If you lack confidence when ordering wine from a restaurant’s wine list you are not alone. You should never be intimidated by wine because wine should be fun and an opportunity to learn. Keep it simple and don’t get caught up in what you don’t know but have an open mind to any interesting suggestions that are offered. While many people fall back on the same old selections or point to a bottle and hope for the best, you can do better with a little preparation. Here are a few tips I learned from a sommelier that will help them find you the best wine for your dining experience.
First and foremost, be honest and engaging when asked about your preferences. Tell them the body and style you like because a restaurant invests a lot of money to have a sommelier help you make the wine selection process more enjoyable so take advantage of their knowledge. Here’s a tip that will get the best wine available for the price you want to pay. Simply point to a bottle on the list with the price you are willing to pay and say “I have had (wine name) before but I would like to try something different”. This will let the somm know what you are willing to spend and they can guide you to a bottle in that price range. After you make your selection the somm will retrieve your bottle from the cellar and open it tableside. They will present the cork to you but this is purely ceremonial and there is no need for you to either touch or smell it. Next, they will pour a small sample for you to taste. This sample is for you to check for flaws not to see if you like the wine. If it is acceptable give them a small nod and they will begin serving your dining companions with you being served last. One last tip, during your initial exchange ask your sommelier if there are any wines they are excited about. This allows them to share hidden gems now that they know you share their love of wine.
I have always been fascinated by the public’s changing taste in wine and what drives it. In
Chateau D’ Esclans Whispering Angel Rose
the 80’s it was Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel that was the biggest seller in the U.S. Then in the 90’s it was any California Chardonnay followed by the Pinot Noir revolution. I believe that changing tastes of
this scale are primarily driven by clever marketing and herd mentality. Today it is Rosé that has been on a roll for several years. Ten years ago no one , especially the members of the “Trendy Set” drank Rosé. The reason wasn’t only that it was poorly made but because it was unfashionable to be seen with a glass of Rosé in your hand at any social gathering. Then Brad Pitt released his Miraval Rosé and the immense star power he commanded caused people to take another look at Rosé and they found it to be a very enjoyable wine when it is well-made. Pitt and his Miraval Rosé opened the door and Chateau D’ Esclan Whispering Angel Rosé burst through it to make a meteoric rise and become the default Rosé for the savvy influencers on the party circuit and social media scene.
Whispering Angel Rosé represents the best value for a quality Rosé to be found on the Chateau D’ Esclans Rosé list. Whispering Angel Rosé possesses all the traits that you would expect from a French Rosé from Cotes de Provence. It has a delicate pink color and wonderful bouquet with a crisp taste of light fruit and minerality followed by a clean finish. It shows itself better when enjoyed with lighter fare such as Summer salads, seafood and mild cheeses. This Rosé can best be described as balanced, light and dry. Drink it on ice if you really want to go totally “0210” while flaunting your thrifty side with a bottle of French Rosé for less than $20 USD. Now smile for you Instagram pix
One of the most relaxing things that I can think of doing is to take my chair to an outdoor concert and spend the evening sipping wine with my wife and friends. The festive atmosphere created by a musical performance is being used by wineries to attract new customers to their facilities. These concerts range from nationally known acts to local solo artists and they cover just about every known genre of music imaginable.
The Seattle, Washington area is extremely fortunate to have the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery within easy access because this winery presents an outstanding calendar of events each summer. Chateau Ste. Michelle has been hosting live performances since 1984 in an intimate amphitheater setting that has made the Chateau Ste. Michelle Summer Concert Series one of the Pacific Northwest great music venues. Go to www.Ste-Michelle.com for more information.
Traveling east to the Finger Lakes Region of New York you can find music at numerous wineries located around these beautiful glacial lakes. Winestock is a wine, food and music festival that will be celebrated on Saturday, June 16th at Three Brothers Winery on Seneca Lake. If you would like to make plans to attend please go to www.winestock2012.eventbrite.com/ for more detailed information.
Let’s turn south to Western Pennsylvania and the Stone Villa Winery in Acme where you can enjoy a show and a glass of wine next to a picturesque lake on the grounds of the winery. A complete calendar of events and contact information is available at www.StoneVilla.com.
Our final stop will be Greensburg, Pennsylvania where the Summer Sounds Concerts will be held 7:00 every Friday evening from June 1st through August 31st. These free shows are presented at the Robertshaw Pavillion in St. Clair Park thanks to the support of volunteers along with corporate sponsorship and donations from concert goers. Additional information and schedules can be found at www.SummerSounds.com. I sincerely urge you to attend these events and support the businesses and organizations that promote them in your area.