Not to brag, but I’ve got a lot of experience trying to impress people with wine. Now, it doesn’t always work, but that’s rarely the wine’s fault. Since Valentine’s Day mostly exists so that we’ll buy shit we otherwise wouldn’t, here are a few wine tips for V-Day that should let you impress without the stress.
1. Think about your date: Depending on how long you’ve been dating, you may or may not know their wine preferences, but hey, it’s a good conversation piece. V-Day is a great day to show some consideration, so maybe ask them what they like and go in that direction. Or try something new for the both of you: new experiences tend to create better memories.
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2. Have a budget beforehand: Look, dining out on Valentine’s Day can get pricey, whether it’s a special tasting menu, extra courses, or maybe a slightly more generous tip (because you don’t want to look stingy, now do you?). Spending two minutes earlier in the day thinking it over will save you some struggle later.
3. Relax: There’s no perfect wine. You can spend ten awkward minutes staring at the menu, or you can put the wine app away and enjoy your evening. Ask for a recommendation, and definitely remember my four questions to ask your somm (or server).
4. Plan ahead: Ever spend all day cooking an epic meal and then realize that you totally forgot to chill that bottle of Champagne? I have! It’s easy to forget the simple stuff when you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off, so take five minutes to think about the wine you’ll be having.
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Chill the whites and bubbles and then pull them from the fridge shortly before serving, and consider opening (and decanting, if possible) many reds several hours before you plan to enjoy them. Maybe give a quick taste test just to make sure everything’s good, because serving corked wine is never fun.
5. The time factor: Eating dinner at home doesn’t typically take as much time as it does at a restaurant, even if you have multiple courses. Thus, it’s good to think about a wine that might be good on its own, instead of something that demands food. This is where Champagne and other sparkling wine is your friend, because it’s always welcome.
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6. The last bit of advice is, of course, moderation: Wine can lead to good times, but too much wine is bad times. Be smart and safe out there.