Want to surprise a special someone with a romantic get together? If wine is on the menu, here are 12 tips from the experts on how to order, select and taste the best to impress!
Wine tasting does not have to be pretentious or pricey, in fact, there are plenty of affordable wines out there and countless benefits of exploring the delicious world of wine with your loved ones. According to the experts at Wine Connection, wine tasting helps to open your palate and is a refreshing and enjoyable hobby for a couple to pick up together. We also like that it provides intriguing conversation-starters at parties!
So what better way to impress your date than with great wine and new-found knowledge?
Tip 1: Relax!
Your date’s just starting, you’re handed the wine menu, and at this point you start to get a little nervous. What do you do? The wine experts say – RELAX! The more reputable restaurants should have trained staff that can provide recommendations based on your palate preferences. So take the pressure off yourself and ask for wine recommendations, especially if you are unsure of the wines listed on the menu.
Tip 2: What’s Your Flavour?
When asking for recommendations, you could start by letting your waiter know what your general taste preferences are. State flavours you usually prefer like sweet or dry, fruity or earthy, or even light, fresh or spicy. Based on these, a waiter would be able to recommend something for you.
Tip 3: Order by the Glass
If you are still unsure about the wine, why not order by the glass? They usually go for way less than $20 per glass and you even get to try a few different wines in one sitting. It also doesn’t hurt to get a good taste before committing to a full bottle!
Tip 4: Start Easy
For beginners, a recommended favourite from Wine Connection is Overstone Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region. Enjoy its easy-to-drink character with fruity and gooseberry flavours, and a smooth, crisp and clean finish. Even non-wine drinkers will find this delicious, especially with seafood!
Or if you are in a more festive mood, try Valdo Prosecco from Veneto, Italy. It’s refreshingly light and fruity with notes of lemon and orange. Perfect for al fresco dining in the tropics.
Tip 5: Wine for the Romantics
Going for more romance? A safe choice is Valdo “Origin” Sparkling Rose from Veneto, Italy. The romance of this Rose lies in its flavours and textures. It has fine and elegant blossom notes, with a consistent presence of raspberry. Let your senses be tickled by its charming fruity aroma, pleasant warm flavours and playful pearly bubbles.
Tip 6: Hold the Glass by the Stem
If you are not sure how to hold a wine glass, the experts at Wine Connection tell us that holding the glass by the stem is correct! This method helps to maintain the ideal temperature of the wine. Why is this important? If wine is served above or below its optimal temperature, you won’t be able to experience the wine at its freshest or taste its distinct characteristics and flavours clearly.
Therefore, for the best wine-tasting experience, chill white wine to 10 to 15 degrees Celsius before serving and red wine to about 16 to 20 degrees Celsius.
Tip 7: Music in the Mouth
What makes wine-tasting such an intriguing adventure is the fact that every wine has a unique symphony of flavour profiles, aromas and colours. Try imagining wine as music to the mouth. The more you listen to different kinds of music, the better your ability to discern the unique elements of a composition. Similarly, the more you taste different wines, the better your ability to identify and appreciate the multi-dimensional taste sensations they are composed of!
These complexities are due to how the wine is made which include factors like soil, region, climate, the grower and ageing process. Here are some steps on how to start your wine-tasting experience –
Step 1 – Look. Observe the colour of the wine, opacity and viscosity.
Step 2 – Smell. Smell the different aromas in the wine. Look out for three types of aromas. First are primary aromas like fruity, herby and flowery notes which come from the grapes. Then, there are the secondary aromas which are slightly yeasty aromas and come from the fermentation process, while tertiary aromas like basking spices, nutty or vanilla aromas are produced by aging, oxidation and oaks.
Step 3 – Taste. It can be really fun trying to taste flavours like lemon, raspberry or coconut in your wine. But, there are also other complexities that can be identified in the structure of a wine. These include the level of sweetness, alcohol, acidity, tannin and the body.
Tip 8: You have a say!
There aren’t any hard and fast rules about which wines are the ‘best’. Just like how anyone has a say in their favourite Chicken Rice stall, don’t be afraid to recommend your own favourite wines. These are some ‘favourites’ at Wine Connection if you are stuck –
A) For the sweet tooth, go for the French wine Chateau Grillon, Sauternes. It’s a rich, full-bodied and sweet wine with notes of quince, vanilla and toffee. It also has a round and spicy mouthfeel with great balance.
B) If you are in the mood for celebration, go for Ernest Rapeneau, Vintage Champagne from the region of Marne, France. Great for the ladies because of its bright champagne colour and nice bubbly mouthfeel. It’s a fresh, crispy and well-balanced wine with dried apricot notes and a rich long-lasting finish. Try this wine with honey and spiced bread for a great combo!
C) If you are a seafood lover, try Wolfberger, Riesling. Also a French wine, it is well-balanced with a fresh palate and persistent finish. While tasting this, try to identify refined notes of citrus aromas and hints of minerality.
D) More of a meat person? No worries! Tupun Reserve, Malbec, an Argentinian wine grown from volcanic soil, makes the perfect pairing with red meat. It delivers aromas of lavender, spices and black fruits. On the palate, it is refreshing and gives a supple, friendly and chalky mineral profile.
E) Another great wine for meat lovers is Gabriel Meffre, GSM (Grenache-Syrah-Mourvedre) from Rhone Valley, France. Enjoy its rich fruity flavours like plum, black raspberry, liquorice and even a little violet. It’s a medium to full-bodied wine that goes great with roasted, garlicy meat dishes.
*Find these wines at Wine Connection!
Tip 9: Price Doesn’t Always Mean Quality
One common misconception is that a more expensive wine means a better quality wine. However, this is not always true.
The price of a wine is determined by factors such as the region’s importance to the world, the number of years the wine has been aged, how developed the wine region is, the quality of its packaging, or how well-known the brand is.
So when choosing a wine, know that price doesn’t mean everything. What’s more important is where and how the wine was made. Take this opportunity to find out more about the wine’s origins from the restaurant’s wine connoisseurs, you won’t regret it!
Tip 10: Not all wines are like George Clooney
Ever heard the phrase “Men age like wine…”? Aside from the part about men, the fact that all wine gets better after aging is a misconception. This theory only applies to some red wines where they become rounder and smoother due to a reduction in acidity and tannin, and their fruity flavours start to become more evident.
Yet, not all wines are made for storage. Commercial wines actually have a recommended drink-by date – 3 years for white wines and 5 year for red wines.
Tip 11: It Takes Two to Mambo
When paired well, wine helps to enhance and flatter the flavour of foods. Likewise, good pairings also help to accentuate the flavours of the wine. The general rule of thumb is that if you are having white meats like chicken or fish, go for white wine. And if you are having red meats like beef, venison or pork, order a red for a perfect taste-punch!
If this is something you already know, let’s go one step further –
A) Avoid pairing bitter food with wines with high tannin which is that dry sensation in the mouth. So avoid having food like bitter Brussel sprouts with a Cabernet Sauvignon which is known to be a dry wine.
B) Make sure the wine is sweeter than your food. If you are having crème brulee for example, pair it with a sweet French wine like Sauternes.
C) Make sure the wine has a higher acidity than the food it’s paired with. For example, a salad with a vinaigrette dressing should be paired with a dry sparkling wine rather than a buttery Chardonnay.
Tip 12: Open Your Mind
Be assured that wine appreciation does not happen immediately. If you and your partner are just starting out, remember to keep an open mind and explore as many wines from as many different regions and grapes as possible! You will naturally start to pick up on the nuances that make each wine unique.
We also hope that this gives you an excuse to ask for a second, third and even fourth date!
As you can see, wine drinking doesn’t have to be intimidating or expensive. There are plenty of affordable and delicious wines out there, so don’t be afraid to embark on this incredibly fun wine adventure with your date…
And why not start your adventure at the Wine Connection?
Find your favourite wines at Wine Connection Tapas Bar & Bistro, Robertson Walk.
You can either dine in or purchase your wine at these Wine Connection outlets near you!