Increase Your Level of Bougie by Stepping Your Wine Game Up
Let me start this off by saying that I may or may not know what the fuck I’m talking about here. HOWEVER, I married a French man and have only had good wine in the four years I have known him. One of our first dates, I watched a waiter open a fresh bottle of wine and pour a tiny amount into a glass for him. He sniffed it and sent it back without saying a word. A different wine was selected eventually, but that moment left me shook. How did he know the wine wasn’t to his liking just by smelling it, and how was he able to send it back with such swagger?! As far as I was concerned, that was the marriage proposal, and I said yes to the dress that night. #thissexymutha
Wine is an acquired taste. If you just aren’t into it, there is nothing I can do or say to convince you to get into it because more than likely any wine you could like would be grape drank. You should stick to cocktails. But if you have a fondness of wine and just didn’t know the subject was this deep, allow me to offer a few suggestions I have picked up from being a gay snob.
First, grab some friends who like being drunk and go visit a winery for a wine tasting. This will literally submerge you in the culture of wine in one day. You and your friends will sample various wines with detailed descriptions and learn about how they are made and where they are from. This basic knowledge is crucial. It is important for you to know the difference in taste between a Spanish wine and a Californian wine. It is necessary that you completely understand that champagne only comes from the city of Champagne, France and nowhere else. You are supposed to spit out the wines you are tasting but the amount you are tasting is so small that you forget. If you can’t make the trek to a winery or vineyard, liquor stores will often host wine tastings with salespeople educating customers on the product. You can even ask to be put on an email list to be notified when tastings occur. Trust me, it is worth the effort, and you can get special deals on the bottles if you like the taste. The most important part of this exercise is that you will know what kinds of wines you like so that when you go out in public and you are looking at a menu, you will have some recognition of the selection and reduce the risk of being stuck with a glass you don’t want to finish.
If you are trying to impress someone, do not go by price. Sometimes restaurants and bars will price based on their relationship with the vendor and not the actual value of the wine. You want a good wine to mark a good experience. And if you want to be slick, strike up a conversation about the wine list with the information you’ve learned at the wine tasting! Also, in most cases, ordering the bottle is cheaper than paying per glass but never order a bottle just for yourself if you are dining with someone. That is a red flag and you may need AA.
As a Gift or to Keep at Home
Always ask the store manager for a recommendation. Never buy a wine bottle blindly unless it is your go-to. If it’s a gift for someone, follow up with them to see how they liked the bottle and take note. A great salesperson will ask questions about the person you are buying the bottle for. They will know what NOT to give you and will talk you out of potentially buying something the person will not like.
Paring the Wine
Feel free to ignore these rules, but know that if you are with a wine snob or anyone who is not from North America, they may look at you like you are crazy. Red and white wines really depend on your mood and how they will affect it. Red wine makes me sleepy so I would never want to drink it with a dinner if I plan on going out after. I much prefer red wine with a light snack at home. Conversely, white wines perk me up but too much gives me a headache the next morning. Everyone has a different reaction to wines, so it’s important for you to know whether or not you have a preference for red or white. Some folks don’t.
- Pinot noir, schiava, and gamay pair with salmon and chicken.
- Merlot, cabernet, cabernet Franc, and sangiovese go best with red meat, pork and hard cheese.
- Cabernet sauvignon, rioja, zinfandel, and shiraz match perfectly with steak, lamb and hearty foods
- Sauvignon, pinot grigio, and pinot blanc are great for salads, raw veggies, and seafood.
- Riesling, moscato, and Gewurztraminer go well with soft cheeses and dessert.
- Chardonnay, white rioja, and marsanne go with potatoes, bread and lobster
- Prosecco, brut, and Champagne tend to be the star of the show and are better with light food or simple appetizers.
- If you are eating spicy food, pair it with a sweet wine like Riesling, Gewurztraminer, viognier or gruner.
- If you are looking for a wine to have AFTER a meal, you will want a digestif. Consider port, vermouth, sherry, madeira, or marsala as they have been fortified with stronger spirits.
Bottom line: Even if you enjoy wine regularly, enter the phase of educating yourself about the different varieties. Don’t be that classless person that drinks sweet with everything. That person gets annoying and always looks greasy in their profile photos. Ew.