You know how to drink it, now know how to order it. Sommelier Rosalind Cooper reveals the five easy steps that will make your wine waiter sit back and listen (and it’s not by saying anything white and cold will be fine).
1. First of all, be confident.
When the sommelier asks if you would like to taste don’t be embarrassed by the theatre of sampling wine. Raise your glass, examine it carefully, then swirl and sniff. Your nose will tell you if anything is wrong. The big trick here is, if nothing smells out of place, you DON’T actually taste the wine.
Just replace your glass on the table, glance at the sommelier and nod ‘That’s fine’. This minimalist approach shows you mean business, you know your stuff and you are content with your wine choice.
2. What are the smells you should be looking (or sniffing) out for?
If you do detect a pungent aroma of mould, or an overwhelming whiff of raw alcohol, then you may have to sip the wine and prove it is undrinkable. If it does smell “off” simply tell the waiter (it very rarely is these days, but it does happen) and they should replace your bottle without fuss.
3. Match with foods.
For those unsure of what wines they like a handy tip is to keep a shortlist (maybe in your phone) of wines you have loved with certain foods.
For instance, if you are always being told to drink Chablis with seafood but you prefer NZ Sauvignon Blanc, then note it down. And also remember lucky matches, like red Rioja with chicken curry, or Riesling with mushroom risotto.
4. Be stubborn.
Remember, stand firm on your favourites – whether they be Chateau Latour or Jacob’s Creek – it’s your choice.
Ask questions (and be ready to say what you like) but don’t give the wine waiter too much leeway or they will try to upsell.
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