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.
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.