Smart Tricks for Ordering the Best Wine When Eating Out

Admit it; it's a little intimidating and often embarrassing to order wine with a name that you can barely pronounce and in front of an expert sommelier, at that. Chances are you would just point to a safe option on the menu, just like many people who are used to thinking of wine in terms of red, white, pink and bubbly. However, there's a good chance that it may not be the perfect pair for the meal you ordered or the tastiest vino the restaurant or bar has in store. So, how do you make sure you don't order the wrong bottle of wine and spoil your dining experience?

Ask questions

When it comes to ordering wine, there really is no such thing as a silly question. It will be helpful if you tell the server about what you've tried before and the taste you enjoyed or hated. If you want to try a new grape or region, they will often be happy to suggest selections that will tickle your taste buds. The more information you can provide, the better they can tailor their recommendations for you. The most important detail to tell is how much you are willing and able to spend. If you're nervous about sounding cheap, the easiest and most subtle way to do this is to simply say, “I'm looking for something along [state your budget or point a price on the menu].” There will always be a great wine available regardless of how much or how little you wish to spend – you just have to ask!

Learn basic food and wine pairing rules

Ever wondered why some food taste amazing with a bottle of Pinot Noir and not with Cristal? You'll be surprised to know there's a science behind it, i.e. the human taste biochemistry. So, if you hated Rose in the past, perhaps it was because of the food you ate with it. That said, before you shun any particular type of vino; learn the different techniques for perfect flavour pairings. Maybe the next you order it with a different meal, it might actually taste better. If you're preparing for a date and want to make an impression, you could buy a selection of new wines to try, and then order the same bottle you liked later during your rendezvous. Here are some good places to start scouring varieties of new and old wines:

By the glass or by the bottle

While the selection by the bottle is more abundant, most restaurants limit their offerings by the glass. There's always a big difference price-wise, but it really depends on how much you will consume. If you and your date plan on drinking two glasses each or if you plan to have drinks with friends at a bar, you'll be better off ordering by the bottle. But, if you wish to order different wines, then it makes sense to go by the glass.

Check the vintage

Wine tastes and prices differ in terms of the vintage or the year it was fermented. A younger or newer wine should be less expensive, but most old vino will be better tasting. When you order, make sure the right vintage is served on your table. If you're given an older wine because your original order is out of stock, it's a polite gesture for them to extend you the same price on a better variety.

As long as you know these things, you will always have a fantastic dining experience and a higher chance of impressing your date, no matter where your gastronomic adventures might take you.