TRICKS OF THE TRADE TO ENSURE A GOOD DROP
The cheapest wine is usually not the best value. It is often on the list at the insistence of the supplier in return for being granted his more sought-after lines.
The most expensive wine is not necessarily the best. Many trophy wines make it on to lists merely to add some class. Mid-priced wines are more likely to have been chosen for value or as an outstanding food match.
If you are on a budget but don’t want your dining partner to know, indicate a wine in your price range to the waiter and ask for an alternative suggestion. A trained sommelier will recommend something within $10 of the wine you pointed out.
Terroir is a wine buzzword, but it applies to food, too. It is considered savvy to select a wine from the same regional source as the dish.
Suggested food matches or tasting notes provide valuable guidance.
Overseas inclusions should be benchmarks rather than esoteric.
Good wine lists always show vintages: the bad sometimes list poor vintages of particular wines.
The ultimate advice is to follow the sommelier’s recommendations. Their sole purpose in their job is to make customers happy. If they do, you win. If not, they will probably fall on their sommelier knife out of a profound sense of failure. This also is a victory of sorts.
Your sommelier may not be off-hand but simply bored with chardonnay. Rob Ingram