Unlike your typical liquors such as vodka and whiskey (which we all surely mastered freshman year of college), fine wine is far more complex and complicated. Some Cabernet Sauvignons can last upwards of seven-ten years, whereas a good Merlot will keep no more than three-five years. Not to mention, some pair better with certain food types (i.e. choose a Pinot Noir for red drinkers and Pinot Gris for white when ordering Japanese style dishes such as salmon teriyaki).
But, luckily for you, you don't have to be a wine aficionado when trying to impress upon your date when ordering, because we have a step-by-step guide on how to fake it till you make it (err get them too drunk to care) with tips from Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey.
1. Consider what your drinking partner prefers.
This step, although obvious, is crucial, because with wine, you've not only got your red or your white, but then you have your Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and fancier options such as Shiraz and Malbec for reds. Not to mention your Riesling, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for your white drinkers. Everyone has a preference, and they all taste different, so make sure you at least start there to narrow it down.
2. Utilize what you learned in the above and call upon help from you waiter/waitress.
Once you've gotten a handle on what type(s) your wine companion is interested in, now is the time to call upon help from your waiter and/or sommelier to offer up some suggestions. (Hint: deferring to the expert will also make yourself look like one in doing so.)
3. Be confident and/or aware of pronunciation of said wine.
This step is crucial as you don't want to go ordering a Shiraz (shi-raah) sounding like a complete noob. However, Master Sommelier Bobby Stuckey admits this is a common mishap amongst restaurant goers and the best piece of advice he has is to just act confident in your answer and your date will never know the difference.
"Even sommeliers have to wade into the world of German wines, and unless they're German or Wagner fans, they usually butcher it," he explained. "The guests should just go for it."
4. Once the wine arrives, follow these steps.
First and foremost, have your server pour a taste for you. Proceed by (giving it a quick swirl) smelling it first, then take a quick sip. If you like it give the nod of approval to pour away, if not, politely send it back.
"The is your big night out, and the sommelier will hopefully want you to enjoy something great," Stuckey said.