Wine Mind

For the uninitiated, ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant can be daunting. But once you’ve got this art perfected down to a science, the world will suddenly feel a lot more refined — and aromatic.
Text by David C. Cleland | June 19, 2018 | Lifestyle

A friend recently shared with me his story of the first time he ordered a bottle of wine…After being poured a small measure of wine to taste, he couldn’t understand why the waiter wouldn’t pour him a full glass. So he ignored the waiter, forcing conversation with his date, in the hopes that the server would just pour them both a full glass and leave. After a few minutes of silence, the server asked if there was a problem. Frustrated and embarrassed at this point, my pal replied: “Yes, you haven’t poured us a darn glass of wine yet!”
Although this is an extreme example, it’s easy to make yourself look foolish if you don’t know what you’re doing after you order your vintage of choice. Here’s a quick guide that may not make you a full-fledged connoisseur but will hopefully help you avoid a red-faced blunder next time you eat out.
It all starts with the wine list. Most restaurants’ wines are usually separated by either the variety (such as a chardonnay or merlot) or the region (such as California or Burgundy). The best thing you can do is know the type of wine you like before you arrive. The wine you choose should also complement the food you’re ordering, although it’s no longer required that you must have red with meat, white with poultry and seafood.
For the first-timer, ignore the vintage, unless you’re an expert because it won’t mean much to you. If you don’t know what you want, every good restaurant will have a sommelier…or at the very least someone knowledgeable about wine. These folks are there to help so don’t feel odd about asking them for a recommendation. When it comes to ordering, don’t worry about pronunciation, simply mention the type, vintage and point to the one you want if you’re not sure how to say it.
Once you’ve ordered your bottle, the waiter will bring it over and show it to you. This is when you look at the label to make sure it matches what you ordered. Give the waiter a nod and they’ll open the bottle and give you the cork. Don’t sniff it, just make sure it’s not dried out, as that’s a sign the wine wasn’t stored properly. Next, the waiter will pour you a small measure of wine, so you can swirl, smell and taste it. If you like it, give the waiter a nod and he’ll pour you a full glass. If the wine tastes off, let him know.
Although there are hundreds of books written on wine, following these simple guidelines can help you make a good impression, and feel confident when ordering wine anywhere in the world.