Choosing the wine for your date night(s)
Got a hot date? There’s nothing that says “date night” quite as well as a bottle of wine. But finding the right bottle can be tough. Here’s our guide to picking out the perfect bottle of wine for your next date.
Looking Fresh, Smelling Fresh
It’s a date so the ideal outcome is a kiss at the end of the night (right?). Sadly, some wines aren’t exactly conducive to fresh breath. Overly tannic wines can make your mouth feel dry or ashy, which may make you feel less confident when it comes to smooching time. Additionally, if you plan on drinking more than two glasses of wine, you might want to drink white over red. Too much red wine leads to stained teeth, lips, and tongue… not a great look. Of course, it depends on the quality of the wine, too.
What Are You Eating?
You’re probably going to base your wine order on what will pair best with your entrée or appetizer. That being said, if you’re ordering a bottle, you need to make sure you’re ordering something that will pair well with both of your food orders. That’s easy if you’re both ordering steaks, but a bit trickier if you’re ordering lamb and your date wants a salad with aged stilton. Some versatile wines that go well with many types of dishes include syrah, or reisling. If you’re dining at home instead of at a restaurant, make sure to have at least two wine options in your fridge.
Making a Good Impression
You don’t want to come off as a snob when you’re on a date, but you also don’t want to look like a rube. Order something you can pronounce, without putting too much of an accent on it, and you’ll come off as worldy-yet-earthy. In the event you get a wine that’s corked, be pleasant and polite when you ask for a fresh glass.
As much as it stinks, there are still some people who will judge you as cheap if you order the least expensive wine off the menu (or serve wine from a box). If you want to make a good impression, or show your date that they are special to you, avoid the cheapest wine on the list.
What’s the Occasion?
Is this your first date, or your first anniversary? Are you on a blind date, or are you taking a friends-with-benefits situation to the next level? The tone of your date will influence your budget and your varietal of choice. If you’re celebrating, champagne is the obvious choice. You could also spring for a nicely cellared red from a rare vintage. If you’re celebrating an anniversary, try to get the same wine you shared on your first date, or the wine you had at your wedding. Well, if you remember it!
If you’re on a first date, the wine you choose will tell your date a lot about you. Your choices might make you seem adventurous (wine from a lesser-known region like Hungary), well-heeled (an expensive bottle of, well, pretty much anything!) or easygoing (just plain ol’ Chardonnay or Merlot for me, please). Take some time to think about the kind of image you’re trying to put forward on your date, and pick a wine that supports that image.
You should drink the kind of wine you like, when you like to drink it. That being said, there are some good arguments for picking wines based on the season. A lot of people tend to drink more red in the cooler months, and switch over to whites or sparkling wines in the summer. Spritzers or cocktails may also be the right thing to drink if you’re having a summer afternoon date on the patio. You don’t have to be a slave to seasonality, but it’s a nice thing to keep in mind.
The Bottom Line
Sharing a drink with someone and trying new wine is fun. Dating should be fun too. Pick something that sounds interesting, avoid sounding pretentious when you talk about it, and chances are you’ll find a wine that will make your date night memorable.