When it comes to matchmaking in the world of dating, there’s more to it than just the person you’re paired with. On a date, there are various different rules of etiquette to take into account, and many of these relate to the dinner table. But what about wine pairing? Wining and dining is a normal part of the dating scene, so sometimes it’s best to know your stuff.
Why does it matter?
Many of us enjoy a glass or two on a date to calm our nerves but, in some cases, the wine can be a big part of the main event. If you’ve chosen to go somewhere a little more up-market, it’s expected that you’ll have at least an idea of what you’re doing.
It can be cute in your early twenties to just laugh and ask for the “house” wine, but as you get older, it’s impressive if you can show off!
Our table manners say a lot about us, and in this generation, we love to know as much about our partners as possible – we use websites like Badoo when dating to pre-qualify our partners and their ages and interests, but in person, we can get an even clearer idea!
Which wines work best with your food?
Many fine-dining establishments will employ a special wine waiter that you can ask for advice, called a sommelier, and of course, you can ask for their recommendations – they will often give these freely. However, it’s still worth knowing your stuff at least a little so that you can keep up.
A lot of people think it’s about the kind of meat or other ingredients that you’re eating when actually it’s about the way it’s cooked. For example, a creamy chicken dish goes well with a smooth and dry white such as a chardonnay, but a spicy chicken curry might be best with an aromatic white like a Pinot Gris. In general, though, red meats do deserve a full-bodied red.
Fish usually goes best with white, but not always. Lean, flaky fish calls for a zesty white. Medium texture fish might go better with aromatic medium-bodied whites, or oaky full-bodied whites instead. If the fish is meaty, like salmon or swordfish, a full-bodied white is perfect. But when it comes to strongly flavored fish, you could be better with a red!
And when it comes to dessert, you’ll want them to be sweeter than the food you’re eating, or it won’t taste sweet in contrast at all.
How do you taste wine properly, anyway?
So, you’ve chosen the perfect wine to look like you know what you’re doing at the dinner table – they may well ask you to taste it before you commit.
Firstly, the waiter will probably pour a little into the glass, which you’ll hold by the stem (holding the bulb warms it up and distorts the flavor). Note the way it looks, its aroma, residue, the things you’ve already been eating – giving the wine time to “breathe” – and if you’re happy (which you should be providing it doesn’t smell musty or like vinegar), you can then swirl the wine and take a sip.
Let it linger in your mouth, then let some air in to allow for more of the taste to be released. Take another sip, this time letting air in from the start. This is a great way to appreciate and notice differences in flavor and texture. Note the aftertaste, and, if you’re happy – that’s great, you can commit.
Alas, there’s only so much that you can teach about wines and various tastes through the internet. Maybe, one day, things will change, but until then? Fake it til you make it!