How to order wine in a restaurant?
Quick tips on how to order wine in a restaurant:
If you are eating with friends or family, make sure that everyone takes a look at the food menu, and they decide what to eat. Take into consideration if someone expresses a wish about tasting a specific wine.
Decide on a budget. Decide if you are having one or more bottles. The standard-sized bottle of 750ml is 5 glasses. Look at the wine list and find the wines inside your price range; then match one of those with the chosen food, or ask the waiter for help. Don't rush!
Some vintages are better than others. But most restaurants will have only the current vintage available. If you are ordering a more expensive wine of an older vintage, make sure to check professional vintage charts (Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson...etc), the sommelier should also be able to help you. Ps. You can always contact the restaurant in advance to find out about the wine ;)
Australian Shiraz would be difficult to find in an Italian pizza restaurant. Take into consideration the type of restaurant, when ordering wine. And you can't go wrong with Chianti and pizza! '
When consulting with a sommelier, be clear about your wishes, budget, style, and taste. The more information you are able to give, the better help you can get. A professional will understand and respect that.
Avoid buying the second-cheapest bottle. It's a marketing trick done by some restaurants. It's done because some people don't want to be shown as cheepa** so instead of ordering the cheapest bottle, they would order the second-cheapest. Some (not all!) restaurants will use this to get rid of wines, that have been forgotten.
Try to avoid the house wine. Most of the time it would be a lower quality wine and with a high profit for the restaurant. The house wine is mainly a wine that the restaurant got cheap and can sell at a normal or high price. Again this is not for all restaurants.
After you have chosen the wine for the evening, make sure to taste it. If you know the wine, you would know what to expect. If not then ask the sommelier to tell you what the wine could taste like. If you think the wine is funky, ask the sommelier to taste it.
Enjoy your time with the wine (unless you are limited to a timed reservation-common in a popular restaurant, but you would know this in advance), you can even ask the waiter to leave the wine on the table if you want to pour at your own pace. Although a professional waiter will keep an eye on your table and will come to pour wine when he/she sees it's necessary.
Any other tips for buying wine in a restaurant? Send me an email and I will include them!
As always have a WINEderful day!