September 18, 2006

How to Order Wine in a Restaurant

Wine OrderingOrdering wine in a restaurant can be a daunting task. Which label do you choose? How do you pair it with food? What price point do you hit? We've always heard never to order the second-least expensive bottle on the menu because it's the one restaurants mark up the most.

Check out the tips we found below, focusing on pairing, as well as other tips you'll find helpful when the sommelier is looking at you with that crooked smile, waiting for you to make your choice.

When pairing a wine with food, think about the weight and texture of both. Pair light wines with light foods, full-bodied or heavy wines with heavy foods. Think about it – the reason that steak and Cabernet Sauvignon are a classic pairing is because both are full-bodied and hearty, and therefore won't compete with each other for control of your taste buds. By that same token, if you're eating something light, oysters or cheese, for example, you'll want a lighter style wine to complement it.

Here's a quick crash course on light and heavy grape varietals that you'll see on a lot of wine lists:

Light whites – Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling
Heavy whites – Chardonnay
Light reds – Pinot Noir, Gamay
Heavy reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel, Grenache


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Posted by Head Wino at September 18, 2006 7:04 AM
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