Dating has never been easy at the best of times: What do I wear? What are we going to talk about? Will they like me? Where are we even going? Oh that’s right, all the restaurants are closed. Again (in Melbourne). But while love might be in the air, so too is COVID-19, and with social isolation and shutdowns the new norm, this means our physical dates are fast turning virtual. Again (in Melbourne).
So it’s time for date night. You have your laptop ready, the right outfit from the waist up and you’ve both arranged to have your favourite meal in front of each other. But what you’re missing is a cheeky dose of social lubricant. A quick run to the still open – for now – bottleshop – and you’re presented with hundreds of wines to choose from. Should you go for the tried and tested favourite? Or something unknown to really impress? I’m here to help you choose the right wine for your virtual dinner and how to talk about it with your date. ____ The Hip & Trendy Date Fiano I see you, hipster lovers. You’re far too complex for a basic white label which makes Fiano the perfect wine for you. It’s the new kid on the block in Australia with popularity and plantings growing each year. Perfect if you normally choose a Pinot Gris, a good Fiano is best described as zesty, lemony and juicy. Best of all it goes perfect with most of those emergency pasta recipes.
Try Alluvium Fianofrom Unico Zelo in the Adelaide Hills. From $25 a bottle. ____ The Fun Date Prosecco Scoring a date is something worth celebrating, so why not do it with a cheeky Prosecco? The market has definitely been flooded with cheaper Prosecco worthy of nothing more than mixing into spritzes, but there’s some killer bubbles out there that really hold their own.
My pick for your fun date is Zaptung Prosecco by Aussie producersAlpha Box & Dice. From $20 a bottle, its intriguing foil label is the perfect ice breaker. This doesn’t look or taste like your average Prosecco. Speaking of words, try impressing your date by describing Zaptung as having notes of crisp green apple, bright citrus and white peach with a touch of almond. ____ The Spicy Date Tempranillo Walks on the beach are out and a candle might not give you the best lighting for your virtual date, so why not spice it up with a saucy Spanish number? Tempranillo (pronounced tem-pruh-ni-low) is elegant, vibrant and passionate.
The one to go for here is a Temperanillo from Canberra-based producer Nick O’Leary Wines. It goes for about $30 a bottle and carries notes of luscious plums and cherries with a finish of tobacco that will have you saying hola, amante. (That’s hello, lover in Spanish… you’re welcome) ____ The Comfortable Date Natural Wine And when all else fails, there’s always time for something a little funky and a whole lot more relaxing. I’m talking about the trackies date, where you’re comfortable in your own skin and you’re more interested in great conversation than the need to impress with looks.
An unfiltered wine that looks a little funky (and totally knows it) is your perfect match for this type of virtual date. Why not try the 2019 Sunshine & Hercules Riesling from Brave New Wine. Fetching around $35 a bottle and probably not your usual pick, but totally worth it. You’d describe it as cloudy, oxidised and strong with tropical fruit flavours. Yum.