The Wine List & The Sommelier: 10 Tips
Mon, 09 December 2013
Navigating an aging, leather bound wine list can be an intimidating thing. Don’t worry; your sommelier is there to help. It is the sommeliers’ job to guide the diner to the best food and wine matches in the restaurant so don’t be afraid to let them know exactly what you like. Here are some tips to get you started on your next wine-tasting adventure.
- To begin, decide whether you’re feeling adventurous or familiar – and let your sommelier know.
- Wine taste is much like a perfume preference. Get to know your unique palate. Descriptors like crisp and dry, woody, spiced or fruity are good. Knowing your favourite grape is better.
- Be explicit about the price point you’re aiming for. It’s easy to do this without divulging dollars and cents: just point to a reasonably priced wine and say, “something in this price range would be ideal.”
- Both aged and young wines have their virtues. A vintage can evoke nostalgia and depth, whilst young wines benefit from modern technology and typically express fresher and crisper flavours.
- It is generally best to avoid the house white if you’re looking for a decent wine. You’ll get a better deal on quality by spending just a couple of dollars extra for the next inexpensive white on the list.
- When dining in a restaurant, wine selections should always arrive before your meal. Don’t forget to match your selection with the meal!
- Don’t be intimidated by the sommelier – it is their job to help you find a wine that you enjoy. A pretentious sommelier is doing their job wrong.
- Ordering a half or full bottle is almost always more reasonable than by the glass, especially if you’ll be having a couple of glasses anyway.
- What do you do when the sommelier hands you a cork? The idea here is to check for counterfeits on more expensive wines. All you need to do is ensure the maker’s mark on the cork matches that on the bottle.
- Whether you’re ordering a glass or a bottle, always insist on tasting beforehand. There is no need to gargle, swirl, or slurp – just take a sip. If the taste is pleasing, great! If not, do let your sommelier know so they can find something else for you.
It may take some time and a couple of probing questions, but when an excellent food and wine match is created it takes the experience of both the dish and wine to a whole new level. Wines are crafted to be enjoyed with food, and we at Taylors adopt this approach when crafting our wines. Our philosophy of delicacy and balance in flavours means that our wines are never overbearing, but rather full of flavour whilst maintaining balance so as to complement your meal.