This is the second part of my series on How To Order Wine on a Date. In the first part, I told you how to prepare your wine selection during the reservation process and how to order wine depending on what your date prefers and your food choices. Now I am going to give you a few more tips on ordering wine during a date. Tips that will make you look like a seasoned wine professional.
As I said in my last article, the majority of the articles I write are wine cooler reviews. However, I do have plenty of experience order wine in a restaurant and have found the following tips to be really helpful in navigating the whole experience.
Determining What To Spend
You don’t want to look like a cheap skate ordering wine, but you certainly don’t want to break the bank ordering it either. How do you resolve this dilemma? Just spend what you are comfortable spending. Just because a wine has a high price doesn’t mean it’s the best wine. Likewise, just because a wine is priced lower doesn’t mean that it’s garbage. There are a lot of good wines that are moderately priced, trust me.
If price can’t help you choose a quality wine then what will? This is the part where you can enlist the help of the server. Once you have narrowed down your wine choices to just three selections (based on your date’s preference, your price point and your meal selection), then tell your server that you are considering these three different wines and ask them for a recommendation. Your server will then recommend the best choice of these three. Sometimes the server will even surprise you and offer you a wine you never even considered since he/she now knows your price range by the three selections you are considering.
Order By The Bottle
Most of the time you will want to order wine by the bottle. That’s because it is not only cheaper than ordering by the glass, but because a bottle contains the perfect portion of wine for a couple (usually four to five glasses, depending on how it’s poured). However, if you want to match your wine to each individual course, then you might want to order by the glass.
The Dreaded Wine Presentation
Many people don’t know what they are supposed to do when the server begins his or hers ritualistic wine presentation. That’s okay, because it is really simple. This little ritual is done to help you choose a wine that hasn’t gone bad. After all, even if the restaurant has the best wine cooler in the world, sometimes things go wrong and a wine will go bad. This will make more sense as I detail the process.
The first thing the server is going to do is show you the bottle’s label. The purpose of this is so you can make sure you are getting the actual wine you ordered. Look at the label. If it’s what you ordered, then nod and the server will continue. If it isn’t, then let the server know. Hey, servers are human too and can make mistakes like anyone else. Just don’t make a big fuss about it. Tell him or her it’s not what you ordered and they’ll correct the mistake.
The server will then uncork the bottle and hand it to your or occasionally, lay it on the table. This is so you can examine it. Pick it up and look at it. If it’s dry, crumbly, too wet or shriveled, then that’s probably a bad sign.
Next your server will pour you a small glass. Swirl it around a few seconds and smell it. If it has a bad smell to it, then it probably is a bad wine. However, you should still taste it to make sure. Take a little sip. If it’s bad, then tell your server it’s bad and he/she will bring you another bottle. If not, then tell your server it’s fine and enjoy. Now you know how to order wine on a date.
You’ve read through all the wine cooler reviews and have selected the perfect model for you and you’ve found the perfect place to do it. Now all you need to know is how to properly serve the wine that is now secure in your cooler and chilled to the ideal temperature. While that might seem like an easy proposition, it’s not as easy as you think. There’s more to serving wine than simply popping a cork and pouring it into a wine glass. How you serve it is as important as the wine selection itself and how it’s been stored.
Temperature, the quality of the glassware and even how you decant the wine can have a significant impact on the wine’s overall flavor and texture. And that is why I have decided to write this guide for you today. To show you how to properly serve your wine so that you get the most enjoyment from it. Follow these steps and you’ll never be faced with a wine that is underwhelming or disappointing ever again.
One of the first things you need to consider is the temperature of the wine. Far too often people pay little attention to the temperature at which they serve their wine. I have been to far too many parties where people have served white wines that were too cold and red wines that were served too warm. While the temperature at which a wine is served can be impacted by an individual’s personal tastes, there are ideal temperatures for each different type of wine. I have listed some of the most common wines and their ideal temperatures so you can get a good grasp on the ideal temperature at which to serve your wine.
Rosés, Dry Light White Wines, Dessert Wines and Sparkling Wines-The ideal temperature for these wines is between 40 and 50 degrees. This temperature will not only preserve the fine bubbles in these wines but will also allow it to retain its light, fruity flavor.
Chardonnay and other Full-bodied White Wines and Beaujolais-The ideal temperature for full-bodied white wines and fruity red wines is between 50 and 60 degrees. This temperature will allow the complexity of these wines to shine through.
Full-bodied Red Wines Such as Cabernet Sauvignon And Most Port Wines-Ideal temperatures for these “heavier” wines is between 60 and 65 degrees. Serving them at this temperature downplays the acerbic aspects of these wines while enhancing their lissome aspects.
Choose the best wine cooler you can and chill your wine to the proper temperature. It makes a huge difference.
The shape and composition of your wine glass can have a drastic effect on the taste of your wine. Different types of wines should be served in glasses that were designed for them. You should also choose crystal over regular glass, but if you don’t have a choice then at least use glass that is clear and isn’t colored.
Following these steps will help you serve a better tasting wine each and every time. For more advanced serving suggestions, then please read our advanced guide on serving wine.
Many people think that the only things they need to do in order to get the full potential out of their wine is to purchase a great wine, store it in a cooler that has phenomenal wine cooler reviews and decant it properly. While these are all great steps to getting the most out of your wine, it isn’t the only considerations that need to be made. There is still one more thing to consider and that is the glass in which the wine is poured.
It might seem a little bit like wine snobbery, but the type of glass you choose for your wine is almost as important as the wine itself. If you place a good wine into a inferior glass, then its taste profile will be greatly diminished. In order to get the most out of your wine you need to put it in the proper glass. Fortunately, this guide will help you choose the proper glass for your wine.
Before I get started however, I want to add a little preface to this guide before I go into the specifics of wine glasses. There are many wine connoisseurs out there who advocate a particular type of glass for a particular grape varieties. I am not going to do that today. I am going to keep it simple and just divide the glasses into three categories: red wine, white wine and sparking wines. As you become more comfortable with selecting wine glasses, you can then move on to more complex glass ware decisions. Consider this a guide for novice and intermediate wine enthusiasts and not the hardcore connoisseurs.
Red Wine Glasses
Red wine glasses have a larger surface area and a wider rim. This is because red wine benefits from being mixed with oxygen – a process called aeration – and this is accomplished from swirling the wine in a glass with a larger bowl. This will allow the red wine to develop its full taste profile and aroma. It also allows you to keep your nose closer to the red wine, which in turn enhances the wine drinking experience.
White Wine Glasses
You can tell a wine glass is meant to be used with white whine because it is tulip shaped. These glasses are smaller than red wine glasses because the small surface area allows the wine to remain cooler longer. White wine should always be served cold. It should be kept in the best wine cooler available and always served in one of these smaller white wine glasses.
Sparkling Wine Glasses
Sparkling wine glasses – also known as champagne glasses – are small and always fluted. The small surface area of this glass allows the white wine to remain cooler longer, while the fluted shape is conducive to the proper development of bubbles.
The above glass types are really all that novice and intermediate wine drinkers need to know about stemware. If you buy glasses that are made specifically for your type of wine, then your wine drinking experience will be greatly enhanced.
In my article, “How To Serve Wine – The Basics”, I gave you the first few stages of serving wine. I told you how to check wine cooler reviews to pick the best cooler, the optimal temperature to serve various types of wine and even told you how to choose glass ware. All of the things that I consider to be the basics of wine serving. Today, I am going to give you the second part of this series and give you the advanced techniques you need to know to serve wine. Follow these steps and you will not only notice that your wines have that special “pop” but that you and your guests are happier with the wines served.
Pop The Cork
There are a variety of different ways for uncorking a bottle of wine. For some of the more advanced techniques of uncorking please refer to my guide on How To Open A Bottle Of Wine for a full explanation.
The simplest technique for uncorking is to remove the foil from your bottle with a Sommelier Knife and then removing the cork with a standard bottle corkscrew. While you are uncorking the bottle you should be careful not to break the cork into pieces and remove it as one whole piece.
Decant The Wine
Almost every red wine out there tastes better when it is decanted. The time-tested method is to pour the wine into a decanter and allow it exposure to oxygen for about 30 minutes. Some people choose to use an aerator because it is quicker. Which ever method you choose however, you should be careful not to let the wine sit too long. For an advanced lesson on proper decanting, please see my article How To Decant Wine.
Pour The Wine
Proper wine pouring can take some practice, but once you have got the hang of it, then it becomes fairly easy. Since most bottles of wine typically contain about 25 ounces of wine, some people like to pour 5 ounce glasses. That way, you get 5 glasses of evenly poured wine from the bottle. I on the other hand like to pour 3 ounces of wine into a glass at a time. The method that you choose doesn’t really matter, just be sure to be consistent and for goodness sake don’t spill any of the wine.
And that is all there is to serving a perfect bottle of wine. Before I go however, I would like to make one more addition to this article. I want to remind you that a wine served cold will get warmer in the glass, while a wine served warm will only get warmer in the glass. Therefore, it is important to not only buy the best wine cooler, but to chill the wine a little below target temperature. That way, when the wine warms it will reach the ideal serving temperature for the wine.
If your best wine cooler is hungry for some other types of wines other than red or white, then you might want to try stocking it with some rose wines. Rose wines come in a variety of different shades of pink, from a soft hue all the way to a shocking pink. In Spain it’s called Rosado and in Italy its called Rosato. All names for what we call in the United States rose wine.
If you are thinking about stocking up on some rose wines, then allow this article to be your guide. I am not only going to tell you what gives rose wine its pink hue, but I am also going to explore their taste profile and suggest to you the best times to enjoy this sensational wine. Just bear with me and you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about this variety of wine.
Why is Rose Wine Pink?
Traditionally, rose wines derived their color from the tannin compounds released into the wine from the wine being in contact with the grape skins during the manufacturing process. The longer the grape skins were allowed to remain in contact with the rest of the wine, the deeper the color. Leaving these skins in contact with the wine for a short period produces a rose wine, while leaving it in contact with the wine for a longer period will result in a red wine.
However, nowadays it seems like more vintners are making rose wine by mixing together red and white wine grapes. This is particularly true in the sparkling rose wine category, but is also done in other types as well.
Rose Wine Taste Profile
Rose wines tend to be much like their red wine cousins, except they have more of a subtle flavor and texture. When you drink a rose wine you can expect a wine with a fruity flavor that is oftentimes underpinned by subtle notes of citrus.
The Best Time For Rose Wine
Rose wine is a versatile wine that goes equally well with red meat as it does seafood. It’s also the perfect wine for more casual dishes such as hamburgers, hot dogs and potato salad. And if you’re looking for a great wine to go with your chips and dip, then you can hardly go wrong with a great rose wine.
Since it is so subtle, light and refreshing it is often a great wine for the summer months. Particularly if you are spending a lot of time outdoors. Just be sure to check wine cooler reviews and buy a good cooler so you can chill that rose wine down until it’s nice and cold.
And that my friends, is everything you need to know about this type of wine. While it might not seem as glamorous as white or red wines, I assure you that it has just as much class as both of these types of wine. Give it a try and I think that you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
A person might be the greatest wine enthusiast in the world and might not know much about sparkling wines. In fact, most people know little more about these type of wines than how to take them out of their best wine cooler and serve them. That is why I am writing this article today. Consider this article a primer that will teach you everything you need to know about sparkling wines.
What Makes Sparkling Wine So Sparkly?
Quite simply, carbon dioxide puts the sparkle into this brand of wine. This invisible gas creates the bubbles—or if you prefer, the effervescence—that makes sparkling wines sparkle. Why did vintners start making sparkling wine, you ask? Well, it’s quite simple. It was accidentally discovered as the result of a process of dual fermentation within kegs. A happy accident that has created some of the best wines in the world.
Today, vintners use two separate methods to create this secondary fermentation process. They either use the Méthode Traditionnelle, or the Traditional Method in English, or they use the more modern method called the Charmat Method. When the first batches of Champagne were being made, it was under the Traditional Method, but as time went on and Champagne became more popular, then alternative methods had to be explored that were less labor intensive and quicker.
That’s Interesting, But How Do I Serve It?
Okay, that was probably more of a history lesson than you really wanted. You probably just want to get down to the specifics of serving this great wine. That’s okay, I am going to take care of that right this second.
Sparkling wine should be served at a very cold temperature around 40 degrees. Champagne on the other hand should optimally be served at around 45 degrees. These temperatures have been gleaned from years of experience and shouldn’t be deviated from because these wines are at their peak at these temperatures.
When you are chilling down a sparkling wine or Champagne, you should never use your household freezer. This will result in your wine losing some of its effervescence. You really need to store it in a wine cooler specifically built for sparkling wines. You can find one of these models by searching through various wine cooler reviews and finding one that suits your needs.
What Food Should I Serve With My Sparkling Wine?
I’m glad you asked this question. Foods that are sweet, fried in oil or salty should be served with Champagne. That’s because these foods and Champagne complement each other so well. Blanc de Blancs tend to go well with avocado based dishes and Italian pasta served in a white sauce. It also pairs well with Chinese food, poultry and rich desserts. Extra dry or Brut wines pair very well with any type of cheese, as well as seafood. And Blanc de Noirs tend to pair well with appetizers, poultry and fruit.
If you are looking to buy a new wine cooler but don’t know exactly what features you need, then you’ve come to the right place. Today, I am going to tell you the models and the features that are available out there and how to determine if a particular wine cooler is right for you. If you read through this two-part guide—and then check out some wine cooler reviews—then you can rest assured that you will find the ideal unit for all of your wine storage needs.
Wine Coolers Vs. Wine Cellar
The first thing you need to realize is that there is a difference between a wine cooler and a wine cellar. A wine cooler is intended to store your wine for short periods of time. These units cool your wine down to serving temperature—which is between 40 and 65 degrees—and holds it there until it is ready to be served. Wine should never be kept in a wine cooler longer than a year. If you need a long-term storage solution, then you are better off purchasing a wine cellar.
Best Wine Cooler Features
A good wine cooler needs to have a number of features to ensure that it keeps your wine in good serving condition. These features will give you a good idea of the difference between a really good cooler and a mediocre one.
When searching for a wine cooler, you need to find one that has the greatest temperature variability as possible. The better coolers have a wide temperature range of about 25 degrees from the lowest setting to the highest setting. Lesser models often feature a very narrow temperature variability of about 10 degrees.
Why is it important to choose a cooler with a wide range? That’s because different wines are the best at different temperatures. For instance, sparkling wines are usually served at 40 to 50 degrees; while full-bodied red wines are served at a temperature between 60 and 65 degrees. Therefore, it is very important to find a unit with a wide temperature range, particularly if you enjoy a number of different wines.
Price Per Bottle
Another thing you need to consider when purchasing a wine cooler is the price versus the capacity of the cooler. Instead of trying to just find the lowest priced model, try this little tip instead. Take the total price of the unit and divide it by the number of bottles it holds. This gives you the price-per-bottle price that can be compared to other unit’s price-per-bottle price. Generally, you’ll want to purchase the unit with the lowest price-per-bottle price. Of course, this can be adjusted by your needs. For example, a 46 bottle cooler might have a lower price-per-bottle price, but you might only need to store 20-24 bottles. In this case, it would make more sense to purchase the cooler that fits your storage needs.
The above features are the basics of what you need to look for in a wine cooler. To see some of the other features you need to take into consideration, then please check out Part Two of this guide.
I normally spend my time writing wine cooler reviews, but sometimes I like to venture into other areas of the wine world. I have written articles on vintage wines, wine tasting and other areas of this subject where I have experience. You might just say that I have written more than a few articles on wine. However, I noticed recently that I have never written an article on how to properly order a wine on a date. How could I skip such an important subject? I certainly didn’t do it on purpose, I assure you. To prove that to you, I have written this very simple guide that will enable you to order wine at a restaurant with ease. I hope this article provides you with some useful information that you can use while out on a date.
Lay The Foundation
At this stage, you need to do some homework while placing your reservation at the restaurant. First, you need to find out if the restaurant serves wine. If they do, then ask the hostess about the wine list so you have an idea of what they have. You can also inquire if they will reserve a bottle of your selected wine for you. That will save you a lot of time and aggravation. However, you need to realize that not every restaurant will reserve a bottle. Most will, but there are some that definitely won’t.
If they don’t serve wine, then ask if they allow you to bring your own bottle, and if they do, ask them what is their corkage fee (the price you pay to have them uncork it).
Acquire The Wine List
Now that you and your date have arrived at the restaurant, it is time to get the wine list. Usually, restaurants will offer this to you first, but if they don’t then be sure to ask for it right away. You want your wine to be served before your food.
Reading the wine list can seem like an overwhelming task, but don’t let it get to you. So many different wines, all categorized by region, manufacturer, variety and date. Don’t let it go to you though. Just consider the following things and you’ll be just fine:
First ask your date: If she is a person who hates red wine, then that narrows your choices considerable. If she doesn’t have a preference, then ask her what she plans on eating. That way, you can pair a suitable wine with the meal.
Pairing Wine With Food: You may have heard that you are supposed to pair red wines with red meats and white wines with white meats or fish. Well, that is both true and false at the same time. It doesn’t really matter what type of meat is in the dish, what’s more important is how its prepared. Here are some examples:
Pair red wines with meaty dishes, salmon and dishes with heavy tomato-based sauces.
Pair white wines or sparkling wines with light meat and fish dishes, shell fishes and vegetables or pastas served with a cream sauce.
Now before you pick your wine and have them pull it from their best wine cooler, there are a few more things to consider. Please refer to the second part of this article for tips on determining price and dealing with the wine presentation.
Today, I am going to explain to you what dessert wines are and the types that are available. Once you read this guide you will have all the information you need to not only purchase one of these wines but also to enjoy it. Dessert wines have always been a special pleasure for me and I know that once you try them out, they will be for you as well.
Before I begin this guide however, I want to give you one tip. Make sure that you have a good wine cooler before you purchase a dessert wine. That’s because these wines need to be served at their ideal temperature to taste their best. If you don’t own a really good cooler, then be sure to check out wine cooler reviews and select one that will suit your purpose. Now that’s been said, it’s time to get on with our guide.
Dessert wines can be broken down into 5 categories which include: Sparkling, Fortified, Sweet Red, Lightly Sweet and Richly Sweet. Each of these have their own unique characteristics. Let’s examine each wine individually.
Sparkling Dessert Wine
This is a very sweet wine but you might not be able to tell because its bubbles and high acidic content seems to cut the sweet taste. Just how sweet or acidic it is can be determined by the label. The less sweet versions (also called dry) have the words Demi-Sec or Semi Secco on the label. Sweet versions have the words Amabile, Doux, Dolce or Moelleux on the label. Of these sweet varieties, Amabile is the least sweet one.
Fortified Dessert Wine
Fortified wine is basically when a grape brandy is added to a wine. These types of wines can be either sweet or dry. Fortified wines have about 20% alcohol content by volume. Port, Sherry and Madeira are some of the wines in this category.
Sweet Red Wine
Finding a good sweet red wine is difficult these days because so many manufacturers are only making this wine in the cheaper varieties. However, there are still a few good ones left out there. These include Lambrusco, Brachetto d’Acqui, Freisa and Recioto della Valpolicella.
Lightly Sweet Wine
Lightly sweet wines are the ultimate dessert wine for fruit-based desserts or vanilla flavored desserts. That’s because they have a sweet, fruity or flowery taste to them. The best wines in this category usually come from Germany, although there are plenty of good American and French brands out there. Some of the lightly sweet wines on the market today include Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Chenin Blanc. These wines are usually best served cold, so be sure you have them in your best wine cooler at least 24 hours before being served.
Richly Sweet Dessert Wine
This type of wine usually uses the best grapes, aged over 50 years and is unfortified. As the name suggests, this wine is very rich and sweet. Some of the more common brands on the market include Sauternes, Tokaji, Vin Santo and Strohwein.
In the first part of our guide How To Buy A Wine Cooler, I showed you some of the basic features you need to consider before purchasing a cooler. The things which were covered include temperature range and bottle capacity. That article also covered the need to compare units on wine cooler reviews, so if you haven’t read that first part, then you should definitely check it out.
On the other hand, if you read the first part of our guide and are ready to learn about some of the other features you need to keep an eye out for before purchasing a cooler, then let’s get down to it. We have some invaluable tips for you today.
Another thing to look out for when purchasing a cooler is whether it has UV protection or not. Many people mistakenly think that since a wine cooler is only intended to be used as a short-term wine storage solution, that it doesn’t matter if it has UV protection. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Experts agree that most of the UV damage that may occur to wine happens in the first few hours of storage. Therefore, you should always choose a model with UV protection whenever possible.
Compressor Or Thermoelectric?
The two basic methods of refrigeration that most wine coolers use are either a compressor based system or a thermoelectric system. Each of these systems has their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s check out some of these pros and cons.
Compressor based systems are more efficient at cooling down your wine and are better at withstanding temperature extremes than thermoelectric based systems, but they do have their drawbacks. One, these units are usually louder than the thermoelectric systems and since they have more moving parts they tend to wear out sooner. They may also produce a vibration that may be unsuitable for ideal wine storage conditions and although they cool more efficiently they often use more electricity.
Thermoelectric models have several advantages over compressor based models. They are usually silent and produce little to no vibration, they have less moving parts and therefore don’t wear out as fast, and they use very little electricity. Plus, since they don’t use CFC’s to cool down the wine they are often more environmentally friendly. The downside of these models is that they are often very sensitive to room operating conditions and often take a long time to get the wine down to temperature.
Single Zone Vs. Dual Zone
Another thing to consider is whether you need a single zone cooler or a dual zone cooler. The one you need really depends on the variety of wines you consume. If you only drink one kind of wine, then a single zone is probably the best wine cooler for you. However, if you drink different types of wine, then you will probably want to get a dual zone model because you can keep one type of wine at one temperature and another type at a different temperature.
And that is all you need to know in order to buy the best cooler unit for yourself. Follow these guidelines and you’ll most certainly find the perfect wine cooler for you.