4 Must-Know Tips on How to Order Wine When Fine Dining

Fine dining and drinking wine go together like thin-crust pizzas and nutty brown ales. But if you don’t have the basics of ordering wine in a restaurant mastered, you might wind up with some plonk in a bottle.

Wine is a science, but all you need to know is how to read a wine list. If you’re looking to pick up a few pointers on how to order wine, you’re in the right place. Here are some must-know tips on how to order wine at a restaurant:

1. Ask Your Server for Their Suggestions

Ask your server for their suggestions on the best type of wine to pair with your meal. Knowledgeable servers at fine dining restaurants will be able to guide you toward the perfect varietal. They may even know a few tricks that will allow you to score a quality bottle for a better price.

2. Consider Your Meal When Choosing a Wine

When fine dining, it is important to consider your meal when choosing a wine. Select a wine that complements the food you are eating.

White and red wines both pair well with many types of foods. Generally, white wines go better with lighter dishes, while red wines pair better with heartier dishes.

When you order a bottle, focus on the grape variety and the winemaker. For instance, an acidic Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa complements seafood. A mature, full-bodied Chardonnay from the Rhône Valley pairs nicely with creamy pasta dishes.

As for red wines, lighter options such as Pinot Noir pair well with poultry and pork. A full-bodied Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon is good with beef, lamb, and game. 

3. Keep an Open Mind to Try Something New

When ordering wine for a finer dining experience, it is important to keep an open mind. Trying something new can be an exciting experience, as there are so many different varieties of wine.

Having the sommelier recommend a specific variety can be a great way to discover something new. Being able to converse with someone knowledgeable about the selection of wines adds an extra layer to the experience.

Alternatively, researching the list of wines before the meal can also help narrow down your choices. It will allow you to find something that is both familiar and challenging. 

4. Understand the Price Differentiation

Knowing what the various wines on the menu are priced at can help you select one that’s right for your budget. For a lower cost selection, ask for the least expensive bottle by varietal, such as the least expensive Pinot Noir or Cabernet. If you wish to splurge, find a bottle in the upper half of the list, factoring in how much the restaurant has marked up the retail price.

Knowing the cost range is essential for ordering appropriate wines. If you’re dining with someone else, you might want to ask them for their opinion on what you should order so everyone can agree on what to buy.

Follow Our Guide on How to Order Wine if You’re a Beginner

When selecting wine at a fine dining establishment, understanding the basics of wine is key. Know a bit about the types of wine, be honest with the waiter, and listen to their advice. This way, you’ll know the answer to “How to order wine for beginners?”

So what are you waiting for? Use these must-know tips the next time you are enjoying a fine dining experience, and sip away!

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