When you’re planning a romantic dinner, it can be daunting to choose the right wine. You want to impress your date with your knowledge of sophisticated wines, but you don’t want to appear to be a wine snob. If you don’t have much experience with wines, the subtle differences between each type of wine and how they interact with foods can be a little confusing at first.
When to use Red Wines
Red wines come in several varieties, and can be wonderful accents to many different dishes. Since red wine is served at room temperature, you can keep the bottle in the dining room with you while you eat, which makes it easier to refill your date’s wine glass as soon as it empties. A nice shiraz, syrah, or pinot noir will go well with red meat dishes like steak or roast. These wines have a very light finish so that they don’t interfere with the delicate flavors of a nicely prepared red meat. Merlot is a good red wine to serve with marinara dishes because it has a more robust flavor and will draw out the spices in the sauce.
When to use White Wines
White wines are served chilled, and can create a special atmosphere for a romantic dinner because they need to be kept on ice. Having an elegant container of ice placed next to your table has a celebratory feeling about it. There are many types of white wine to choose from, and almost all of them will go well with any dish that includes pasta or white meat. Chardonnay is a very light white wine that complements dishes that have butter or garlic sauces. Savignon blanc is a nice wine to serve with heavier white sauces, like alfredo.
Dry Wines go well with Any Dish
The benefit of using a dry wine, red or white, is that it leaves behind a very light flavor once it has been swallowed. Dry wines cleanse the palate and create a fresh flavor sensation for every new bite of food. A dry wine is not very sweet, though, so some beginners may find that it is too sharp for their taste. Dry wines are something of an acquired taste, which you should keep in mind if your date does not drink wine with dinner very often.
Sweet Wines are Perfect for Dessert
Sweeter wines are ideal for finishing a romantic dinner. They go very well with most desserts, especially if the dessert features a cake of some sort. The wine doesn’t have to be extremely sweet to complement the dessert nicely. If your dessert is very tart, a sweet white wine can add a sense of balance to the palate. Including a different wine with dessert is a very sophisticated and romantic touch that will make your date feel incredibly special. Some dessert wines can be used to replace dessert altogether. A plate of mild cheese and a sweet white wine gives you time to linger over the end of the dinner and extend the date a little longer.
The Bottom Line – Drink What you Like
When choosing wines for a romantic date, the most important thing to keep in mind is finding a wine that both of you will enjoy. There are specific wines that go well with specific types of foods, but you won’t enjoy them if you don’t like that kind of wine in the first place. Your date will be more impressed if you can explain why you like the wine you’ve chosen, even if it doesn’t strictly match the food that is being served.