get White Port or Muscat de Frontignan. Nutty, off-dry dessert wines are also a tasty choice. Some examples are Oloroso Sherry, Sherry, Fino Sherry, Madeira, Amontillado Sherry, and Marsala. If you want it incredibly sweet with notes of hazelnut, you can opt for a Cream Sherry or a Montilla-Moriles.
Rosés, on the other hand, behave like white wine. Light dry rosés such as Provencal rosés go well with light pasta, light salad, seafood, and rice dishes. Off-dry rosés pair well with raw fish and spiced curries. If you like your rosé medium dry, also referred to as blush wine, you can pair it with spicy food or just have it served for dessert. Pair cheeses such as Camembert, lobster, duck, and tuna with elegant fruity rosés. If you want full-bodied, fruity rosés, you can treat them like red wine since they have bold flavors. They work great with barbecue and spicy food.
Sparkling wines are generally served in garden gatherings or picnics during the summer, but if your date loves sparkling reds, whites, or rosés, you’d need to be prepared with some wine pairing knowledge. Sparkling reds or rosés generally follow food pairing suggestions for their non-sparkling counterparts. To be on the safe side, you can pair these wines with savory dishes. Like their sparkling red counterparts, sparkling white wines go well with food paired with non-sparkling white wine, too. A Classic Cuvee, for example, works well with English game birds, poultry, and fish. If you still feel a bit anxious about ordering wine, you can focus on learning about red wine and white wine since they are the two most basic types of wine. Just remember that red wine goes well with savory dishes and red meat while white wine can be paired with delicate dishes and white meat.