How do you feel when you are handed the wine list in a restaurant?
If you are like most people, you feel quite uncomfortable and maybe a little overwhelmed about all the options, not wanting to look a fool in front of the waiter.
Well fear not any more we have created a fun check list for you, to give you some pointers the next time you are handed the wine list.
- Take Your Time
Typical scenario – you sit down at the table, the waiter hands you the food menu and a wine list the size of the golden pages. Seconds later s/he is standing over you asking you what decision you’ve made about your choice of wine. This is where you impress your romantic date, business colleagues or friends by simply saying “You have such an interesting wine list, I’ll will need a few moments to decide, thank you” At this point your dinner guest(s) are super impressed with your supposed knowledge and you have given yourself more time to scan this “encyclopaedia of grapes”.
- Share the Responsibility
First easy tip is to decide whether you are ordering red or white wine. Once that decision has been made you are easily cutting the wine list in half. Next ask your dinner guests “do you prefer red or white wine?” Some will have a preference in which case that makes life easier for you, others will reply “I don’t mind”. At this stage you make the decision based on the time of day and type of food you will be eating. For example if you are eating at lunch time it is almost always white wine that is chosen. If you are eating steak, red wine is the preferred options and for fish, white wine.
- Speciality Wines
To make you look like a real connoisseur take a look at where the wines are from. If the wine list focuses more on a specific country for example Italian wine then that means the owner cares more about wines from this region so choose that one.
- Be Brave
If you see a familiar wine that you can buy in the local off licence at half the price and drink it at home, well then that’s not much fun drinking it as a restaurant. So try to choose a wine that you haven’t tried before.
- Time to Ask the Experts
So now you have filtered it down to 2 or 3 choices of wine. Now is the perfect time to ask the waiter. But STOP doesn’t undo all your ‘pro wine’ bravado now after all that hard work. Never ask the waiter “I can’t decide between these wines, what do you recommend?” that is like saying to your guests- hey I really didn’t have a clue when I was looking at the wine list!! Instead ask them “I can’t decide between these 2/3 wines, can you tell me a little more about them please”. At this stage the waiter will either give you some good information about them, or panic and run off to find someone who does know something about them. Regardless, your job at this point is simple – watch their body language. You will see when they are talking about the wines which one they are getting more excited about – and you simply chose that one.
TA DA you are now a professional wine list chooser!
But don’t worry if the wine you chose isn’t as nice as others you have tasted. No one gets is right every time and that’s the fun of trying out different wine lists, you will eventually try ones that become your favourite and then you won’t even need the wine list in a restaurant you will simply be asking your waiter for your wine of choice!
Slante and Saluti