You’ve left the safety of the couch and you’ve got your lucky pants on. You finally secured dinner plans with the dreamboat you matched with on Tinder weeks ago – Tristan from Toronto. He’s here on a working holiday visa, it’s your first date and you’ve already picked out your matching wedding tuxedos. You’re desperate to impress him and nothing is going to get in your way. Suddenly, the drinks list arrives and Tristan has exclaimed his love of wine. You eagerly mimic him in a bid to find common interests and he suggests you choose something nice. You find yourself exactly where you don’t want to be: you’ve oversold yourself, fallen at the first hurdle and your future husband is about to find out you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing (or an otter in bear’s fur).
But there’s hope.
Here are my five, sure-fire ways to blag your way through ordering wine when you really don’t have a clue.
1. Slow and steady wins the race
First things first, you need to remain calm. Jumping into the menu in three seconds and choosing the first thing you see has could be as disastrous to your romantic intentions as Angelina was to Brad and Jen. This process going to take time to get right. If you give the impression that you’re really putting some thought into this, it will actually work in your favour.
Sit back, put your best ‘thinking cap’ face on and don’t just order anything because, even though ‘Late Harvest Riesling’ may sound fancy, it’s a dessert wine – not something to set the mood or tone for the evening. My advice? Stick to the basics. We’ve all heard of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris – they’re popular for a reason.
2. Be appropriate – get fizzy!
It’s a summers night, your lucky pants are starting to feel like they’re cutting off circulation. You’re certain you’re starting to perspire. Ordering a Hawkes Bay Syrah to accompansalmon sashimi is as inappropriate as the selfies you’d sent him whilst you were getting ready.
Choose something to suit the season and start as you mean to go on – be bubbly!
Many may think bubbles could leave you having to sell your watch when it comes to settling the bill, but there are far more options than you may think. Try a Prosecco or a Methode Traditionelle if you don’t want to blow the budget. Or if you’re splashing out, go for something French.
3. Don’t run before you walk
You’re starting to feel confident you can just about pull this off. You’re composed, you’re down with the basics and you haven’t gotten carried away. Now is the time to order something but, order wisely. There is no safe option. Anything ‘house’ is going to lose momentum FAST. House options are usually listed as a cheaper, usually mass-produced option you can buy in the local Bottle-o bargain bin. You need to find something to impress but remember, though you might not have the foggiest what Gewürztraminer is, it’s important to assume that Tristan does. Here is where you stick to the basics and certainly, if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t even consider ordering it. Remember step one, stick to basics. Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay are all relatively easy to pronounce.
Just don’t drink too much and risk not being able to rise to the occasion.
4. The Temptations said it: “Treat Her Like a Lady”
The wine has arrived. These days it’s most likely in a screw-top, however, it’s nice to follow tradition. You’ve seen people swill wine around their mouth before – it’s not just for show. Believe me, swirling that wine around your glass will open it up just like the Levi’s you’re hoping to open later.
Tasting a wine is important as you can tell lots from it. Whether it’s off, corked or even too young – some young bottles suffer from ‘bottle shock’. Here, though you might not necessarily know what you’re looking for, use this as an oppourtunity to see whether you like the wine. Do the ceremonious mouth swill and, do it well. It’ll be kinda hot. At this stage it’s important to care and caress. Treat the wine like a lady.
Firstly, gaze longingly into her. Bring her in and smell her. Gently brush your lips over her and finally taste her…take the wine into your mouth and murmur. Do it quietly, do it slowly. Do it like you’re Honey Boo Boo eating Pineapple Lumps: “uuuuhhmmmmm”.
5. I am the Mimic Man
You’re turning this quickly into a success. The end is in sight. Finally, the three hours you spent ironing your duvet cover might actually not have been a waste of time after all. So here is my final piece of advice, and it’s simple.
Go deep, deep down into the vaults of your memory and pull out everything you’ve ever heard about wine. Now’s the time to start throwing -isms around. Think about the last time you had to endure a dinner party at the Joneses after they got back from Argentina and spent the night crooning over bottles of Malbec they’d paid a fortune for at tax and imports.
At this point both Tristan and the waiter (our friend Pedro, from South America) are watching. Waiting with baited breath. Anticipation is building and right now, this very moment is your time to say something ground breaking. “Its quite sweet, isn’t it?” isn’t going to get you into Tristan’s lucky pants (assuming he’s been saucy enough to wear them) but a sultry look towards Pedro with my old favourite, “THAT…is a lovely drop” might just be what you need to direct Tristan from walking away to walking down the aisle.
There you are. Five steps to success. Just don’t drink too much and risk not being able to rise to the occasion.
You can thank me later.