The Mofo Guide To Ordering Wine
There should be no more stress in choosing a wine than there is in choosing your meal, but we know there often is. Of course, there’s no right or wrong. Ultimately, you can order whatever the hell you like, but if you’re looking to take charge and appear like you know what you’re doing while choosing something you and your friends will enjoy, here are a few tips:
Tip #1: Don’t panic
Start with beer or bubbles, it buys you time.
Tip #2: Choose your food first
Food and wine go hand in hand, some better than others. There is some science to it, but here are some simple matches made in vino heaven to remember:
Lamb and Cabernet, Duck or Chicken and Pinot, Fish and Chardonnay (I recommend asking for a cool climate Chardy), Seafood and Semillon (my favourite is Hunter Valley Semillon and oysters), Steak and Malbec, Tempranillo or Sangiovese, especially Italian and Spanish varieties, Pork and Grenache, Vegetarian and Chardonnay or Tempranillo, Asian or spicy food and Riesling
Tip #3: Glass or bottle?
If everyone’s after something different, you might be better off going by the glass. The more interesting stuff is often by the bottle, so if you are all feeling adventurous, go for it. There are no rules though.
Tip #4: Ask the waiter
Check first if they’re into wine, and if they’ve tried much off the list. If they have, they’ll probably have a recommendation for you. Following that, it is worth asking to try something before you order — good places will often do it, but if not, don’t worry about it.
Tip #5: Tasting the wine
Here’s where the fear can kick in. Do I swirl it around? What if I spill it? Why am I sniffing the glass? How can I tell if it’s corked?
Here’s a quick step by step:
1. Swirling releases the smell. Keep the glass on the table. Hold the stem between your fingers, and swirl the glass around flat on the table — it never spills that way.
2. Have a sniff, but don’t get too poncy about it. Keep it casual. It’sforeplay, a teaser for your brain as to what to expect.
3. Take a sip. Savour it, but don’t swish it around like mouthwash (again, too poncy). Swallow.
4. Decide if you like it or not. If it’s tasty — boom! Smile, your job is done. If you don’t like it, frown and ask the waiter or someone else at the table to try it. Not many Australian wines are under cork anymore, so chances are it’s going to be fine. Think about it like you would the food — would you send it back if you didn’t like it, or would you suffer through it? You can treat the wine the same way. Don’t be afraid to ask to try something else.
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Please note, this article was first published on au.askmen.com