Ordering a Bottle at a Restaurant

bottle of red wineYou’re at a fancy restaurant and you’re the one who orders the bottle of wine. As the person who takes that initiative, it’s presumed you are the one who tastes the wine first.

Have you ever felt that uncertainty with what to do when the bottle arrives?

Do you often pass the initial taste on to someone else, fearing you’ll be “revealed” — that you actually don’t know what you’re doing?

Fear no more. Why? Well, first there’s no wrong way to accept the bottle, silly. And if the wine is fine, then in the end, whatevs, right? Having said this, though, tradition has been in place for years for good reason and I’ll explain why below. Follow these five steps and in not too long, you’ll look like a wine connoisseur.

Step 1 – Look then nod.

When the bottle arrives at your table and you’re presented with the it, don’t nod right away. I know many of us do that without even really looking at the bottle. Now imagine, what if you nod at the bottle and it happens to cost twice as much as the one you actually ordered? Hell no, don’t want that to happen! So, look, really look and then nod only if the server brought the right bottle.

Step 2 – Take a quick sniff.

This is a preliminary sniff and you’ll catch anything “off” immediately. It’s a quick way to eliminate the next step if the wine in that bottle is bad. Don’t be afraid to put your nose in the glass.

Step 3 – Tilt the glass then look.

After you smile and nod, (it’s always nice to smile) indicating that the wine is what you ordered, the server then opens the bottle and pours a little out for you to taste. Most people will just take a sip and nod again, which is perfectly fine if you like what you taste! BUT, if you want to look like you know a thing or two… Hold the glass by the stem and tilt it in the light or candle. Are there sediments? Unless you’re ordering an expensive bottle, there usually isn’t. Does anything look peculiar to you? Hopefully not.

Step 4 – Swirl and take a good sniff.

The easiest way to swirl is to have your glass on the table, hold it by the stem with your fingers and swirl. The act of swirling the wine in the bowl of the glass releases the fragrances of the wine and you can often smell what you’re going to taste.

A rookie mistake is to hold the bowl of the wine glass. Your hands emit heat which effects the aroma and taste of a wine. It’s the same science that explains why chilled red wine isn’t as pronounced.

Step 5 – Sip, swoosh, swallow.

Now the fun part! Make sure you let in some air after your sip and move the wine around in your mouth. You will almost all the time taste what you smell. If the wine is good, nod, smile and give the go ahead to your server to share it with your companion(s)!

Salud!

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