Last time we went through the reasoning process to understand wines that can match your tastes. Today we will explore another subject—choosing wines for your women.
We are making the following assumptions: that you prefer young, attractive girls who have unfortunately been weaned on a steady diet of vodka-lemonades and alcopops, and are thus ignorant of the distinction between Champagne and Prosecco. This demographic is all about fruit, flavour and fizz, with little awareness of the subtle nuances of fine wine. As a man, it is your role to take her hand and guide her within this new, diverse and exciting world.
Imagine you are with your lady, sitting at a wine bar as she defers to you for wine selection. After reading this article you will know exactly what to order for her.
Immediately we will ignore red wines, as most neophyte women will be unfamiliar and closed to the bitter, drying sensation of tannin. We will also ignore rosé – while it is a diverse and interesting category, most people (and therefore most women) still view rosé as low-budget, sweet, pink water – the last thing you want is for her to think of you as cheap.
We will only focus on white and sparkling wines, preferably with only 1-3 years of bottle age; this means you can select a vintage from as far back as 2011 with reasonable confidence (as of this writing). This is good news for you, as most wine is made to be consumed within a short time frame anyway, and it will not be difficult to find something in a suitable price range.
Sauvignon Blanc has garnered a high reputation these days due in no small part to New Zealand, from which many examples of aromatic, fruit-driven wines have come. Because of this many other countries have tried to capitalize on this by jumping on the bandwagon and increasing their plantings of Sauvignon Blanc.
Key regions – New Zealand, Chile, Australia, USA (California), and France (Loire Valley).
Riesling is an often under-appreciated varietal that come in many expressions, from dry and zesty to sweet and luscious. Germany is the best example of this, with their Prädikat system acting as a guide to indicate ripeness and sugar levels.
Key regions – Germany, Australia (Clare Valley, Eden Valley, Tasmania), France (Alsace), New Zealand and Canada.
Pinot Gris is usually picked when quite ripe, which translates to high potential alcohol, however many winemakers will ferment Pinot Gris only to off-dryness, resulting in a wine that is not overly hot and retaining a touch of sweetness and lots of fruit character. In some cases there is limited skin contact that can contribute some texture.
Key regions – France (Alsace), Australia, New Zealand,
Keep in mind that sparkling wines do not begin and end in Champagne, otherwise you will burn through your wallet in short order. Sparkling wine is basically still wine that has retained residual sugar in the bottle, and yeasts are allowed to ferment this remainder to produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Be careful with anything that has an age/vintage declaration and terms like Late-Disgorged and Dégorgement Tardive, as this suggests extended time spent on lees, the dead yeast cells that were used during winemaking. While this imparts some interesting yeasty and brioche characters to the wine, some women will be put-off by it and assume the wine is tainted. Stick to Non-Vintage (NV) wines, denoting a house style of wine that aims at consistency and vibrancy.
Key regions – Sparkling wines are produced everywhere; there is Crémant in France, Cava in Spain, Prosecco/Asti/Moscato in Italy, and Sparkling wines from New World regions such as Australia, USA, New Zealand and South Africa.
Dessert wines are a diverse and varied category, with many methods of production to create a product with substantial residual sugar. As with any dessert, these should be consumed in moderation. As well as the Prädikat system indicated above, you should also familiarise yourselves with the terms below:
Late Harvest | Late Picked | Vendange Tardive – Grapes are allowed to attain a high level of ripeness, increasing sugar levels and making it more likely to produce a sweeter wine.
Botrytis | Noble Rot – This is a fungus that sits on the grape skins and penetrates them to extract the water. This concentrates the acids and sugars in the berries, allowing for a sweeter style of wine to be made. Dried apricot characters are typical of this style of wine.
Even by limiting our range of considerations there’s a large selection to choose from, so picking the right wine for your lady companion should be no challenge. Confidently make selection and tell her, “This is what you’re drinking.” Cheers, and enjoy.
Read More: A Players’ Guide To Wine Appreciation