So you’ve gone the extra mile to invite her to the hottest new restaurant with an unbelievably tempting menu. You confidently order your three-course meal and the sommelier hands you the wine list and asks you that all important question, “What would you like to drink with that, Sir?”
You can’t possibly freeze! God forbid she thinks you are a novice at this. So you confidently work your way down the list, pick a suitable (and well-priced option –somewhere close to the upper range of the popular choices is always a safe bet). Before long, you’re offered to taste the wine. Now what?
Don’t sweat. Follow these three steps and you’ll even impress the sommelier (and hopefully your date!)
1. Observe – hold the glass by the stem and give the glass a smooth tilt. (You’re doing this to check for clarity and color, in case she asks.) Cloudiness in a glass is indicative of undesired fermentation, so keep an eye out for that. Admire the color of your wine – a young red would be a nice purple-ruby color and veer more towards brown in a mature wine, while white wines go from a slightly green rim to further along the gold color scheme.
2. Smell – give the glass a good 10-second swirl to let the wine release its natural aromas. Don’t dramatically over-swirl – you definitely don’t want to blow your cover! Lean in for a quick sniff with the tip of your nose slightly surfing the top of the glass. A few descriptive words would also come in handy, so be on top of your wine-vocab game.
3. Taste – sip and move the wine around in your mouth (without looking too awkward) to appreciate the wine thoroughly. Tasting the wine is a three-phase process and so that first feel is actually an “attack” phase where you’ll be tasting tannins, alcohol, and acidity. You’ll then taste the flavors of the wine during the “evolution” phase (this is when you taste the fruitiness, earthiness, and so on of the wine), and why you’ll need to keep that sip of wine in your mouth. Now that you’ve gotten to the finish, you’ll be able to detect the “heaviness” of the wine (was it light, medium, or full-bodied?) and its flavor impression (was it fruity? Or oaky?)
Nod appreciatively and gesture to the sommelier to pour out a glass for the lady.
Done! Now you can sit back and enjoy an evening of fine wine, good company and great conversation. Just make sure you are a gentleman and top up her glass before your own!