What Goes With Your Spring Crush?

by Diane McMartin

Ah, Spring. Tulips pushing out of damp mulch, the first, furtive glimpses of bare shoulders, and, on the East Coast, cicadas crawling out of the ground to destroy your sanity. A time of fecundity, when your thoughts turn to your next sweaty makeout session. Or, in our climate-changed world, a time of wildly swinging temperatures, high winds, and freak snowstorms. Either way, crushes are an excellent distraction. Here are some wines to drink with said distractions — or while thinking of them. Because sometimes the thinking is the best part…

The Cute Barista — How do their hairstyles come to exist? Do really cool people all just cut one another’s hair? Because I think if I walked into a salon and tried to have the stylist give me some avant garde, asymmetrical ‘do, they would take one look at my clothes and just say, ‘oh, honey, no.’ But your barista crush somehow manages to make this hair happen, and you can’t stop staring at it. Even when you’re in the mood for a big, sugary mocha with a mountain of whipped cream, you refrain and order a macchiato (a real one, for gods’ sake!) so as not to look like a gross person who doesn’t appreciate real coffee. For this type of crush, it’s important to get in touch with your inner hipster. It will give you confidence. Find a sparkling Gamay from the Loire Valley that’s great with charcuterie someone made in their basement. Then go ahead and order that mocha and ask out the damn barista, and open your cool, fizzy red. So what if you’re not in a band?

The Promising OKCupid Date — The profile strikes just the right balance between snark and honesty. You love that she shares your inexplicable love of the short-lived BBC show Spaced, or the way his chin looks in that photo of him in Buenos Aires. You’ll likely be ordering by the glass — ordering a bottle to share is more of a commitment, seems too couple-y. So it’s more about what you order for yourself says about you. These dates are always so awkward, and since no one wants to commit to a meal, you’re often stuck drinking on an empty stomach. So a glass of something sparkling that’s reasonably priced is a good option. It’s usually a smaller pour than a glass of still wine, which helps with the empty stomach problem, and ordering something like Cava or Prosecco is festive in a casual way.

The Guy On The Train — Have you ever extrapolated so much information from the couple of inches of sock between pant and shoe? Ooh, he’s reading The Economist — he must be smart and informed! Or possibly weirdly conservative! But it’ll all work out. Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige in northern Italy provides the perfect balance of substance and refreshment. The names and bottles will look German (the long, skinny shape), but the wine will be crisp and dry, with just enough weight to sip alone, and by that I mean both without food and by yourself, because we don’t live in a television show. Whose meet-cute story comes on a mass-transit car where everyone’s bleary-eyed and caffeine-deprived?

The Work Crush — A reason to keep your eyebrows from heading too far into Frida territory if there ever was one. You need something to accompany savoring the delicious anticipation and parsing his or her every phrase with your friends. For this, I suggest the Trashy Rosé‎ Spritzer. Take a pint glass and add some ice. Fill the glass ⅓ to ½ with the cheap rosé‎ of your choice. Dry is best. Spain is a good place to look for cheap rosé‎. I mean, try something from Provence if you want to get into the Peter Mayle of it all, but they’re usually just pricey enough to make you feel bad about adulterating them. Anyway, add a dash of whatever juice you like, but keep it in the red or pink family. Pomegranate, cranberry, you get the idea. Fill the glass the rest of the way with seltzer. If you really want to get crazy you can add a nice garnish, like a slice of blood orange, or one of those fancy, artisan maraschino cherries that aren’t an alien color. The juice and seltzer will keep you hydrated for intense analysis.

The High-School Reconnection — So, what goes with Google-stalking and wondering how much fatter/more wrinkled you are now than when you were practically an infant? Christ, I don’t know. I hesitate to recommend anything, because why encourage this behavior? But if you’re actually meeting up with someone you had a thing with in high school or college, it’s time to show that you’ve arrived, that you’re an adult, and Know Shit. For this kind of reuniting, which feels so … nerve-wracking, you’ll probably be at a restaurant. Order something impressive, but not too on the nose. Like, don’t order a big, stonking Napa Cabernet. We’re not businessmen with giant expense accounts and too-large cufflinks circa 2003. You want to look serious, and like a grownup who’s arrived? It’s Barolo time. Bonus points for asking that it be decanted, which, given how young most Baroli on restaurant wine lists will be, it will need. With its unique, orange-tinted color, serious tannins, and crazy, complex aromas that call to mind everything from asphalt to rose petals, it stands up to serious conversation and big, braised meat dishes.

And, don’t worry: You look great.

Previously: What Goes With Your Netflix Marathon

Diane McMartin is a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers and a graduate of a fancy-pants wine and beverage education program in St. Helena, CA. This required many flashcards and a lot of coffee. She lives in the Washington, DC area, where she works in retail teaching wine education classes, helping customers find the perfect wine, and wading through the seemingly endless ocean of bad Chardonnay out there.