Picture this: The sommelier pours the first taste of a recently opened bottle and stands expectantly, waiting for you to taste it and declare the bottle acceptable. But what are you really supposed to be tasting for? If the wine is well balanced? Too tart? Just right?
It turns out that what you are really supposed to do is quite simple in theory; and a little bit hard to do in practice. The primary thing you are doing is tasting to make sure the wine is acceptable for your guests and specifically, if the wine is flawed. Now, you don’t have to analyze if the tannins are in balance or if the winemaker had a heavy hand with the oak. You are simply tasting to see if there is a wet dog in your glass. Continue reading “What Do You Do When You Taste the Wine?”
So, how can you tell if the person coming to your table knows what they are talking about? Well, if you carefully check their lapel pin, the color of their pin will tell you what level of certification they have achieved.
Can you remember the first wine that you fell in love with the first time you sipped it? The ephemeral experience of a wine that tickled all the right spots, made you want another sip, and caused you to become a fan? When that happens, it often becomes one of your go-to wines. When we hit the store trying to find a wine for an event or to share with friends, we browse the aisles and end up…. exactly at the same spot, with our old friend, our go-to wine.
In a separate post, I wrote before about buying your wines aged and ready to drink rather than heading to your local retailer and buying some “fresh” stuff. There are several online retailers that specialize in these older gems which have a great selection of ready-to-drink age-worthy wines for you to grab today and enjoy at your next special dinner.
We can thank the Romans for bringing the art of growing grapes and making wine to all of the areas they conquered over the centuries. But the homeland of the empire, Italy, has been making delicious wines for thousands of years. That means they know what they are doing.
Unfortunately, many of the great Italian wines are from native grapes and species we have never heard of. Many people are familiar with Barolo and Barbaresco from the Piedmont area, as well as the elegant Chiantis from Tuscany, but this barely scratches the surface of the wines available from Italy.
Every restaurant tries to strike a balance between offering an impressive and encyclopedic wine list with one that its customers can pick a selection from with relative ease.
But the kinds of restaurants we typically wine-and-dine clients at usually fall at the phone book-sized end of the spectrum, where they offer hundreds of wines in every variety to choose in pairing with your food.
While it would be tempting to spend an hour or two perusing such a list, the pressure is on to choose something fast; you can tell your guests are thirsty and their parched eyes are boring into you waiting for your decision.
There’s a famous line from the movie “The Jerk” where Steve Martin finishes a bottle of 1966 Chateau Latour Bordeaux the waiter asks if he would like another. Martin says no, he’d like to splurge and get some fresh stuff – “no older than this year.”
We all have a few favorite restaurants that deliver amazing service, great food and … an uninspiring wine list. Fortunately, there is an alternative to forcing yourself to drink something you don’t want: it’s an ideal time to bring that special bottle of wine, or two, from your cellar along with you. But how do you do it? Continue reading “How to Bring a Bottle of Wine to a Restaurant”
One of the challenges when we go out to eat is pairing the right wine with whatever we’ve ordered. That hurdle only gets higher when we’ve taken out clients for a night on the town and it’s our role to choose the wine for the meal.
So what do you do when people start placing their food orders – and they’re all over the menu? I remember a time I took three clients out to a meal at a lovely continental restaurant and all four of us ordered something different: there was one steak order, one order of Chilean sea bass, one person chose lamb, and the fourth person, a vegetarian, chose the pasta. Continue reading “Red, White, Or Rose? Pairing Wine When People Order Different Meals”