In vino veritas... it is said because a glass of wine can make us let our guard down and prompt us to say things that we would otherwise keep to ourselves. After all, this Latin proverb means 'in wine is the truth"and Horace himself wrote that kings tortured their friends with wine to find out if they had anything to hide...

Yet for me in vino veritas also means something else... something more related to "tell me which wine you choose and I will tell you who you are". So it is another way of understanding that in wine is the truth. So I thought I would write this article to give you 4 little tips to help you make a good impression with your friends, with the person you like or on a business occasion.

Have you been invited to dinner and don't know which wine to choose? Do you spend hours in front of the supermarket shelves looking and looking at endless rows of bottles with your gaze lost in emptiness? Are you at a restaurant and the wine list doesn't tell you anything? I am here to help you!

Small clarification on first dates: etiquette dictates that a woman must not drink more than the man! So if you are a man, never forget to ask your guest if she would like another drink... and if you are a woman, wait for him to ask you! I know, we are no longer in the Middle Ages... but even looking like a not-so-anonymous alcoholic on a first date is not the best...

In vino veritas: 5 little tips for choosing the right wine

In vino veritas/1: choose wine according to the cooking rather than the ingredient!

Raw, short cooking or steaming require less structured wines than long cooking or rich in fat. With the former, choose a fresh and acidulous white wine, perhaps aromatic such as a moscato giallo Alto Adige DOC wine. With the latter, a soft, alcoholic red wine such as a Barbera d'Asti DOCG wine. With fried and fatty foods you always prefer a sparkling wine that is more or less structured depending on the main ingredient.

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In vino veritas/2: choose wine by where you buy it!

In wine shops get advice from the staff: they almost always know what they are selling and many wine merchants are really knowledgeable. At the supermarket don't invest too much: the storage of the bottles is wrong to begin with (very bright lights, vertical bottle arrangement) and the product is unlikely to arrive at your home perfectly preserved.

In vino veritas/3: choose the wine according to the company!

A woman tends to go for white and floral wines or wines with a high residual sugar content, a man for red and spicy wines or dry and not very aromatic whites. These are not just clichés: this fact stems from many factors, including environmental and psychological. However, remember not to generalise: so much depends on the culture of the person in front of you! If you don't know anything try to choose an easy wine that will lead the way to something more interesting should the company require it.

In vino veritas/4: choose wine according to 'occasion/price' ratio

Value for money must be a priority: regardless of how much you can spend, never invest the wrong amount in the wrong wine because you would be throwing money away. Every wine has its price and this is determined, among other things, by the yield of the grape variety, the work in the vineyard and cellar, the ageing process and the brand. Also, be careful not to overdo it: spending on wine should always be commensurate with the place and the occasion so as not to cause inconvenience either way.

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I'll let you in on a secret: if you generalise you will always make a bad impression! I'll dispel a myth right away: matching a white wine with fish and a red wine with meat is nonsense! Making a good impression with your friends when choosing the wine is easy, you only need to think less than a minute about the menu for the evening:

Do you eat raw fish or meat? A South Tyrolean white wine will prove to be the winning choice! So go for Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon (beware that its nose is not for everyone...) and if you really can't choose, go for Pinot blanc: with its pleasant but not intrusive nose, everyone will like it! And if you want to take a chance... try a Lagrain Rosé!

Do you eat eel, fish soup or similar? Try a good lambrusco... and if you really don't like this type of wine, choose a TrentoDOC bubbly.

Having a braised meat or a roast? Choose a Sangiovese Riserva, a Barolo or a Brunello di Montalcino.

Grilled sausages and mutton? Better a Sangiovese or a young Pinot Noir.

Finally, remember that a Metodo Classico such as Franciacorta DOCG, Trento DOC or Champagne AOC is like that worn-out aviator blue duster you have in your wardrobe: it goes with everything! And it always makes you look good!

But please: if you ask for Franciacorta, don't always think only of Ca' del Bosco o Bellavista. There are many other excellent Franciacorta wines... create your own taste!

And remember that talking about Sangiovese means nothing: it is just the name of the grape variety! Then there is the appellation, the winery, the vintage... Every Sangiovese is fundamentally different! Did you know that Brunello di Montalcino is Sangiovese?

Chiara bassi in vino veritas wine blog

One last thing! If you want to make a good impression with your friends... watch how you hold your glass! If you're a man, don't hold it like a woman's breast, if you're a woman, don't hold it like the last pair of your Christian Louboutin sale pumps. Hold the glass at the furthest point from your belly so as not to alter the temperature of the wine (I only give you the belly if the wine is too cold and you want to warm it up).

Be elegant, drink in small sips and enjoy each one. And remember that nothing gratifies the senses more during a lunch or dinner than drinking the right wine with the right dish.


Cheers 🍷


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