May 28

Relax and Wine Her DownDisclaimer: if you are not looking for the smart, sophisticated, independent, mature, all around good woman, then do not read any further.  This article is not for you.  However, if you are looking to get that “in” to a sophisticated lady’s heart, one way to do it is through her wine glass.  She is guaranteed to be impressed if you commit the following to memory and have it ready to spew back at her when she least expects it:

Know your grapes:
Grapes are identified by their varietals, or type of grape used to make the wine.  Basic white wine grapes are chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, riesling, pinot grigio. Usually white wines include the additional flavor of a tree fruit, such as apple, pear, melon, or a citrus flavor like lemon, lime or grapefruit.  Exotic and eccentric white wines will include the taste of tropical fruits, like mango, pineapple  or banana.

Basic red grapes are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, malbec, and chianti, and the wine is often combined with red fruits, such as any berry (raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc).  Exotic and eccentric red wines will pair the grapes and fruit with flavors such as chocolate, mint, or even mushroom.

If you are not used to the taste of wine but want to impress her, stick to a basic light-bodied chardonnay or merlot, depending upon what you are serving or being served, until your taste buds can tolerate a fuller flavor. If you are not sure what is what while buying a bottle, it’s best to go to a wine and spirit store versus your neighborhood supermarket, as it will be much easier to obtain the assistance of someone who knows what they are talking about.  And know that it is okay to ask the waiter/waitress for a suggestion. As long as you know what wine to pair with what you are eating, your date will be intrigued by your knowledge. For instance, “I’ll have the prime rib, and can you suggest a mild red wine? I’m not that keen on the fuller-bodied varietals”. If you are at a nice restaurant, which you should be, your server will be able to answer you and make a pretty good suggestion. But before you know what to ask, you must:

Know your food pairings:
When deciding which bottle to buy for that special dinner, a standard rule is to select full-bodied red wines with heavier food, and a light medium-bodied wine with a more mild and light food.  If you are not quite the chef extraordinaire and you take her out to dinner, wait for her to tell you what she is ordering before you decide on the wine.  In general, most people prefer to pair hearty meats, such as roasted chicken, steak and potatoes, meat sauce based pasta, etc, with a full-bodied red wine (chianti, pinot noir, malbec).  Lighter foods such as seafood based pasta, salads, grilled chicken, fish, etc, are normally paired with a light or medium-bodied white wine (sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot grigio).  If you happen to like a food and wine pairing that does not follow the norm, stick to it. There are standards in the wine world, however, some women love a man that can do away with the norm and drink outside the box.

Know your lingo:
Man and woman toasting with red wineWhat is a light-, full-, or medium-bodied wine, you ask? Well, full-bodied wines have a richer, more complicated, well-rounded flavor that lingers in your mouth well after it has been swallowed it (this is called the “finish”). On the opposite end of the spectrum is a more subtle, thinner (like the consistency of water), light-bodied wine.  It does not linger on the tongue long after you have swallowed (no long finish) and is more fruit based or sweet.  The medium-bodied wines fall somewhere in between the other two.

One way to tell the amount of “body” a wine has without asking is to view the “legs”. To do this, hold the glass by the stem and gently swirl it in a circular motion so that the wine coats the sides of the glass. Be careful not to be heavy handed! She will instantly know you have no idea what you are doing if the wine jumps out of the glass and onto the table or your shirt. Once you stop the swirling of the wine, you will notice that the wine streaks down the sides of the glass in a tear-like manner. The thicker and slower the tears or “legs” fall down the sides, the more full-bodied your wine is.

*tip: If you are serving dinner in the home, uncork a red wine about 30 minutes prior to drinking it.  (yes, uncork it, if she is a real wine drinker and you tell her you will “pop” open a bottle, she will laugh – this is reserved for champagne).  A good red wine has to take a bit of time to breathe.  By allowing it to get some air, or “aerate”, the wine will typically warm up a bit and the aroma, or “nose”, will become much more apparent.  Once the aroma is at it’s peak, the taste will be at it’s best.

Know your glass:
If you don’t have time to uncork the bottle some time prior to her arrival, you will be able to properly aerate the wine by using the correct glass.  When pouring the wine into a glass, try to pour directly into the center of the glass with about 6-10 inches of “fall” between the bottle and the glass to allow for more aeration.  A white wine glass is deep and narrow, but wide enough that your nose is “in the glass” while drinking so that your sense of smell is aroused by the wine.  Red wine glasses are much fuller at the bottom, to allow the nose of the wine to become much more aromatic and full.  Be aware that the red wine glass is sometimes deceiving in that it holds much more wine than it appears.  Typically, a “glass” of wine is about one third full if you have the correct glass.  You don’t want your romantic evening to turn into drama with the drunken crazy chick on your couch crying about something that really doesn’t matter.

* Tip: To appear as a serious wine drinker, always hold the stem of the glass; do not put your fingers around the glass. Serious wine drinkers know the heat of your fingertips will only change the consistency of the wine and the profile of the taste.

Know your price:
You would be amazed to know that wine prices typically range from $3.99 a bottle to $1,500.00 a bottle.  Obviously, you are going to purchase a bottle from the lower end considering you are just learning your wine facts.  There are some good bottles of wine that are under $10.00, but to avoid making a bad choice that ends in her hating the wine and telling her friends how cheap you are, choose a bottle between $10.00 and $20.00.  Now granted, there are some nasty $20.00 bottles of wine, however, if you read the label on the back, it will generally tell you what to expect from what’s inside the bottle.  If in doubt, as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, ask someone.

There are other more intricate aspects to take into consideration, such as the color of the wine, the points, etc.  But the above are just basics to get your foot in her door.  Take it from me, as a serious wine loving good woman with serious wine loving good women as friends, a man who knows his wine kicks up his sexy factor like 5 plus notches and makes him much more appealing for a several reasons.  For one, it’s verification that he has his own mind, as most men do have those friends who taunt him about wine being a “woman’s drink”. However, while some women are into that cookie cutter man who fits that “cool guy” mold she always dreamed about (you know, that guy steadily filling her up with Patron), real women actually appreciate the regular man who walks to the beat of a different drum, is polished enough to take home to her daddy, sharp enough to know what bottle to buy for any occasion, and courteous enough to share it with her.

See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.
  • Rob

    Chianti is not a grape it’s a wine region in Italy.