Some tips from Marks & Spencer wine…
When presented with a wine menu in a restaurant, it can be difficult to know where to start. There’s often an extensive selection available, and while restaurants have reputations to protect it’s unlikely you’ll be served vinegar. However, there are a few things which you may wish to consider the next time you’re sat in a restaurant wondering which bottle might go well with your food choices.
|Photograph courtesy of Marks & Spencer wine|
The most important thing to bear in mind is what you actually like. Knowing your own wine preferences, and even the preferences of those who you are dining with, should make it much easier to choose. If you have relatively little experience with wine and aren’t sure what you like and don’t like, then it can be a good idea to try a few different bottles at home. This can be a much less expensive way of discovering your personal preferences. Some wine retailers, such as Marks & Spencer Wine, offer ‘Wine Club’ services, which allow you to try a good mix of expertly recommended wines, and usually provide some useful information about each of the bottles. This can be an excellent way to discover if you prefer wines which are dry or sweet and old world or new world.
You should also think about the food you are planning to order. While many restaurants may take your drinks order before you have chosen your food, to be sure that your wine will compliment your meal you may want to decide which dish you are having beforehand. If you’re ordering a few bottles to share around a group, then it is polite to enquire as to what your guests plan to order, so that you can choose the wines which will be best suited to the table as a whole. As a rule, white meats and fish are complimented by white wines, whilst red wines are better matched to red meats – but this rule doesn’t apply exclusively.
You will also want to think about the time of day at which you are dining, as well as the weather. Earlier in the day, or on especially warm evenings, you might want to keep to light, crisp wines, and those which are served chilled. If you’re dining later in the evening or during the cooler months, then fuller-bodied whites or reds can be a more suitable option. Many restaurants also have a wine waiter or maybe even a sommelier (trained wine steward), who will have a good knowledge of the wine list and can usually make a helpful recommendation if you ask them.
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