You’re already thinking smart if you’re planning a wine date. Not only is it incredibly stylish and sophisticated to enjoy a bottle of wine in, it’s usually cheaper than running up a bar tab.
And let’s be honest, there’s nothing sexier than sharing a bottle of wine together.
Regardless of your date’s level of wine smarts, there’s something indescribably sexy about these following nine wines. They appeal to *nearly* all wine lovers.
Since exact bottles might not be available in your area, this list is organized by wine style and variety.
Flavors: strawberry, white cherry, citrus, cream, and honeysuckle
Why? If you thought sparkling wine was a good idea, you’d be right! We all get nervous during a date, and that feeling can turn your mouth into the Sahara. The cool thing about carbonation is that it stimulates the salivary glands without causing you to literally drool over your date.
Oh, and that rosy color isn’t just a pretty shade of red: studies have shown that the color red actually increases arousal in men. While we’re at it, maybe those red shoes are a good idea too!
But when you get down to brass tacks, rosé is a nearly universal crowd pleaser. It’s refreshing, easy to drink, and engaging without distracting you from your date.
Flavors: citrus, yellow apple, almond, cream, and toast
Why? An evening of dancing and Champagne has been considered the ideal way to spend a date since the time of powdered wigs and tri-corner hats. And those fops might have been up to something: beyond the carbonation’s effect of keeping you stimulated, extra brut sparkling wine is required to have less than 6 grams per liter of residual sugar.
That means less than 1 carb per glass, which will keep you from getting annihilated by a sugar crash when midnight hits.
And frankly, if you open up a bottle of Champagne or Cava in any country in the world, the message will always be the same: we’re about to celebrate. It’s refreshing, it’s classy, and what date isn’t impressed by the pop of a sparkler’s cork? Make sure you know how to open your bottle properly first, of course…
Flavors: tangerine, peach, mango, honeysuckle, and rose
Why? The connection of love and roses has been a cultural touchstone for a long time, so why not bring a wine that reflects that? Along with its rich fruit flavors, Viognier’s sensual perfumed style also features a distinct aroma of flowers.
Not only do roses stand out as a token of affection, but studies show that this unique scent can produce a calming effect, which is perfect for relaxing and trying to get to know each other.
Côtes de Provence or Tavel Rosé
Flavors: strawberry, cherry, rhubarb (Tavel); strawberry, watermelon, rose, sea salt (Provence)
Why? More of that classic rosé style: it really does provide something that almost everyone can enjoy. Provence makes super pale rosés, with a light, delicate quality to match. If you’re looking for something a little more bold, Tavel is known for a deep pink color, along with a savory and rich flavor.
Like the in the sparkling rosés we’ve already mentioned, the color is key. The color red stirs up something in our brains, causing a heightened state of arousal.
While both of them pair incredibly well with a wide variety of date night foods, Tavel might be the secret to a date night success due to its deep color and unique flavors. But either one of them is delicious and seriously easy to drink.
Flavors: strawberry, plum, leather, herbs, and blood orange
Why? There’s something so compelling about a glass of Grenache. It starts with that ruby red color (and we all know what that means). Every sip is bursting with red berry flavors that will make your mouth water. It’s complex enough to keep you interested, but unintimidating and really easy to drink at the same time.
And if that wasn’t enough, the subtle sage and lavender aromas in these reds are also known as sexual olfactory stimuli in men. (It turns out there are a fair amount of those, in Grenache!)
Flavors: blackberry, strawberry, peach preserves, cinnamon, and sweet tobacco
Why? Want something red and complex, but don’t want your date to see your tannin face? Zinfandel combines zingy berry flavors and smoky, baking spice characteristics with softer tannins that make it easy to enjoy.
If that isn’t enough, Zinfandels have some of the highest alcohol levels you can get without resorting to something fortified. And if you’re just having a glass or two, a little extra alcohol can mellow you out and lower your inhibitions. Just don’t overdo it: drunkenly waving your shirt over your head is really more of a 3rd date kind of activity.
What to seek out: Look for wines with bottles with 14.5% ABV or more. Check out Primitivo di Manduria from Puglia, classic California Zinfandel from Paso Robles, Lodi, or North Coast (including Napa and Sonoma).
Flavors: raspberry, bell pepper, black plum, vanilla, and mint
Why? With its sophisticated peppery-minty notes, there’s a lot more to Carménère than the usual fruit bomb of other reds. This is a great way of signalling to your date that you enjoy the more complex things in life.
Every date runs the risk of grinding to a screeching halt when you’ve got nothing left to talk about (or can’t find something to even start with)! Carménère’s rich, vegetal aromas and flavors make for a terrific conversation starter.
What to seek out: This is one of those wines with vintage variability. Seek out Chilean Carménère with 2014, 2017, and 2018 vintages. (This is also a fun way to impress your date with your wine smarts).
Flavors: cherry, plum, tobacco, tomato, and herbs
Why? Italy is consistently singled out as one of the most romantic places in the world, and if that’s true, then this list would be incomplete without one of their luscious reds. Because they often include more familiar grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Super Tuscans have mass appeal that even wine amateurs can appreciate, with the added benefit of complex, Italian characteristics.
With their deep red color, romance is built into the heart of Super Tuscan wines, and the combination of French and Italian grapes can lead to meaningful conversations about travel (and perhaps even lead to future plans). Some of these blends have distinct notes of lavender and baking spices: those all-too-familiar arousal aromas.
What to seek out: If you’re looking for something with a little more widespread appeal, look for Super Tuscans that are heavy on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. For a real world tour, however, try the blends that are a little more liberal with their use of Sangiovese.
Moscato d’Asti or the red bubbly, Brachetto d’Acqui
Flavors: lemon, orange, pear, orange blossom, and honeysuckle (Moscato); strawberry, orange zest, black currant, apricot, and cream (Brachetto)
Why? So dinner’s over, and you and your date are toying with the idea of dessert. Ditch the heavy cakes and puddings and go for a Moscato d’Asti or Brachetto d’Acqui. Their super perfumed aromatics can keep you occupied for hours, while the light “frizzante” bubbles will keep you stimulated and engaged even as the night draws to a close.
These sparklers are both delightfully sweet, as any dessert ought to be. Plus, there’s the added benefit of their low alcohol content, so you’ve got a much smaller risk of getting a little too tipsy while you’re trying to impress your date.
Whether veg and fruit make up a substantial portion or your diet or they are just an accompaniment, there’s no question that summer is the time to indulge in the seasonal produce. Even if they aren’t prepared on the grill, chances are they’ll be on the table at your barbecue.
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Most of us aren’t even aware that there is a slowly-evolving list of “Classic Wines.”
Classic Wines are used to learn about wine. So, if you’re looking to improve your knowledge quickly, this is a great place to start!
Classic Wines typify a style or category of wine. For semantics geeks, they follow prototype theory, in being prototypical examples (or “perfect examples”) of a particular type of wine.
For example, those Cabernet Sauvignon-based red blends from the Médoc of Bordeaux are classic wines. They are prototypical examples of a regional style (e.g. French Cabernet) that’s produced consistently year after year.
Because Classic Wines are so consistent, they’re preferred and used by professionals to teach about wine.
This is the basic short list of Classic White Wines to know.
Albariño Taste Spanish Albariño from Rias Baixas and learn how it differs from Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, and unoaked Chardonnay.
Chardonnay Learn the different French Chardonnays, including Chablis, and how they compare to Australian and Californian Chardonnay.
Gewürztraminer Most educational programs focus on Alsatian Gewürztraminer only. That being said, the dry styles from Sonoma and Trentino-Alto Adige are more complex with subtle bitterness.
Pinot Gris Pinot Gris is one of the most difficult white wines to blind taste. Learn to taste the difference between Alsatian, Northern Italian, and Oregon Pinot Gris (Grigio).
Riesling Riesling is one of those varieties that’s so easy to blind taste that you should spend some time learning how to taste the difference between German, Alsatian (more dry), Austrian (riper German style), and Australian (more diesel vs petrol) Riesling.
Sauvignon Blanc Become familiar with the differences between oaked Sauvignon Blanc (from France or California) compared to those wines from the Loire Valley (think Sancerre) and New Zealand.
Torrontés Argentina’s highly aromatic white tastes sweeter from Mendoza and much more lithe and dry from Salta and Catamarca.
Viognier Most tests only focus on the extremely tiny Condrieu region in the Northern Rhône. Try something from the Central Coast region (Paso Robles, etc) of California to expand your palate.
While there are many more wines that could be considered “Classic,” this shortlist is what is considered fundamental knowledge for sommeliers.
Cabernet Sauvignon This is one of the hardest. Exams often pick Bordeaux, South Australia, Chile, and the entire US for blind tasting. Learn how this grape differs from Merlot in each area.
Gamay There really isn’t anywhere else to try besides Beaujolais. So, focus on identifying quality levels.
Malbec Get to know Mendoza Malbec like it’s your best friend. (It often is!)
Merlot Don’t let Merlot fool you! It’s easy to confuse with Cabernet Sauvignon and grows in all the same locations.
Nebbiolo Get your friends together and compare Barolo vs Barbaresco.
Pinot Noir Dive deep into the the many sub-regions of Burgundy, California, Oregon, and New Zealand. Watch our fun comparison of Oregon vs Burgundy.
Tempranillo Learn to taste the difference between Tempranillo, Cabernet, and Sangiovese. Practice tasting Rioja (of all levels) and Ribera del Duero.
Zinfandel Look to the American wines and learn to taste the difference between Paso Robles (fruity, canned peaches), Sonoma Valley (dry, mineral), and Napa Valley (rich, with volcanic overtones).
More articles like this at winefolly.com
Canned wines might have seemed gimmicky when the category launched — heck, brand names like Porch Pounder certainly didn’t help — but they’re absolutely here to stay. According to market research firm BW 166, canned wine sales rose 43 percent between June 2017 and June 2018. In January 2018, Nielsen reported the category was worth more than $45 million.
For the past two years, VinePair has scoured the landscape to find our favorite canned wines. As the sector continues to evolve, and an increasing number of brands get in on the action, we thought it was time to try some more.
Following an extensive tasting of more than 30 nationally available canned wines, we noted many similarities (both positive and negative) with tastings in years gone by.
If you’re the kind of person who gains just as much enjoyment out of a wine’s aroma as its flavors, canned wines might not be for you. When consuming directly from a can, it’s difficult to pick up the wine’s aromas — and, if you do, many are tinged with reductive notes of burnt matches and boiled eggs (once cans are sealed, no oxygen can reach the wine within).
The convenience of the grab-and-go packaging is also a double-edged sword. The vast majority of cans come in 375-milliliter servings, the equivalent of half a standard bottle of wine. Frankly, that’s too large a serving size in our opinion. The (less common) 250-milliliter and 187-milliliter cans are much more user-friendly and more brands would do well to adopt these sizes, even if it means spending a little more.
To come up with this year’s ranking, we judged the wines first on their flavors, given how difficult it is to judge aromas when drinking — as intended — from the can. Afterward, we gave them a swill in a glass so we could share some of their many delicious aromas with you. Finally, we ranked our favorites.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 canned wines for summer 2019.
Denver-based Infinite Monkey Theorem was one of the pioneers of the category, launching its first single-serve release back in 2015. Lightly carbonated, with vibrant aromas of raspberry, bubblegum, and ripe strawberries that continue onto the palate, Rosé Bubble Universe is the pick of the bunch from this producer. Average price: $14.99 per 4-pack.
Launched in 2018 by Thomas Pastuszak, the wine director at New York’s NoMad hotel, VINNY is a bubbly white blend from the Empire State’s Finger Lakes region. This gently sparkling white wine smells like a slightly candied Riesling, with pear and aloe on the palate. Size-wise, it’s a hit, arriving in slender 250-milliliter cans. Average price: $20 per 4-pack.
Santa Julia is one of Argentina’s largest certified organic wine producers. In February 2019, the winery released a line of three canned wines. We enjoyed them all but were particularly impressed by the rosé, which is made using 100 percent organically grown Malbec grapes. With an attractive blend of cranberry, strawberry, and raspberry notes, Santa Julia delivers clean-tasting, organic wine you can drink on the go. Average price: $5.99 per can.
The cool climate of California’s Arroyo Seco AVA offers one of the longest growing seasons in the state. This makes the region ideal for brightly acidic, citrus, honeyed Rieslings like this offering from Companion Wine Co. For those who think they don’t like Riesling because it’s too sweet, this is a particularly good pick. Average Price: $10 per can.
A grapefruit explosion on the nose is followed by notes of gooseberries and green bell peppers in this textbook Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. One of four canned Archer Roose offerings from four different international regions, this was, by some way, our favorite from the brand. Average Price: $16 per 4-pack.
California-based AVA Grace Vineyards delivers two delightful canned wines in some of the best-designed packaging we’ve seen. Our favorite is the rosé, which has notes of strawberry yogurt, strawberry compote, and tart rhubarb. The Pinot Grigio is also solid and bursts with mint, pear, and citrus notes. Average Price: $4.99 per can.
Ever wondered what minimal-intervention, “natural” canned wine might taste like? Meet Sans, a Napa Valley winery pushing the category’s boundaries. Truth be told, we found Sans’ lineup to be somewhat inconsistent, but were really impressed by this Mendocino County Zinfandel. Its expressive bouquet and palate included notes of white pepper, anise, red currants, mocha, and vanilla. It’s also the best (and only) red wine on this year’s list. Average Price: $30 per 3-pack.
This is classic Provençal rosé served in 250-milliliters cans that were custom-designed to take over your Instagram feed. Raspberry, mint, and peach notes mingle with creamy strawberry yogurt in this elegant rosé that just happens to arrive in a can. Average Price: $20 per 4-pack.
With lemon, green apple, and underripe stone fruit on the nose, and creamy malolactic notes on the palate, this wine smells and tastes like really good Chardonnay. Do we even detect a hint of minerality? Try it yourself and let us know. Average Price: $8 per can.
Despite the fact summer hasn’t even started yet, we, too, are already sick of the words “rosé all day.” But this canned wine ticks all the boxes. It’s bubbly, arrives in 250-milliliter pours, and is bursting with character. It tastes a lot more “serious” than its packaging suggests, with strawberry, raspberry, and lavender notes giving way to a surprisingly dry, crisp finish. At $15 for 1 liter of wine, it’s also an absolute bargain. Average Price: $15 per 4-pack.
For more articles like this visit vinepair.com.
One of the biggest misconceptions about wines made with organic grapes is that they don't taste as good as conventional wines. Fortunately, this is not true! Wines labeled "made with organic grapes" are from organically tended vineyards. These grapes ripen just like regular wine grapes. And, they're made into wine in the same way.
So they won't taste any different from conventional wines.
Organic grape wines are also priced pretty competitively.
For example, we went shopping for Sauvignon Blanc and found two Chilean wines. The organically grown version was $12.99 and the non-organic version was $11.99.
Here are three interesting facts about wines made with organic grapes that suggest an improved human health impact:
1. Wines have reduced sulfites. (Conventional wines may have up to 350 parts per million vs. no more than 100 ppm for organic grape wines).
2. Grape growers are not allowed to use glyphosate (aka RoundUp). Napa recently banned the use of this chemical due to the potential carcinogenic hazards.
3. Winemakers are not allowed to use genetically modified yeasts for fermentation.
Of course, sulfites, glyphosate, and genetically modified yeasts haven't been proven to cause bodily harm in most humans. So, reducing intake is more of a helpful precaution, Either way, seeking out "wines made with organically grown grapes" will hit all those boxes.
Organic, biodynamic, and "beyond organic" (such as permaculture) farming techniques are leading the way to improve our soils, water, air, and wildlife quality.
One big impact we'll see in California if we move to more organic farming will be the increase of Monarch butterfly populations. Currently, weed killers destroy the butterflies' main source of food (milkweed) and their numbers have dwindled by more than 90 percent. :(
Still, it's important to note that organic farming is more difficult for several reasons:
1. Pest infestations and plant diseases are much harder and time-consuming to solve. They require creative solutions through patient observation.
2. Annual farming costs tend to be higher due to the need for more hands-on work.
3. Yields tend to be lower because of reduced chemical use.
4. Responsible land-use reduces the amount of land available for crop production.
The change starts with us, the wine drinkers. Our buying habits are what gives grape growers the incentive to make big changes to their farming programs. It's not going to happen overnight, but it can happen in the next two to three years.
Well, when we request and buy wines made with organically grown grapes, we incentivize farmers.
One way to start this wave is to change how you buy affordable, daily drinking wines. Make an effort to pick organic grape wines.