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Cooking Q&A: How To Order Wine?

Q.

How can I order wine at a restaurant without looking (1) like a dope and (2) cheap?

A.

If it’s a popular wine you see in every grocery store, don’t order it. It’s probably not the best wine or the best value on the list. Otherwise, don’t let the fear of looking low class keep you from asking questions. The fact is, your waiter is happy anytime you order wine instead of water, so don’t worry about impressing with your wine savvy. Just name the wine you know you like, and ask for a recommendation. Even if the wine isn’t on the menu (and even if it’s the popular wine that’s everywhere), a good waiter will know where to steer you based on your preference. It’s helpful if you can describe your favorite wines, but you don’t have to get poetic in the description. At the very least, you should be able to answer:

Red or white? It doesn’t necessarily depend on what you’re eating. Many wines are flexible enough to go with any type of food. Just name the one you like best.

Light or heavy? Generally, the weight or “body” of the wine should match the dish. Full-bodied (heavy) wines hold up with heavy, rich foods, lighter dishes need lighter wines.

Crisp or soft? Acidic wines leave a sharp, clean sensation in your mouth. If you don’t like an edgy crispness in your wine, you can describe your preference as “soft,” or simply “not acidic.”

-- Colleen Rush

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