Choosing Wine on a First
by: Neil Best
First dates are nerve wracking enough without having to worry about what wine to choose to impress your new friend!
One of the great things about wine on a date is that one bottle is a defined amount, normally about five glasses. If shared equally it is unlikely that you will fall off your chair drunk after half a bottle of wine!
However, there are some other social sins that can be committed whilst choosing wine on a date.
First, you need to decide whether you want white, red, rosé or sparkling wine. This is perhaps the most important decision. As a general rule, red wine is more of an acquired taste and it can be harder to select a good red. Therefore, when you do not know your companion's tastes it may be wise to steer clear of the red wine section.
Sparkling wine can make you appear a little pretentious or if you go for a cheaper version, a tightwad; so this is usually best avoided. If you are not sure whether your companion likes wine at all, rosé wine is often a safe option as it often lacks the sharpness that people commonly dislike in wines.
How Much to Spend?
Remember more money doesn't always mean more quality. If you are very new to wine, go for a house white. A house white is unlikely to be extremely imaginative or unusual, but is almost always perfectly drinkable. For this reason it is a safe, middle of the road option.
If you want to impress, look for something other than the house white. Keep away from extremes until you know your companion a little better, so don't go for bone dry whites. Instead, opt for a fruity dry wine that appeals to those who like both dry and medium whites.
Whilst neutral wines may seem like a bit of a cop-out, bear in mind that you simply want a drinkable wine that does not offend.
If you are really not sure what to choose, why not offer your companion a choice of glasses as an aperitif while you have a beer or spirit. This way you can judge your companion's taste. Even if they select a spirit, you can still get a measure of whether they prefer sweet or dry wines.
Of course, you could always give your companion the choice…