Friday, February 3, 2017

Ordering Wine Like A Pro: How To Choose A Wine At A Restaurant

You're going to one of the finest restaurants in the city with a very valuable potential customer and your department head and you're tasked with choosing a bottle of wine for dinner. The potential client is a very big wine enthusiast and your decision can make or break the deal. What do you do? Do you feel panicky? Shortness of breath? Racing thoughts: What if your client hates the wine? How do you pull this off? First, calm down, take a deep breath, and relax. You're a professional, you'll get through this. Choosing wine in a restaurant is not very difficult at all once you know what to look for.

Call Ahead

If you're aware of what restaurant you're going to, check their website for the wine list. If not, call and request one be faxed or emailed to you. This way, you know what you're getting into before you enter the restaurant. You can even call the sommelier and have a conversation about your price point and what kind of wine you're looking for. Once you get to the restaurant, your guests will be impressed by your impressive ability to order wine with ease. If you really want to score with your guests, you can have the wine bottle ready on the table when you get there.

If there isn't time to have the casual chat with the sommelier beforehand, arrive at the restaurant 15-30 minutes early. You'll have the opportunity to converse with the sommelier before your guests arrive. You can also order a bottle or two of sangiovese or pinot grigio as an aperitif for the table.

Talking to the sommelier is critically important in ordering wine at the restaurant. If you take nothing else away from this guide, keep with you: talk to the sommelier.

Ordering at the table

A restaurant wine menu can be quite overwhelming for new wine drinkers. Your eyes may glaze over at first glance. You'll first want to examine how the wine list is organized. Some restaurants separate wines into whites, reds, and dessert wines, while others are arranged by region such as Napa Valley or Burgundy. Local wineries are also included in some wine lists.

Now that you have a basic understanding for how the wine list is organized, did you see the name of a wine you've enjoyed in the past? Keep that wine in the forefront of your mind as you may need to recall it later. Request a sommelier. While waiting for the sommelier to arrive, ask your dinner companions if they prefer red or white wine. Take this information into account when speaking with the sommelier. Give the sommelier very clear directions but empower him or her to find the finest wines that will work for your table within your price range. Communicate cost using your knife, tell the sommelier: "we'll have two bottles of unoaked California chardonnay, in this sort of range (using your knife to point to the price.)" Your sommelier will appreciate your trust.

When the wine arrives

When the sommelier returns with your bottle of wine, check for any signs of decay, mold stained labels or corks, and dirt. If the wine bottle displays signs of improper storage, send the wine back for a different bottle. Your guests will appreciate your cautious nature and attention to detail. If the wine meets your approval, let your waiter or sommelier know to open the bottle of wine.

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