Date night is an experience often enjoyed with a glass of fermented grape juice, also known as wine. However, how often do you find yourself staring at a huge rack of wine at your local store with no idea what to choose? Our resident aficionado Chef Choi had a few thoughts about how to make the selection process a little smoother.
The first thing that might pop into your mind when deciding on the right wine is”, “What am I buying this wine for?”
It could be for any of the following events:
- Specific dinner?
- Saving for later?
- Drinking immediately?
- Special occasion?
This initial question can easily create a lot of pressure on a situation that really doesn’t need any. Chef Choi says, “don’t be afraid: start buying and trying wines. Wine is a very subjective commodity; there are good cheap wines and bad expensive ones. Eventually you will find the ones you like and the ones you don’t.”
The perk to all of this is you will most definitely create memories along the way. If you were wondering, Chef Choi enjoys a cheap sangiovese but that may not be your cup of tea. You never know if that $8 bottle of wine is the missing gem in your life. It could be the best wine you have ever had.
Not to be too melodramatic, but life is too short so take a shot and you might just be surprised.
So after that pep talk, let’s talk about a few wine related things that will help you understand what you are looking at. Disclaimer! All information regarding wine is very subjective. Anything recommended in this post is meant to be general in nature so that you are better equipped for awesome date nights.
Naming Conventions (Words you will see on the label)
- French wines name their wines relative to the region they came from (according to Chef Choi, this is effing weird) (Ex: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, etc…)
- Italian wines and generally every other country in the world refer to the grape variety (Ex: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, etc…)
Bubbly (aka sparkling wines or Champagne)
- There are three types:
- Sparkling wines – these types of wine can come from anywhere and have the carbonation injected into them
- Prosecco – a Italian wine (Chef Choi is especially fond of these being that they are typically inexpensive with a great flavor)
- Champagne – a French wine that only comes from the Champagne region of France (the carbonation in this wine is created through a natural fermentation process)
- Words you will find on the label:
- Brut (means the flavor will be dry)
- Demi-sec (means the flavor will be slightly sweet)
- Sec (means the flavor will be sweet)
- Bonus note! Leftover Chinese food pairs amazing well with sweet sparkling wine. Seriously try it!
Chef Choi’s Wine Buying Tips
- If you don’t know what to look for when you want a bottle of wine find a crossover wine. A crossover wine is a wine you can drink with anything (example: pinot noir or a stainless steel aged chardonnay). Wood aged wine is typically more robust than steel aged wine. “Wood aged” refers to the casks that the wine was aged where “steel aged” refers to steel holding tanks for the wine.
- Three things Chef Choi looks at:
- Acidity – when you drink a wine it’s the feeling of evaporation (a lip smacking sensation)
- Tannins – it’s a slight numbness feeling after drinking
- Body – complexity versus simple tasting notes
There is so much to the whole wide world of wine, but date nights are all about simplifying the experience to bring the focus down to you and yours. With that, if you are looking for a great date night wine that has been tried by yours truly we recommend getting a bottle of Rosa Regale. It is sparkling rosé wine that pairs perfectly with chocolate. Seriously, we bought this for our anniversary and it made the evening that much better.
If you have any recommendations from your date night wine vault, we’d love for you to share them with the Tonight’s Better Together community.