The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

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

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