Faking Your Way Through the Wine List

You finally get the chance to take out just about the hottest girl you know in real life, and of course, you will take her somewhere nice. Unfortunately, nice usually means the waiter is going to hand you a wine list at some point. Girls go crazy for guys that know wine, and although you could wax poetically about the virtues of a good IPA, you know diddily about grape juice. Here is a quick guide to faking it, ordering a bottle to impress, and most importantly, landing the second date.

To begin, girls love bubbly. Start with sparkling wine. If you can splurge, get a bottle of Champagne, and by the way, if it's from France, it's Champagne - everyone else in the world has to call it "sparkling wine". Some examples of good, mid-priced, fairly ubiquitous champagnes are Moet and Chandon,  Perrier-Jouet, and Verve Clicquot. These can be had for between $40 and $60 a bottle. There are more expensive examples that are tasty, like Taittenger, but if you can find any of the above on a wine list, you will do just fine. However, if you are on a budget, order a glass or a "split". That is a smaller bottle, containing about one and a half glasses. Try to find something from the French, or pick a higher-priced American or Australian version. If the glass or the split is less than ten dollars, you may want to skip this altogether. Cheap sparkling is better off in a mimosa.

Okay, so everything is going well. What is she ordering? Is it chicken or fish? Pork with a light or creamy sauce? Your best bet is white wine. Some people will tell you that it doesn't matter what you eat with what you drink, but that is crazy talk and those people probably don't have taste buds. A simple rule that you can follow is red with red and white with white. Trust me, there are  so many exceptions, but you don't know anything about wine and you are not hear for a lecture, and I am keeping this brief. A safe choice to remember is pinot grigio. It is everywhere, and everyone loves it. There are many styles, but they all tend follow a pattern. Dry, crisp, and it goes great with just about everything. If your date claims to only like piesporter or reisling, then let out a sigh of relief, because that means that she is equally clueless. If she seems to know her stuff about wine and wants a chardonnay, then ask the server for a chardonnay from the Central Coast of California. These wines are not too oaky, not too buttery, not too overwhelming. Another bonus is that the Central Coast Chardonnays are less expensive than their Napa Valley sisters, which are general way too over-oaked anyway. Also keep in mind that if your lady friend doesn't want champagne to start, order either of these whites for hors d'oeuvres.

But wait...what if she orders  Beef or tuna or something with the look of blood? Thanks to the movie, Sideways, Pinot Noir is everywhere and thus easy to find. It is a red for all dishes. The best pinot noirs are from France and Oregon these days. In France, they call their wines by the place where the grapes are grown, which in pinot noir's case is Burgundy. So if you want to sound really cool, ask the server for a "Burgundy" and hope they don't have more than one. Likewise with the Oregon wine. Usually, the French pinot noir is pricier than the American. Now if you want to be so super-cool that you definitely make her night memorable, ask for a Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Shat-oh-noof dew pop). It is exquisite and goes really well with steaks or game. It's from the south of France, along the Rhone River, blending thirteen different grapes into a red-colored  ambrosia. She'll be blown away, and probably a little tipsy.

Or you could just give her the list. Try to impress her with your knowledge of fantasy football instead. 

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