The Dude’s Guide Pt 4: Ordering and Buying Wine
The scenario – You’ve just scored a date with a super hot friend of your co-worker. When you pick her up she is wearing a clingy red low-cut dress. The kind of dress that shows her curves and makes you hope it’s a little breezy. As the evening progresses, all the signs point to success. She laughs at all your jokes, she flings her hair back flirtatiously, and touches your shoulder periodically when she’s talking. You arrive at the restaurant and score the table overlooking the river. The waiter comes over hands you your menu and hands YOU the wine menu. As you open it up, a cold sweat comes over you and your cheeks get flush. What does it all mean? How do you choose?
The Dude’s Guide to Wine helps demystify and educate the average Joe about wine.
- In Part One we explained three reasons all guys should know a little about wine – Rated PG
- In Part Two we explored the basics of grapes and their general characteristics – Rated PG-13
- In Part Three we talked about the experience of wine tasting (swirl, smell, sip, savor) – Rated R
Why is there so much anxiety when ordering wine or buying from a store? I think it can be distilled down into one thing; Fear of Failure. We’re afraid of ordering the wrong wine with the food. We’re afraid of paying too much for a bad tasting wine. We’re afraid of looking bad. The dude is comfortable with ordering beer. You’ll always find the same basic beer in every restaurant. A margarita is basically the same wherever you go. Wine, however can cause even the Chuck Norris type dudes to develop Erkle like demeanor.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Directions
The best sex happens when guys aren’t afraid to ask their ladies for a little direction. The same thing is true with the wine experience. Asking directions can lead you to the ‘G Spot’ or pleasure center of food and wine pairings! Some basic tips:
- Ask the wait staff if the restaurant offers small wine flight samples – This is a small two ounce pour of three different wines to help determine a good selection. This is also a great sharing experience between you and your date.
- Ask the diva in the red dress (your date) if she has any particular favorites. If she prefers sweet white Rieslings and you order a big meaty Cabernet Sauvignon, the mood could be ruined. If she really has no preference, she’ll defer back to your manly decision making skills.
- Wait to make your final wine decision until you’ve made your dinner selection. While many opinions exists about proper food / wine pairings, there is some science to the right experience.
- Don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff for a recommendation. This shows care, concern and passion. Your lady won’t be keen to your lack of wine understanding, she’ll be impressed at your discernment to defer to a knowledgeable resource.
- While ordering a bottle is preferable; because as the nectar flows the conversation grows, don’t be afraid to order two different glasses that pair best with each of your meals.
If you choose to go it alone, refer to Part 2 of this series for a basic explanation of grapes and food pairings. The generalizations are RED WINE for big hearty meats and pastas and WHITE WINE for lighter chicken, white sauce, and spice.
The more you experience wine, the more comfortable you will feel at making the decisions. Great wine pairings will come with ease and the lady will be pleased. Similar to sex, you start with a basic knowledge of anatomy and what goes where. The more you experience it, the better moves you make and the passion comes with ease and the lady is pleased.
Tips for Navigating the Store
The scenario: Your successful moves on date one have led to the all important “night in” dinner date. This is the date that is at either one of your residence that migrates from dinner to the couch with potential for second and third base. As a side note, hosting dinner and making it from scratch will score you big points. Also, don’t be too quick to slide into home. Showing restraint shows self-control, builds trust, and grows anticipation for the final scene. For this date you are without the help of the wait staff and must rely on your cunning abilities to navigate the wine store, local winery, or local grocer (I strongly encourage you to BUY LOCAL for good service and informative advice).
- Decide what’s for dinner and follow the same basic principles when ordering at a restaurant
- Determine your budget. While there are a lot of good $10 and under wines out there, nothings says, “let’s get drunk and screw” like a bottle of Two Buck Chuck. Shoot for something between $20-30 and your chances are better that it will be a good wine and if she knows anything about wine, she’ll be a little impressed.
Personally, I would avoid going all out for something more than $25 on a date like this. 1) You don’t want to set the bar too high for future wine purchases. Starting high may set an expectation that your wallet cannot afford. 2) You haven’t yet sealed the deal. At this point you’re still feeling things out (so to speak).
- Ask the wine steward or shop attendant. Similar to the restaurant, tell them your dinner and your budget and they can be a wealth of information.
- If there isn’t a wine steward available, the store should be grouped by grape varietal. Head to one that fits the general pairings mentioned above and in post 2 and choose one that fits your budget.
- If you’re ambitious you can choose a label that fits the mood of the relationship. Chances are, as you look, you’ll see labels that are sexy and flirty, fun and witty, artistic, and fancy.
Don’t let the size of the selection bother you. As the girls say, it’s not the size that matters, it’s the quality. One final tip, if you think things are going to go well, buy two bottles. As the night progresses, you would hate to find yourself without more wine!
There you have it, four posts to help the average dude venture into the wine world. Would you like to see more? There have been some preliminary conversations about turning this series into a book. What other things should the average guy know about wine? Are you a beer drinking dude? Comment here, let me know.