Putting the wine and dine in Valentine’s Day

Wine enthusiast Alison Fryer offers top tips to impress your date this Valentine’s Day

There’s nothing like a glass of wine to make a Valentine’s date even more special.

Alison Fryer, wine enthusiast and professor at the culinary school at George Brown College (GBC) went over some basics to prepare students for the big day.

Stay simple

“If you are on a new date, don’t try to give her or him something that you think may be overwhelming, keep it fairly simple,” Fryer said.

Sparkling wine, rosé or something light

“Of course, the default for me on Valentine’s day is sparkling wine,” said Fryer.

Crisp white wines like Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc or lighter red wines are preferable over a full-bodied red wine, given that you may not know what food is in store for the evening.

Instead of Champagne, opt for a Prosecco from Italy for a lighter and cheaper alternative, she advised.

The professor was eager to add that rosé can make for a good choice on Valentine’s day and also admitted to enjoying the drink at any time of the year.

The varying levels of dry and sweet make it easy to find one that suits your preference.

And then there’s sparkling wine that goes with just about anything.

It doesn’t matter if you’re snacking on pizza, having oysters or caviar, it will work, Fryer said.

Sweet wines are also a favoured choice

“I started with sweet wines because that’s usually what people gravitate to,” Fryer said, on her first experiences with wine.

The rule for desserts

“If the dessert is sweet, the wine or the beverage should be as sweet or sweeter,” Fryer stated.

The paired wine should be able to stand up to the dessert and if it lacks enough sweetness, this can seriously hurt the taste of the food itself.

A small amount of dessert wine goes a long way.

“You could get a glass for two people and split it,” Fryer suggested if you are looking to make a sweet gesture at the same time.


Ask questions and follow your instincts

If you decide to change bottles to try something else, question if it complements the food ordered.

“You don’t go to jail if you have wrong wine supposedly with the wrong food,” Fryer, however, said.

Personal enjoyment should rule your choices and if you prefer to have white wine with steak, go for it, she explained.


Work on your palate

“It’s just like food, the more you taste, the more knowledge you have,” said the wine enthusiast.

For those who are new to wine, it takes many experiences of tasting to build your palate, so there is no rush to figure everything out all in one tasting.


Know your budget, and stick to it

If the sommelier recommends a wine, “how much might that be,” is a good question to ask before the cost of the date exceeds your expectations.

“Absolutely put a limit on the how much you want to spend because, next thing you know, you’re spending $80 unnecessarily,” Fryer said.

Feel free to let the server know your price range, she added.


Be confident

“When you’re pouring into a glass, just remember to pour with authority,” Fryer said. She assured that you will not miss the glass by doing so.

Hold the bottle over the glass and make a gentle twist upwards and away after you have finished pouring enough and there will be no chance for dribbling.


Putting the wine and dine in Valentine’s Day