Don’t wine on our date

Relationships require a significant effort to keep things fresh and lively.  Part of keeping that spark alive is continually treating your partner to a date night.  As life often interrupts, this can be difficult to do.  However, Mr. Fiancé and I both do our best to take each other out on dates.  I don’t think it is fair to say it is the mans responsibility to keep up the excitement. It takes two to tango.

I wanted to take him on a creative and unique date so when I saw a LivingSocial deal for Bottled Grapes, a company whose mission is to teach how to pair authentic regional food with wine, I jumped at the opportunity. (Side note – some of my most original dates have come from these coupon sites.) Finally, after months of waiting for the right class to appear on the schedule that wasn’t already sold out, I finally was able to schedule our date night.  I wanted to surprise Mr. Fiancé so yesterday I told him we were going on a date, but it wasn’t until we walked into the building that I finally told him what we were doing.  Some classes focus on California cuisine, Spanish dishes, or French dinners, but I only wanted to take the italian class. Krunch, the owner, already retired twice, decided to go back and pursue his love of wine.  He is one of just 24 oenophiles in the world to have achieved the title of International Grand Confrérie Sommelier.  I had never heard of that title before, but apparently it is the highest level of sommelier recognition you can achieve. I was seriously impressed with Krunch’s ability to specifically pinpoint the taste of the apples, the lemon, the black pepper, etc. in the wines. To me, I can taste fruit, wood, etc., but can’t specify in detail that it is a boisonberry.  I know the wine is supposed to enhance your palate when you pair it with food, but I honestly couldn’t tell a difference.

We had a home cooked italian dinner and got to taste four wines: 2 red & 2 white. The wine bottles were hidden in velvet bags, as to ensure we tasted the wine without knowing what it was.  That way we could sample it and enjoy the aroma and flavors without being distracted by thought that we may or may not like that kind of wine from previous tastings.  A lovely couple sat across from us at our table and together we all played ‘guess the wine.’  Sadly, I didn’t guess any right. I liked three out of four of the wines.

One of the hardest courses I took during my time in Italy was a pairing food and wine class. While Krunch didn’t mention the basic pairing rule that white wine goes with chicken and fish, and red goes with red meat, he did share some interesting wine tips. Some I knew, others I did not.

Tip #1. There are three types of meal wines:

  1. Introductory Wine: This is usually white and light. It gets you ready for the meal and the heavier wine to come. It should be 12% alcohol or lower for the 1st course.
  2. Meal Wine: This is your thicker wine, usually red.  It should be 13.5% or lower. Otherwise, you are essentially dumping ketchup over your meal and ruining the flavor of both the wine and food.
  3. Dessert Wine: This should be 14% alcohol and higher.

Tip #2.  If you don’t like black pepper, don’t get a wine with black pepper in it. If you have a meal where black pepper is part of the ingredients, pair it with a wine that has black pepper.

Tip #3. Sunshine & heat kills wine. 

Tip #4. Best way to store already opened wine: Out of synthetic, screw cap, cork and box, which do you think is the best for storing already opened wine? I’ll give you a minute to think about this. Ready?   The answer from worst to best:  synthetic, cork, screw cap, then box. Boxed wine can stay up to 3 months after it is opened! Keep it classy, folks! Anyone up for a game of slap the bag? Just kidding.

Tip #5. If you can, buy wines that have aged for at least 5 years.

I successfully took Mr. Fiancé on an entertaining surprise date.  It is nice to spend time out of the house, away from the responsibilities; just enjoying each other’s company one on one.  Who said just because you’re in a long-term relationship, you can’t still go out on dates? I cannot wait to take him on my next planned date in a couple of weeks. But I can’t tell you about that yet. I don’t want his next surprise!

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