Ask a French Girl About Wine
08.27.15

Our resident French Girl is back; staunch as ever in her love of brunch, as French as ever when it comes to romance, as confused as the rest of us when it comes to digital romance. In our most recent story with Laura, we spoke about summer and ended the conversation on the topic of wine. But you can’t be expected to have just one glass, right? Not with a friend this fun. So we poured another and let the questions continue…

Is there a right and wrong way to order wine?

The right way is to say, “Please,” and with a smile. The wrong way is to order wine before noon — it is way too early.

Do you actually try to “party” with wine, like get drunk off of it?

You enjoy wine. When it’s good, you can end up drinking enough that it gets you tipsy, although it is quite known that red puts you to sleep. I wouldn’t be able to party with red. I would be enjoying it too much and forget to dance.

Do you think rosé is lame?

Rosé is beautiful.

What about wine for a certain event or time of day? Lunch, dinner, party?

There is no such thing as a “lunch wine” or “night wine.” The food is what’s deciding for you. No matter if it’s day or night, when you eat a big steak, you’ll want a a strong red to keep it company. Do you have one SPF cream for the pool, and another for the beach? No, it depends on the sun. Same thing.

Do you follow wine rules? Like: red with steak, white with fish? 

I like my steak with red and a lighter meal with white, but it’s not so much about rules as it is about common sense because of their core acidity and flavors.

I’m at a restaurant, I don’t recognize any of these wines on the list. I’m embarrassed to ask, but want a glass. What do I do?

Ask yourself what you’re in the mood for when it comes to taste, then tell your waiter. Part of the beauty of wine is that there is always something to discover. Unlike chicken. How many different chickens have you eaten?

It is completely fine to not know anything on the wine list. It’s also not rude or “cheap” to get the house wine when you are in a restaurant.

Do you cringe when we mispronounce French/Italian wine labels in an attempt to sound French or Italian?

I believe in the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans,” however, I never pretend I know how to grammatically and rapidly order an American non-fat cappuccino with soy milk in a size grande with foam. But mispronouncing the label of an Italian or French wine is not a big deal, as long as you get what you ordered.

Does anything besides my questions bug you about the way Americans order wine?

Nothing bothers me about the way Americans order wine. It would be like me annoying an Italian person when I ask for pasta al pomodoro. Haha! Maybe they are annoyed, actually.

NO-WINE

Get more Brain Massage ?
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  • Aren’t we all as confused as the other about online romance at this point? Thanks Tinder. As far as wine goes, I really, really try to drink wine, and I do enjoy it, on occasion. I’m a beer boy through and through though.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

    • Andrea Raymer

      I just finished the Online Dating chapter in Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance book, and it is fascinating. It didn’t really answer my questions, but it put things into perspective. I highly recommend it.

    • Lua Jane

      I think whoever came up with online dating apps did just a major favor to hook up culture. Getting to know someone is virtually impossible through that. Conversations begin with unsolicited dick pics and prefered sex positions, not books, music or whatever people may like. Any attempt of courtship and showing genuine interest is just skipped.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I never order wine and restaurants because I feel like people are judging my choices. I feel this way about all alcohol, which is why I drink in my apartment, free of judgement.

    • Tip: pick the one with the middle price. Not the most expensive, and not the cheapest. Pick the most expensive and they’ll (waiters) think you’re just going off of price. Pick the cheapest and they’ll think you’re cheap.

      OR, say f it and pick with your eyes closed!

      • Samira Paydar

        I’m pretty sure your waiter doesn’t care that much…

        • It was said as a joke….internet not very good with at portraying tone lol

          But sometimes waiters are total assholes, and they do judge.

          • Samira

            You’re right about the Internet, because I was trying to say “who cares, just do you!” ultimately they’re just trying to provide good enough service for a decent tip. If they’re judgmental that’s on them

          • haha that is why I add far more exclamation marks in texts than I normally would. Is that something to do with not sounding bossy/upset? Probably! There is a (slightly) funny Buzzfeed skit on 25 y.o’s going to a fancy restaurant and the waiter judging every move they make. Sometimes I think the younger you are, the more pressure you feel to not sound ignorant and come across as “knowledgeable” (whatever that actually means)

      • My boyfriend insists that there is no difference between something expensive and “two buck chuck” – which is silly considering how picky and judgmental he is about his craft beer…

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    • Then go to the restaurant alone! No one will ever know which one you take 😉

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    • You really should not be scared to ask, I do it regularly (even if the Bordeaux is my drug of choice) and I am french.

  • KT41

    I don’t think there’s any reason to be pretentious about wine or intimidated by it (i.e., afraid to ask the waiter questions to learn more before you order). I compare it to ice cream … I could talk about all the various types of ice creams–Ben and Jerry’s vs Hagan Daaz vs Breyers etc–and tell you why I like one over the other, which flavors are best and why, and why I am in the mood for one one day and another on another day. So why can’t we speak with equal confidence about wine? They’re not exactly the same thing but if I can identify traits I like in ice cream, I can do the same for wine and enjoy it. I live in San Francisco and I think for the most part, wait staff here are happy to answer questions and not make you feel dumb so that helps. And the more you drink, the more you know!

    • And the more you spend! Definitely in a waiter’s best interest to really point you in one you’ll enjoy, which increases the chances of ordering more or an entire bottle!

  • Leandra Medine

    LAURA I HAVE ONE FOR YOU!!!! Does sake count as wine?

    • Leandra Medine

      Actually, one more: is it un-chic for me to order napa wine instead of french wine? CALIFORNIA GRAPES ARE JUSS SO GOOD.

      • Krista Anna Lewis

        CA is never not chic.

      • As long as it’s organic Leandra. Remember the awful things those grapes are sprayed with! The French grapes, I have heard (Netflix documentary), are less commonly sprayed.

  • Lindsay Chatham

    “Rosé is beautiful.”

  • Lauren at Adorn La Femme

    I agree! No need to feel self conscious about ordering wine…the trick is to ask a lot of questions and go with the mood you are in!! And yes, not before noon! Ha ha!! xo

    Kisses,

    (=’.’=)

    -Lauren

    adorn la femme

  • Camilla

    Should I be using more than one SPF?

  • I didn’t quite understand how great wine can be with food until I went out to Tria, a great restaurant in Philadelphia. We wanted some cheese with my white wine and his beer, but we had no idea what to pick from the menu. The waiter suggested a cheese that truly made the wine (and cheese) taste more interesting and complex.

    As a European transplant to the US, I love the French girl series!

  • I agree with everything! You should try Portuguese wine.