The mofo guide to ordering wine

Andre Eikmeier
By Andre Eikmeier
almost 2 years ago
3 min read

There should be no more stress in choosing a wine than there is in choosing your meal. That being said, there’s nothing more horrific than having to choose between the pork belly and the salmon, and even then at least you know what you’re talking about.

Of course, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to wine. You can order whatever the hell you like, but if you’re looking to take charge and appear like you know what you’re doing while choosing something you and your friends will enjoy, here are a few tips:

1) Don’t panic

Start with beer or bubbles, it buys you time. 

2) Choose your food first

Food and wine go hand in hand, some better than others. There is some science to it, but here are some simple matches to remember:  

Lamb and cabernet, duck or chicken and pinot, fish and chardonnay (go for a cool climate), seafood and semillon (especially Hunter Valley semillon with oysters), steak and malbec, tempranillo or sangiovese and pizza, pork and grenache, chardy or tempranillo and vegetarian food, and riesling and spicy food.

3) Glass or bottle? 

If everyone is after something different you’re probably better off going by the glass. The more interesting stuff, however, is often by the bottle so if you are all feeling adventurous just go for it. Once again, there are no rules and no losers.

4) Ask the waiter

First check if they’re into wine and if they’ve tried much off the list. If they have, they’ll probably have a recommendation for you. Following that, it’s worth asking to try something before you order – good places will often do it. 

5) Tasting the wine 

Here’s where the fear can kick in. Do I swirl it around? What if I spill it? Why am I sniffing the glass? How can I tell if it’s corked? Here’s a quick step-by-step:

1. Swirl the glass to release the smell. Keep the glass on the table, hold the stem between your fingers and swirl it flat on the table – it never spills this way.

2. Have a sniff but don’t get too poncy about it. Keep it casual. It’s foreplay, a teaser for your brain as to what comes next.

3. Take a sip. Savour it, but don’t swish it around like mouthwash (again, too poncy). Swallow.

4. Decide if you like it or not. Tasty? Boom. Smile ‘cause your job is done. If you don’t like it, frown and ask the waiter or someone else at the table to try it. Not many Aussie wines are under cork anymore, so chances are it’s going to be fine. Think about it like you would the food – would you send it back if you didn’t like it, or would you suffer through it? Don’t be afraid to ask to try something else.

Please note, this article was first published on au.askmen.com