How to choose wine in a restaurant and get it right

You have an important work lunch, a celebration with the family, a get-together with your friends… and the wine list falls into your lap. Don’t worry! For many people, choosing wine in a restaurant is like throwing darts with their eyes closed, due to the number of appellations, grape varieties, types of wine and brands available. Well, I have good news, my friends: you don’t need to be an expert to order an amazing wine and impress your fellow diners – follow these simple tips and enjoy your wine!

Sound out the rest of the table

Once you are seated, the first thing to do is to agree on the basics, whether you will order red or white wine. In case you have both preferences, the solution is simple: order both! You should also take into account the food you are going to eat. Nowadays, a multitude of pairings are accepted for different dishes, but the most important thing is to follow a golden rule: that the wine does not camouflage the food and vice versa. To do this, follow the simple rule of “for an imposing dish, a powerful wine, and for a light dish, a lighter wine”. Another good practice that usually has a good effect is to pair gastronomic products from a region with wines from the same area.

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Establish a price range

Price is usually the first criterion we take into account when choosing wine in a restaurant. Once we have located the wines within the range we want, the only thing left to do is to decide… Do not think that you will be stingy by asking for a cheaper wine, it is neither better nor worse. Wine is like music, you will not listen to the same on a Saturday night dancing than on a Sunday afternoon relaxing. Depending on the moment, one type of wine or another will be more appropriate.

When in doubt, ask for help

Don’t think that asking an expert for help will make you look like a novice – not at all! The professionals and sommeliers are there to help you with the final decision. Even so, in order to choose wine in a restaurant and get it right, we should try to transmit to the sommelier all the information about the type of wine we want. In order to do so, a good move is to move with ease by communicating the type of wine we want, but to delegate the final proposal to the sommelier.

Tasting the wine

Once they bring the wine to the table, the first thing they will do is to present you with the bottle so that you can confirm that it is the wine you are going to enjoy. In this case, make sure that the vintage is correct. When they pour you a little bit of wine and wait for your opinion, don’t panic! All you have to do is just smell it and taste it. If the wine is faulty, you will notice it immediately (musty, corky or vinegary aroma or taste). After this moment, swirl the glass to oxygenate the wine, don’t be afraid! Oxygen brings many qualities and accentuates the wine’s aromas. Finally, check the temperature of the wine, it should always be to taste. If you think it’s a little warm, don’t hesitate to ask for an ice bucket to cool it down a little, even if it’s a red! You’ve come to enjoy yourself.

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Our last piece of advice is to enjoy your wine to the fullest, forget pomposity, snobbish etiquette and complexes. Wine is an experience, fun and enjoyment, experiment and try new things! Although if you don’t want to take any risks, opt for a classic Rioja wine such as our Reserva Murillo Viteri is a safe bet. And remember, the best wine is not the most expensive or the most famous, but the one that starts and ends with a smile 🙂 And you, what do you usually have?

And you, what do you usually take into account when ordering wine in restaurants?

Bodegas Murillo Viteri – Rioja Wines

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