August 1, 2012

Don't Let the Wine List Intimidate You!

Often times when you sit down at a restaurant or bar you are immediately handed a wine list. How do you determine what you should order? Do you have a favorite "go to" wine you order. Is it the price? The recognizable name? The color? Or maybe you are intimidated by the list and you choose another beverage?  

Jason Kallsen from The Wine Company and Peter Plaehn from Nicollet Island Inn offer great tips in this video from Above the Burner to help anyone chose a wine they will like.

  • Know what flavors you like: butter, bacon, fruits, spice, etc..
  • Know what price point you want upfront. Never let the staff push you into a range you are not comfortable with paying. No matter how great the wine is it will ruin your experience. 

Small Tips:

  • Ask your server if he or she is a wine drinker. Not everyone is, however restaurants and bars train their employees on the various wines. Often times restaurants will have sommelier; it is his/her job to suggests wines. 
  • I like to decide what I am ordering before I select my wine, this can ensure the wine compliments the food.
  • If ordering a bottle of wine, it should be opened in front of you. The waiter/waitress will often put the cork on the table; smelling the wine cork isn't necessary, however you should look at it to see if it is too dry or moldy.
  • If the wine does not taste right, don't be afraid to send it back. But be specific why you are sending it back.
  • Did you know it is acceptable to bring your own bottle of wine to a restaurant? Find out in advance what the corkage fee (charge to open your bottle) is at the restaurant. 
  • Compare price of glass to the price of the bottle. On average your should get 4 glasses of wine per bottle. I will often order a bottle and take home what I do not drink. (Remember that cork on the table?) This is perfectly acceptable. Enjoy the wine! Be responsible put the bottle in the trunk or backseat. 

I recommend subscribing to Above the Burner for more great videos featuring local chefs, bartenders, and restaurants. They can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

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