By June 4, 2011 Read More →

VinoView: Ordering Wine at a Restaurant

Brad Gibson

By Brad Gibson

For a lot of people ordering wine at
a restaurant is an anxious and intimidating
time with too many choices and
unfamiliar names. Was that a good
year? Will the wine go with the food?
Why are you giving me the cork? Understanding
the process can eliminate
the anxiety and leave the other people
at your table impressed.
The good news when it comes to
actually ordering the wine is that usually
the more extensive (intimidating?)
the wine list the more experienced the
waiter or sommelier. Don’t be afraid
to use their expertise. Additionally,
if you see something you know, you
can’t go wrong ordering something
you know you like.
Now that the wine has been ordered
its show time! When the wine is presented
to you, it is merely so you can
make sure it is what you ordered. Examine
the label, specifically, check the
producer and the vintage.
After your waiter or sommelier
opens the bottle of wine they may hand
you the cork, check to make sure the
cork is wet, a sign that the bottle was
stored properly. You also want to make
sure it’s not wet on both ends; if wine
has made its way through the cork there
is a good chance air has made its way
in to the wine. An “oxidized” wine
will smell like sherry.
Once you have approved the cork,
your waiter’s next step is to pour a
small splash of wine for you. This is
done so you can make sure the wine
is “good” or sound. Smell and taste
are the best indication that the wine
is sound. So gently swirl the wine in
the glass to release the aroma, give it
a sniff, and then taste it. If the wine
does not put off any off odors such
as vinegar or must, chances are it is
fine. Remember the flavor and aroma
of wine will expand and develop as it
aerates. It is not appropriate to return
a wine simply because you don’t like
it as much as you thought you would.
Upon approval, the waiter will pour
wine for everyone in your party.

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