How To: Pick the right bottle for the occasion
Meeting your partner’s parents for the first time? Or, maybe closing that important deal over lunch?
That wine you chose needs to impress - and it often feels like an insurmountable task. You have a list of boutique wine in your hand with the weight and length of a novel, with mere minutes to make a decision, and you need to pick a winner. The easy way out would be to pick a large name you know (like Grange - which is probably at the bottom with all the other very expensive stuff). This can be a problem if you're like most of us without the famed money tree in the backyard.
So, what do you do?
Ideally, if you know you’re going to be choosing, study the wine list online before you get there. Take the opportunity to have a gander and narrow it down to options that work within your budget and what you know of your company’s taste.
If you’re short on time, you’ll just have to hack it when you get to the restaurant. Here’s a few tips:
1. Let food be your guide
Is there a ‘theme’ for the restaurant? If you’re eating seafood you would typically want to stick with white wine. If this night is all about steak or red meat you can go red is a safe bet.
2. Be brave
Look for regions, labels and varietals that seem unique or different and own the result. If you pick something that nobody has tried - there’s a great conversation to be had about it and there are no expectations of you.
So, let the wine choosing process reflect the boldest bravest, funnest version of yourself. Let that person you’re trying to impress see how you operate under pressure.
3. Ask for help
There is no shame in asking for help from a sommelier (if the restaurant has one), Obi Wan Kenobi, or your waiter. Most som’s are extremely helpful with wine recommendations and can communicate discreetly about things like budgets.
Choosing a wine can be stressful - but it always makes for a wonderful conversation.
As always, happy drinking!