Many of us know less about wine than we would like. The idea of being a wine connoisseur sounds like an appealing one, but you may have yet to be able to decipher the difference between a Pinot Grigio and a Riesling. Understanding wines can overwhelming with there being such a wide range to choose from. However, there is no need for you to feel discouraged. A major part of understanding wines is learning about which ones appeal to you. There is no strict code on what you must drink.
When understanding wines, the best director can be your own palate. Wine tastings are a perfect opportunity to try a variety of wine types and determine which ones you like best. Then, when it comes time to order, you can request a wine similar to the one you loved. Some restaurants will even allow you to sample the wines (within reason) before you buy.
A wine list at a restaurant can be daunting, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid it altogether. Many restaurants will take the time to match certain wines with their dishes, adding an entirely new dimension of flavor to your meal. If you’re concerned about impressing your dinner partner, you could do research on the wine list beforehand. Most restaurants will post their wine list on their website.
One of the best ways to order wine at a restaurant is to decide what you’re eating first. If you can get a good idea of what else you will be ordering, then you can narrow down the wine selection to the type that pairs well with your meal. While red wines are often consumed with steak, white wines go great with seafood dishes. Choosing between red or white wine will cut your choices in half. Some restaurants may even offer pairing suggestions.
Sometimes it can be tough to admit that you need help understanding wines. However, you can never learn if you don’t ask. Knowing a bit of your personal wine preferences will help the server know what to recommend to you. Consider the characteristics of one of the best wines you’ve tasted—were they light and crisp, or sweet and heavy? Using adjectives will assist the sommelier in helping you make a decision.
Remember the most important thing about understanding wines, and that is to follow your taste buds. Just because a certain wine may be listed as the most expensive, prestigious wine on the menu, that doesn’t mean that you will necessarily like it. What is top notch wine to one person may not be as good as their favorite mid-range bottle. On the other hand, selecting the cheapest bottle on the menu is not likely to produce great results as well. Choosing wine based solely on price is the first step towards making a bad decision.
An important factor in understanding wines is allowing yourself to be adventurous. Asking the server to go into further detail about a wine that sounds interesting is a good way to find something new that you might love. Perhaps you’ve never before tried a wine with “hints of pineapple,” but you’ve always been a fan of tropical fruit. Branch out, and you’ll never know what you might find!
At Ceres Bistro in Worcester, Massachusetts, we have iPads that will help take the guesswork out of selecting the perfect wine for you. Our iPads describe each wine in greater detail. We can suggest the perfect wine to pair with your meal, or we invite you to visit our bar to sip some of our fine wines. Contact us or make a reservation today!
What have you found are some of the most successful ways of understanding wines better? We’d love to hear your input in the comment section below!