MOVIES & BOOZE: Wine for a romantic night in

Jean Smullen reviews 2016 Fincas Las Moras LOVE and Bollinger Rose 

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner today I’m going to feature two wines guaranteed to get everyone in the mood for love.   If you’re going out on that hot date here is some sage advice about what to drink.

Dating app TrueView  surveyed its users to find out the best, and worst, drinks you can order on a date.  The survey found that 14% of people would judge their date based on what they ordered, while an astonishing 45% said they would be put off by their drink of choice straight away.

It turns out men are more picky than women in this respect. More than 70% of guys said they would judge their date harshly if they ordered a drink that didn’t meet their discerning tastes, compared to just 30% of women. Of course, quantity matters as much as quality. Nearly a quarter of daters (22.4%) said they believed you should never order more than five drinks on a first date.

Unsurprisingly, shots are a “no/no”  the least popular drinks order on a first date is a shot.  The second least-popular drinks order was cider.  25% of people said ordering cider on a first date was a turn-off.

Though beer was far more popular than both neat spirits and cider, a large number of those surveyed see it as a turn off on a first date. Around 13% of people said ordering a pint of beer is unacceptable, which perhaps goes some way to explaining why they’re still single.

While shots, cider and beer all received the most negative feedback, it seems that white wine and cocktails are the safest options. White wine was deemed acceptable by 100% of respondents, while cocktails and a spirit with a mixer followed closely behind.

Red wine is also up there on the acceptable list,  90% of people said they wouldn’t be put off by someone who chose red wine on a first date.


2016 Fincas Las Moras LOVE  €15.00

Stockists:  SuperValu and independent off licences

So to start off our Valentine’s Day wine recommendation we’re featuring a concept wine called LOVE.  This is from the same company who make DADA which has become a bit of a hit with Irish wine drinkers and which made it onto the top 20 wine brands list last year.

LOVE is a premium Malbec from Argentina,  the wine is oak aged for 9 months.  The fruit for this Malbec is sourced in Tulum and Pedernal Valley in San Juan. 

Argentine Malbec ticks all the boxes and if your date like red wine then this is one to try.   If dining at home I recommend a rib or sirloin steak.  This is a serious Argentine Malbec and will be perfect served with a lovely medium rare steak, dauphin potatoes and either mange tout or broccoli.  

If you really want to push the boat out, you can start the evening with a  fabulous Champagne from Bollinger.  The famous Madame Lily Bollinger was asked when she drank Champagne, she replied "I only drink Champagne when I'm happy, and when I'm sad.  Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.  When I have company, I consider it obligatory.  I trifle with it if I am not hungry and drink when when I am.  Otherwise I never touch it, unless I'm thirsty".

Drinks International magazine have named Bollinger the Most Admired Champagne Brand for the 3rd time in four years, in their exclusive Champagne listing.  The annual Drinks International "World's Most Admired Wine Brands" listing is hotly anticipated every year, awarding  brands for their more intangible achievements which go way beyond simple sales figures.

Bollinger Rose  €80.00

Stockists:  O’Briens . Mitchells , Jus de Vine , Brewers Malahide , Celtic Whiskey Store , Searsons Monkstown , Thomas’s Foxrock

Lets talk about style here!!!   I love Champagne, its one of my favourite wines.  I also particularly love Bollinger.   I was lucky enough to visit the Champagne house in 1996 and that trip really made me realise what a beautiful wine style it is.  Prosecco has killed off the Champagne market.  But what people don’t realise that although Champagne is expensive,  that the wine itself has layers of complexity and is particularly good with food. 

The average consumer does not understand the rarity and value of Champagne.  A visit to the deep limestone cellars of the great Champagne houses where humidity is retained thus ensuring the complexity of the wine as a result of the ageing process, will open your eyes.   Most of these wines are aged for at least four years which add to their quality.  Does the consumer understand that Prosecco is made from a grape called Glera, fermented and bottled in a tank?  Champagne is premium brands and therein lies the key selling point.

The other factor is acidity, that wonderful gripping bite you get from a fresh glass of Champagne.  This is a Rose wine made from Pinot Noir and Meunier,  the house of Bollinger has always preferred to use more Pinot in it’s blend for both rose and white Champagne.  Its what gives it that bitter cherry twist.   It was also the Champagne of choice for James Bond.

Wine Diary 

Lots of wine events coming up in February, look out for Albarino Day on Feb 22nd in Smock Alley which is being organised by O’Briens Wines.   Sheen Falls will be running a series of wine education weekends starting on Feb 23rd & 24th.  On the eve of St Valentine’s Day, fall in love with the classic French wines of Châteaux Léoville-Barton presented by Lilian Barton, Director and Winemaker at Ashford Castle.  More details of all the wine events coming up in February can be found on the wine diary website.