How To Choose The Best Wines In Restaurants
Have you ever found yourself in a fine dining restaurant where you are staring at an extensive wine list and you really don’t know where to start? So many wines with a wide range of prices and a variety of regions from traditional through to the “New World” that you keep hearing about. What do you go for and how do you choose?
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We understand that it can be quite the daunting task, especially if you are not that familiar with the wines on the list, and particularly if you want to come across as though you know what you are doing.
We have spoken to our Head Sommelier at Westminster based Modern Indian restaurant – The Cinnamon Club and we have some advice for you to help you make what can sometimes be a stressful decision into an easy and simple one.
The best wines are the ones you like and within your budget.
Have a budget in mind and look for vintages that are of appeal according to the grape and region you like. Matured wines are normally more expensive, but are not always updated in terms of selling price. Those bottles might have been on the list for some time and the market value of those has gone up. Assess how far it is off your budget and make a decision.
If there are styles of wines that you are keen on and you know what grapes the wine is made of, look in other countries and see if they have similar grapes. Then if you are keen to experiment, there is an opportunity for you.
If the Sommelier is on duty and this can actually be the most fun way to enjoy a glass of wine. Ask for the Sommelier and tell him/her the wines you like and mention to him/her the budget you have in mind. From there they should come back to you with several suggestions and it is very likely that he/she will suggest something below your budget. To be more specific, you should tell the Sommelier if you are after a white, rose, red, with a style of fruits etc.
For whites, tell the Sommelier if you prefer citrus fruits, white fruits, or if you like oak or not, if you like the wine to have a soft acidity or not, and if you like wines to be complex or easily approachable.
For reds, mention if you prefer red to black fruits, if you like oak or not and whether you prefer tannins to be firm or not. Tell the Sommelier if you like wines to have a rich and intense fruit or if you prefer the lighter and fresher style.
If any of these words are of sense and of appeal, they might be the ones to use to interact with the Sommelier and make a friend. After all, the Sommelier would be very keen to see you coming back and have follow up conversations.