Top 5 wines for a first date!

Love Begins At… www.lovebeginsat… a new dating service for the over 45s has teamed up with wine experts Jane Parkinson and Jonathan Ray to suggest the wines that they recommend you order when on a first date.

Here are their Top 5 Wine recommendations with tips and advice on how you can impress your date with fun wine related facts and figures.


Jonathan Ray’s Picks

  • 2012 ‘Elysium’ Black Muscat, Andrew Quady, California (£9.98 per 37.5cl if you buy 2; Majestic).


This is gorgeous stuff, essential for any seduction. The cute little half bottle boasts a love heart on the label and the wine itself is a deep, dark, sexy red. There is a definite hint of roses and red fruits on the nose whilst on the palate it is gloriously fresh, grapey and sweet without being cloying in any way. Made in Central Valley, California by the wonderfully eccentric Andrew Quady, Elysium is one of those surprisingly rare sweet wines that goes exceptionally well with chocolate (clearly is a must on any date) although I prefer it on its own, lightly chilled, my loved one by my side.


  • 2012 Muscat du Cap Corse, Domaine Pieretti, Corsica (£11.30 per 125ml glass; 28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen)


Sweet, lightly fortified Muscats are Corsica’s crowning glory and this example is an absolute peach. Domaine Pieretti’s winery is right on the beach at Luri, in the far north of the island and here Lina Pieretti-Venturi makes delightful reds, whites and rosés as well as this delicately, spicily, sweet Muscat, full of fruit and freshness. It is delicious served as a flirtatious aperitif (with a dash of soda and some ice) and wonderful with a romantically shared bowl of strawberries. A friend of mine refers to great sweet wines such as this as ‘belly button wines’ but whether you choose to find out depends on how your date goes, of course…


Jane Parkinson’s Picks

  • Ken Forrester The FMC Chenin Blanc 2012


When it comes to South African wines, there’s nothing more ‘now’ than its flagship white grape, Chenin Blanc, which is often shortened to ‘Chenin’. It’s a really useful wine to impress someone with on a first date because Chenin has many food-matching possibilities, and that’s because it comes in different styles (again to sound impressive and in-the-know, it’s always worth checking with the sommelier whether a particular Chenin is at the nutty, waxy end of the spectrum, or at the fresh and zesty end).

This one from Stellenbosch is the former style, and is made by Ken Forrester, widely dubbed as the King of Chenin Blanc in South Africa. It’s rich and honeyed with waxy, nutty flavours but vibrant and clean on the finish. One final little fact that would impress a first date is that twice as much Chenin is planted South Africa than the Loire Valley in France, which this grape’s ‘home’.


  • Rafael Palacios Bolo Godello 2011


Spanish wine is a great conversation-starter for a date because you can say ‘I first tried this when I was on holiday in…’, taking your conversation off in the direction of places you like to go on holiday. Plus Spanish wines have never been more exciting, and the native grape variety Godello is a perfect example of why that’s the case. Another way of saying it, is that there’s a lot more to Spanish white wine than Albariño these days.

Like Albariño, Godello comes from north west Spain, except Godello comes from further inland so the climate is warmer, and this means Godello usually tastes ripe and of juicy peaches, just like this one, although it’s still perfectly fresh and zesty. This appealing style makes it a no-brainer choice for today’s in-the-know bars and restaurants to serve by the glass, especially because it’s so easy to say! Because it’s both juicy and zesty, there are many food-matching possibilities with Godello, from cheese to classic paella. And finally, there’s the reassurance of the family name Palacios, which is a famous wine name in Spain, even if this is because of Rafael’s brother, Alvaro. 


  • Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009


The rise in quality of English sparkling wine is now reflected by its presence in the best wine shops and restaurants around the world, not to mention its success in internationals competitions. This alone is a fantastic way to get the conversation going on a date; whether you’ve visited any English vineyards, whether you’ve tried any English wines before etc.

This particular award-winning wine comes from Nyetimber in West Sussex, which is one of the pioneering producers of top-end English sparkling wine. It tastes toasty and rich yet crisp and refreshing at the same time – it’s the perfect aperitif, but also a fantastic and decadent match with a romantic fish and chip picnic (seriously), because the freshness cuts through the fried food.

It’s made with the three main grape varieties you find in Champagne – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – and as with many of the best English sparkling wines, the soils in parts of the south of England are similar to those in Champagne which is why the same grape varieties can thrive here. And a quick tip to impress a date: 2009 is widely regarded as the most successful vintage for English fizz yet.

Courtesy: female First

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