Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to Order Wine in a Restaurant

"His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy . . . . He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready."

I'm pretty confident that Enimem was not referring to his feeling prior to having to place an order for wine at a restaurant. But many mere mortals can be pushed to feel such emotions when thrust into the spotlight that accompanies wine ordering for an important meal.

Even for those of us with moderate wine knowledge, taking charge of wine selection can be nerve wracking, particularly if one is trying to impress a date, family members or their boss or work colleagues.

There are some simple rules to follow. (For more on How to Order Wine in a Restaurant, Savvy Cellar is offering a class on Monday June 29th, 7pm, $49):
  1. Ask for input. Most decent restaurants will have at least one person staff who is somewhat wine knowledgeable or at least knows what is decent on their wine list. In addition, you can sample your dining companions as to their basic preferences - white or red, chardonnay or cabernet, etc.
  2. Don't buy low (or high). Often times the cheapest wines on the wine list are the most highly marked up. Don't waste your money - look for moderately priced wines.
  3. Food (generally) loves acid. If you are not an expert on food & wine pairing, a good rule of thumb is to select wines that tend to be higher in acid - sparkling wine, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir.
  4. If it grows with it, it goes with it. Given that wine comes from the earth, it often will pair well with food that also comes from the same region. Argentinian beef? Go with an Argentinian Malbec. French game? Try a Burgundy.
Read more about food & wine pairing myths "Red wine with hamburgers, white wine with fishburgers".

To learn more about How to Order Wine in a Restaurant join us for our class offered this Monday June 29th at 7pm. Put your knowledge to practice with tasting. $49. Savvy Cellar Wine Club Members pay for one, bring a guest for free!

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