Choosing wine is tricky at the best of times, but especially when you’ve got first date jitters. And if it’s a blind date, well, you’ll need all the help you can get. Give the gassy beer a miss and take a leaf out of Rude Wines’ little black book when wine drinking and dating. Who knows, this could be the start of something wonderful….
First Date Nerves
Hold the margaritas! We should be advocating a nice cup of tea, but a bit of Dutch courage never went amiss. If wine is your default tipple, keep it light-ish in alcohol and easy to down, should you be aiming for a quick getaway within the first half an hour. You might want to display your wine knowledge by ordering something a bit more snazzy (i.e. my wine choice is an extension of me) but don’t be a wine bore on the first date. We’ve tried. Unleash your inner wine geek at a (much) later date.
Play it safe: ubiquitous it may be but Sauvignon Blanc is popular for a reason. Go Southern hemisphere but away from the more in-your-face styles. Chilean Casas del Bosque Sauvignon Blanc is citrusy and light, fresh but not overpowering (which incidentally should also be your aim).
The Second Glass: if the conversation is flowing, a second glass might be on the horizon. Celebrate with a light, gently sparkling Prosecco. The Prosecco Superiore Valdobbiadenefrom Val d’Oca is multi-awarding winning, from the best vineyard sites and looks rather elegant to boot.
Testing your culinary skills
So you want/need to impress. You’ll need a tried and tested recipe that you can pull off under pressure. Take a cue from the French and keep it simple with a classic food and wine pairing. Try richer seafood dishes such as crab or scallops with Chablis or Champagne, lighter versions such as white fish or mussels with Picpoul or Muscadet. When it comes to red meat dishes, Malbec is your friend and likely to appeal to most red wine drinkers (plus it will look as though some thought has gone in to the proceedings). Aim for something not too heavy and tannic which might leave you looking as though you’ve been sucking biros.
Meat-friendly red: the Agostino Inicio Malbec from Mendoza has ripe, supple red fruit flavours and just enough oak to add a touch of spiciness (sorry) to proceedings without overloading on the tannin.
Versatile seafood white: Southern French Picpoul de Pinet offers a lively take on fish-friendly whites. The Baron de Badassière Picpoul is taut, tangy and a great match for oysters, should you wish to set the bar really high (oh and act as an aphrodisiac).
Should everything go a bit pear-shaped, don’t drown your sorrows à la Bridget Jones circa 2001. A bottle of Chardonnay and a tub of Ben and Jerry’s might seem like a good idea at the time but the flavours don’t work (who cares we hear you ask) and it might just be a waste of a good bottle…