Dating Wine – A Guide For Picking The Perfect Bottle

Choosing a bottle of wine is a lot like dating. Sometimes you’re looking for a long term relationship and other times you’re interested in a casual fling. Like a little arm candy by your side, often times you choose a wine to impress others like the ones that come in the form of a prestigious producer, gorgeous label or obscure varietal. And then, there’s the wine that you hide in the back of the fridge that no one knows about, one that you’re too embarrassed for friends to see you drinking and wouldn’t dare Tweet about. It’s your go-to, easy-drinking, weeknight wine that isn’t complicated, doesn’t require much thought and helps you to relax after a long day at work.

Whatever your situation, I can guarantee there’s a wine to suit your needs and since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, I’ve offered up a few suggestions for any type of relationship:

1. Weeknight Booty Call – “2009 Domaine du Pesquier Cotes du Rhone from the Rhone Valley of France is perfect for a lonely Tuesday night when you need to unwind and relieve a little stress. It’s a fabulously old world, earthy, dirty little devil that speaks to the inner old world whore inside all of us. At just $8.99, its cheap price point is sure to keep you in trouble!

2. Casual Fling – “2011 Sexual Chocolate by Slo Down Wines (featured above). Slo Down Wines is the creation of 2 young guys who met in college.  Just the place for a casual fling, wouldn’t you say? Sexual Chocolate is a lusciously full-bodied red wine blend made from Zinfandel, Syrah and Petit Sirah “that should be drunk immediately, pairs well with pizza, Wednesday nights, late nights, friends and a second bottle of Sexual Chocolate.” The wine tastes like a chocolate covered cherry that would pair nicely with dark chocolate, a well known aphrodisiac!

3. Weekend Relationship – “2010 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges from the Loire Valley of France is perfect for a weekend picnic consisting of sandwiches or sliced meats and cheeses or even a BBQ with hamburgers and hot dogs; not to mention, its versatility in fall with grilled veggies, roasted chicken and ham or even grilled salmon. Since I’m not a fan of big reds that make me feel full or heavy, I get my weekend started with lighter reds like Chinon that offer soft tannins, ripe red fruit and refreshing acidity. While your weekend may be reserved for top notch red Burgundies that make you forget about your hectic work week, give Chinon a chance to win you over. The wine is stylistically a lot like Pinot Noir, yet there’s a distinct focus of flowers, fruit and spice, coupled with a sense of terrior (place) that make me feel like there’s nothing in the world that tastes quite like it. Interesting and enjoyable, indeed!

4. Online Dating - “NV Grongnet Cuvee Brut Tradition from FatCork.com is available only online.  FatCork is an online retailer that specializes in grower Champagne, which means the grapes are sourced from the farmers themselves, producing a Champagne of distinct terrior and specificity. Grongnet is priced at $44. Not a bad price to pay to see if this could possibly lead to a Champagne love connection. Plus, you know from its web profile that the wine is a traditional Champagne with at least 4 years of ageing before its release, rendering fresh-baked bread and butter aromas that can only be found in Champagne. And, your cyber stalking will tell you that this is the highest quality Champagne for the price, leading to a casual first date paired with Chinese take-out and then who knows, maybe a long love affair with Champagne.

5. Impress Friends – “2010 Eroica Riesling,” is a partnership between Chateau St. Michelle and Dr. Loosen from Washington State.  With it’s elegant, sleek and slim bottle and sexy name, many people think this wine is named “Erotica” before taking a second look at the label. Personality wise, it’s got a sense of where it comes from marked by a touch of minerality and slate, in addition to spicy apple notes that make it that much more interesting. When you want to impress friends at a party, this is definitely the wine to bring along. A real crowd pleaser, it’s perfectly balanced with relatively low alcohol, zesty acidity and a touch of sugar, making it easy to pair with an assortment of cuisines, yet can handle its own without food. All of your friends will want to know where you found this gem!

6. Impress Your Boss or Parents – “2011 Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County, California. This wine has an incredible pedigree that is sure to knock the socks off anyone. It’s made by Joesph Wagner, son of Napa legend Charles Wagner, who is the owner/winemaker behind Caymus wines. Belle Glos is not what you would expect from Pinot Noir being that is it dark purple in color with dark fruits and hints of chocolate and spice. However, those who prefer a prestigious Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will easily be impressed by it’s similarities. The wine is produced from an old, esteemed single-vineyard, Clark & Telephone, which is on the corner of two lonely roads in the Santa Maria Valley and has a gorgeous label, further adding to its appeal.

7. Long Term Relationship – “NV Blandy’s Malmsey Madeira 5 Years Old comes from the island of Madeira, not far from Portugal, Spain.  It’s unlike anything else you’ve ever tasted and will have you wondering why it took years to find it. Made from at least 85% of the Malmsey grape, this sweet wine has had just about everything done to it and not fallen apart. From the addition of brandy (fortification) to the exposure of oxygen and heat, this wine has practically been burned. The result is a wine that is almost indestructible with coffee and caramel aromas and flavors. These processes not only shape the wine’s character, but allow the wine to age for what could be up to 200 years! Somehow, this wine still remains strong and sweet even after everything that’s been done to it. Malmsey Madeira can even last up to 2 months in the fridge after opening. Not a bad investment, ay?