The youngest woman ever inducted into the Court of Master Sommeliers, Alpana Singh knows wine like Bill Belichick knows football. The former sommelier at tony Chicago restaurant Everest, she now hosts her own TV show, the local Emmy Award-winning Check, Please! Her book, Alpana Pours, is a funny, female-centric guide to wine and relationships. Playboy.com quizzed this sexy sommelier on what every guy needs to know about wine and women.
Use Wine to Break the Ice
Wine is a perfect conversation starter on a dinner date. "Ask her about what kind of wine she likes," Singh says. "There's really nothing sexier than asking a woman what she wants and what she's into. Let her know what you like, and see if you have any wines in common." If not, don't worry. Tell the sommelier what you each like, and ask for a recommendation that you both might enjoy. "That shows that you're adventurous and you're willing to try new things."
Be Suave About Setting Your Price Point
"On a date, you really don't want to give a price range for a bottle of wine," Singh counsels. "Like, 'Oh, you know, you're only worth 50 dollars.' [Laughs] With the sommelier behind you, you can point to a wine in your range and say, 'You know, I've had this wine and I really liked it'—and point at the price—'so going with that, what would you recommend?'" A smart sommelier will keep recommendations in the price range of that bottle.
Talk About Your Wine Travels
"Tell her if you've been to a winery in Napa or in France," Singh says. "Women like to hear that you're a Prince Charming who has traveled the world. They visualize coming along. It's romantic."
Read Her Like a Bouquet: Two-Minute Wine Personality Guide
If she orders a shiraz..."She's on a planned path, she probably was in a sorority, she's got the career, she's going to get married, and the next thing you know, you're rolling a stroller."
If she orders a cabernet... "Here you have a woman who is a Katherine Hepburn character. She breaks tradition. She's like Amanda Peet in Studio 60. She's running the boardroom, she does not follow the path of what is expected of her, and she's probably a ball buster."
If she orders a pinot grigio... "She's going to be on a diet half the time. You can tell I grew up with brothers, right? [Laughs] Pinot grigio is light and crisp—it's sort of the Diet Coke of wines."
If she orders a grape variety that you cannot pronounce... "Chances are she's extremely well-traveled, and she probably has a taste for the more adventurous things in life. If she's drinking gruner veltliner or gewürztraminer, you've probably got somebody who's a bit of an Angelina Jolie spirit. She'll probably take you flying."
Vino essentials for your pad
Champagne, champagne glasses and an ice bucket
"You're not gonna get the girl unless you have champagne and champagne glasses," Singh says. "It's just not gonna happen."
A light, crisp white
Throw a curveball and pick "something a little off the beaten path." Singh recommends: gruner veltliner from Austria or moscophilero from Greece.
A white that you can tell a story about
"Perhaps you discovered it on a trip, so when you serve it to her, you can tell a little story about it," Singh says. Don't tell her it scored 89 points in the Wine Spectator. "Never score a wine," Singh warns, "because basically all you're telling her is you can read a magazine. She wants to hear that you're exciting and you're willing to discover new things."
A slightly older red
"If it's got a little age to it, and you open it for her, she's going to feel very special," Singh says. A Bordeaux or a California cabernet works. "You don't have to spend a lot of money to get the age," Singh explains. "Italian wines are perfect for this, too, because they do tend to age them a little longer." Her picks: a Brunello de Montelcino or an Italian Barbaresco or Amarone.
"It doesn't have to be fancy," Singh says. When you want the red wine to open up, serve it in a decanter. No need to wait 30 minutes, either—just pour the wine into the decanter and start drinking.
Cheap glasses are good for parties, but when she comes back to your place, break out the nice stemware—you only need two glasses, after all. If she's a red wine fan, "give her the bigger glass for red wine," Singh says. "I'll let you draw the phallic conclusions there."