4 Tips on Ordering Wine at a Restaurant

@Gordons Wine Bar; Photo by Paul Marc Mitchell

The movers from Black Tie Moving just unpacked the rest of your furniture when you notice a nice wine bistro across the street. Ordering wine can be intimidating for some, and this is completely understandable.

This is why we are offering 4 tips on ordering wine at a restaurant.

Choose Your Pairing

If you want to make the most of your wine dining, you need to pay attention to what food you’re ordering it with. Wines pair well with certain dishes, so it’s helpful to know what wine to order with your dinner. While this isn’t an exact science, there are some common dishes that go nicely with different types of wine.

Chicken and fish often go best with white wine. You could attribute this to both white wine and white meats being less potent when it comes to their flavor profiles. If you find yourself more of a steak or pasta eater, your best bet is to order a full-bodied red like a Cabernet Sauvignon or Chianti. The robustness of this pairing is sure to complement one another.

Try the Wine First

Have you ever had a server pour a small sample of wine before pouring your entire glass? There’s a good reason for this. While some might assume it’s to see if they like the wine – that’s not entirely the case. Instead, it’s meant to make sure that the wine hasn’t spoiled.

There are many instances in which a wine can go bad, and it doesn’t have to do with age. (After all, we know wine gets better with time.) Sometimes a cork could be broken, or the wine could’ve been stored in inadequate conditions. The reason you want to try your wine first is to make sure that it hasn’t gone bad. You certainly don’t want to shell out money for a bottle of rotten wine.

@The Louise, Barrossa Valley, Australia

Don’t Simply Order the Most Expensive

Perhaps you’re trying to impress your date with the most expensive wine. While it’s common to think that more pricey wines taste better than their cheaper counterparts, this isn’t always the case. There have been numerous “blind wine tastings” in which the participants had no idea the cost of the wine, and many of them viewed the much cheaper bottles as tasting better.

The psychology behind why we think the more expensive a product is, the better it is – is quite fascinating. Keep this mind before you go for the priciest wine to have with dinner. Most upscale restaurants have their own sommelier, so you can be sure that no matter what wine is offered on the menu is a good one.

@ The Vines of Mendoza Winery, Lavalle, Argentina

Move Past Your Comfort Zone

It’s easy to stick with what we know, but this leaves little room for expanding our wine palettes. When you order wine at a restaurant, try to move away from the wines you already know. This is the perfect opportunity for you to widen your experience with wine.

If you’re not sure what wine to order, you should consider speaking with your server or the restaurant’s sommelier. Most restaurant staff are taught about the wines they carry, so they should be able to provide you with some insight. You can let them know what wines you usually drink, and they will be able to steer you in a direction that’s best for you.

@The Louise, Barrossa Valley, Australia