There is an appropriate time and place for just about every wine that makes it to the export market, even if that place is as a base for sangria or mulled wine. Conversely, for every time in a wine-lover’s life there is an appropriate wine for the occasion. The same principle holds true during the evolution of a romantic relationship. But figuring out which wine goes with which occasion can be difficult, especially if we have a one-track mind. This article should help.

Pre-first date

Every relationship starts, or at least should start, with a first date.

For that special occasion, you’ll want a wine that will take the edge off so you’ll be cool and collected, but not one so strong that it will remove all inhibitions and make you drunk, for dates seldom get turned on by obnoxiousness or slurring. You want something light, a wine that will put you in a romantic mood and highlight your softer side.

Suggestion: A glass of Chateau d’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé from Provence. Delicate and fresh with silky berry flavors, but with enough kick to calm the jitters, this is a wine that will have you thinking “oui,” which is exactly the kind of optimism you should have going into a first date. If you’re a guy going out with a lady for the first time though, just don’t tell her you were drinking pink wine right before you met her; she might get the wrong idea.

Proviso: If you’re going on a blind date, have two glasses of Whispering Angel Rosé beforehand. If you’re going on a blind date set up by a parent or grandparent, chase the two glasses of wine with one shot of Don Julio anejo tequila and do not worry about the slurring because it’s not going to work out anyway.

First date

Unless you have access to a Back-to-the-Future DeLorean time machine, you’ll never have a second chance to mak

Maybe they should have tried Champagne instead ...
Maybe they should have tried Champagne instead …

e a first impression. And first impressions are very important in romance. First dates should be celebrations, and nothing says “celebration” like Champagne. Here’s a fact: Studies have shown that women’s least favorite color is orange, and the color ranks very low with men as well (it would probably rank dead last with men if not for the University of Tennessee and Cleveland Browns football teams). However, when you slap that color on a Champagne bottle, magic happens, and everyone wants a little magic on a first date.

Suggestion: Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut non-vintage Champagne. Veuve Clicquot is crisp, fun and consistent year after year, which is why it’s one of the world’s best-selling Champagnes. Even if you do not like Champagne, you’re probably going to like this one because there’s simply nothing not to like. With an alcohol level of only 12 percent, it will keep you in fine form throughout the evening, especially if it turns out to be a very good first date.

First seduction

Don’t kid yourself; you know when the first seduction is coming, so you want to be properly prepared. This occasion calls for a big red, a heady wine with substance and power that will put you in the perfect mood for a night of romance. This is a time when you want to pull out a Super Tuscan, but not one so good that you’ll remember the wine more than what comes later.

Suggestion: Antinori Tignanello. A blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this Super Tuscan has it all: power, polish and persistence. It has inviting aromas and flavors of dark, but not forbidden, fruits, to go with a firm structure and a succulent finish.

Veuve Clicquot is always a good choice when celebrating romance.
Veuve Clicquot is always a good choice when celebrating romance.

Marriage proposal

Whether you’re the man or the woman doing the proposing, it’s important to choose the right wine when you’re asking someone to spend what amounts to, at least theoretically, the rest of their life with you.

The first thing to do is to order and drink some of the wine before you propose, not only to help you gather the nerve to pop the question, but to help lessen the blow if he or she says no, or worse yet, “let me think about it.”

You want a wine that is top of its class, but you also need to be flexible and accommodating, because if he or she says yes, you’ll be doing a lot of that in your future. If your hopeful spouse-to-be is eating fish, then you need to order white wine, and if he or she is eating meat, then make it red wine. The choices in Burgundy tick both of those boxes.

Suggestions: If white, go for Maison Louis Jadot Puligny-Montrachet. If red, try Maison Joseph Drouhin Nuit St. Georges “Les Proces” Premier Cru. Both are elegant, powerful wines and even if your proposal is rejected, look on the bright side: You’ll be drinking really good wine.

First pregnancy confirmation

Finding out you are expecting a child is cause for celebration, but of course if you’re the woman having the baby, it will be an alcohol-free celebration. That does not mean the father-to-be cannot whoop it up with a little tipple. This occasion calls for a big, opulent, fruit bomb that bursts with flavors and will make you glow. This is a time for a California Cab.

Suggestion: Shafer “One Point Five” Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon. There are plenty of great California Cabs to choose from, but go for this one because they sell it in half bottles and guys, you really don’t want to drink a whole bottle of awesome wine in front of a mother-to-be who can’t join in. Velvety smooth and rich with complex layers of fruit and spice flavors, this is a wine you could also cellar and enjoy in celebration of your little one’s 18th birthday.

Proviso: If you’ve learned you’re expecting multiples, sneak one shot of any 80 proof liquor you can get your hands on for every additional child you’re expecting. The cheaper the hooch, the better, because you’re probably going to be living cheap for a long time. Upon the birth of your little one or ones, repeat this process, but include the mother because she’ll need it more than you.

Never let it get to this stage.
Never let it get to this stage.

25th wedding anniversary (or finalization of divorce)

You’ve made it, or … you haven’t. Either way, it should be a celebration of 25 long years together, or of a new start in life. Coming full circle, both of these occasions call for Champagne, but no ordinary one. You want a vintage Champagne.

Suggestion: Dom Pérignon. This Champagne is named after Dom Pierre Pérignon, a French Benedictine monk who was an early pioneer in the production of Champagne. It’s an appropriate choice because whether you’re celebrating a divorce or 25 years of marriage, you’re probably living a life that is similar to a monk’s in at least one way and it’s better to wine about it than to whine about it. It’s also an appropriate choice because Dom Pérignon is simply an outstanding Champagne that has a large percentage of Chardonnay and no Pinot Meunier, keeping it fresh and lively for years and years. It’s a shame the same could not be said for marriage if you’re getting divorced, but when you open a bottle of Dom Pérignon, it’s easy to make new friends and start the wonderful wine-drinking relationship cycle all over again.