Welcome to the second installment of Ask Whit, wherein sommelier and all-around wine lady Whitney Adams answers any and all of your wine-soaked questions. Today’s inquiring mind wants to know how to keep it cool on a date while winning at the game of wine ordering.
Q: I’m at a nice/cool restaurant on a date. I want to order wine, but I don’t really know anything on the list. What is something I can ask the waiter or sommelier, so that I get something good and don’t sound like a total idiot?
A: Don’t stress. Be the novice that you are, but a confident and charming one. A few tips:
1. Don’t be afraid to be very clear about your budget. Point at a ballpark price on the list if you have to.
2. You should get to know what you like, in general, beforehand. Let’s be the wine-drinking adults that we are, OK? Have a few preferred wines (California pinot noir, Tuscan reds, light French whites) and keywords up your sleeve, like “full-bodied”, “high acid”, “old world”, “earthy” and “ripe and fruity”. These little clues will really help your server or sommelier select the right wine for you without a lot of fuss. Bottom line—throw the right pitch and let your somm hit it out of the park. And when in doubt, a bottle of bubbly or dry rosé will rarely disappoint, make you look like a baller, and should be versatile throughout the meal.
3. When the wine is presented to you, for crying out loud don’t pick up the cork and smell it. Smell the wine in the glass. Give it a good swirl and sniff. If it smells like wine (and not like an old musty basement), you’re good to go. Cheers!
Do you have a vino-related question you’re itching to ask? Leave a comment here or email Whitney at [email protected].