One of the great frustrations for a wine lover can be dining out with a friend who doesn’t like wine.
You know how much wine can elevate a meal, and you want your friend to be able to share in that experience. But if you can even get them to stick their nose in a wine glass to breathe in those heady and intoxicating aromas, the response you’re likely to get is, “Smells… winey.”
Don’t give up. There is hope even for the most resistant wine don’t-wannabe. The key is finding a wine – just one – that they like. After that, the domino effect will kick in, and they’ll be willing to try new things.
But how can we help them find that first wine to like?
By knowing the beverages they already like, and then identifying a complementary type of wine.
For instance, if your friend is a soda pop drinker, with a leaning toward drinks with lemon-lime flavor, pour them a glass of Riesling – a wine with similarly tart flavors, but just enough sweetness to satisfy their sweet tooth. Almost any American-made rendition will do.
If your friend puts a lot of cream in their coffee, they may be ready for Chardonnay, which typically has a creamy quality to it. Assuming the wine was barrel-aged, it also may exhibit other nuances common to coffee, including caramel, vanilla and toast.
Black coffee drinkers, however, may be ready to go directly to red wines. A good first choice would be a varietal Malbec, which exhibits impressions of roasted coffee beans and mocha.
Tea drinkers are even more prepped for red wine, and you may want to steer them directly to Cabernet Sauvignon, which has a similarly astringent quality. If they put ice in their tea (i.e., less astringent), go with a lighter-bodied red.
Expose your friend to wines that are similar to their everyday beverages, and before long, you’ll have a wine-savvy dinner companion.