No More Wine List Decisions

I recently read an essay in which the author submitted the notion that one of the best strategies for easing the burdens of life is to do what is necessary to unbridle one’s self from as many decisions as possible. The idea is that we spend too much of our precious time on earth making mundane decision and we invest too much psychic energy in decision making where the consequences of our decisions are of very little importance.

It got me thinking about the decision of what wine to drink. Some folks love the idea of making the decision of what wine to put down their throat. However, on the off chance that you may not care all that much for the process of making wine decisions, yet still want to make the correct wine order in a restaurant, I offer: TOM’S GUIDE TO UNBRIDLING ONE’S SELF FROM THE WINE DECISION

You are in a restaurant where the wine list is written exclusively on a chalkboard on the wall or a “table tent” sitting on your table:
- Order something other than wine

You are in a restaurant where the short wine list has no vintages associated with the wines
- Order beer.

You are in a restaurant where the wine list comes on a separate paper menu and is 30 to 50 selection and there is no wine steward or sommelier:
- Always order the wine in the color you desire that you are least familiar with or is most unknown to you either by varietal or producer.

-You are in a foreign land in a restaurant where the wines on the list are all local and you know none of them (and the server speaks your language):
-Ask the server to bring you a glass of their favorite wine available by the glass.

-You are in a foreign land in a restaurant where the wines on the list are all local and you know none of them (and the server does not speak your language):
-Download the “Google Translate” app and use it to ask the server to bring you a glass of their favorite wine available by the glass.

You are at a restaurant with an extensive wine list presented in a small book.
-Ask for the sommelier, tell them the color and weight you want the wine to be, point to a price on the menu you are willing to pay in excess of 20%, and tell them you want to pay this much and to surprise you.

You are in a restaurant with an extensive wine list presented in a small book and you have been designated by the other 5-7 people at the table to order the wine for the evening:
-Order food first, then ask for the sommelier, tell them you want a white and red, point to a price on the menu you are willing to pay in excess of 20% for a red, then do the same for a white, then tell the sommelier the server has your orders, then tell the sommelier to surprise you.

You are having your last meal at a fine restaurant with a book-sized wine list
Call any server, wine steward or sommelier over to the table, give him the credit card on which you have the largest credit line, ask him to bring you a bottle of red and a bottle of white and to fill up the card and to throw in a 20% tip for themselves.

 


5 Responses

  1. Rich Reader - September 20, 2012

    a nice blend of sober choices and fine levity, with a slight nod to Jeff Foxworthy: If you are in a restaurant where the wine list does x,y, or z, which makes you want to get up and walk out, then you might have a shred of common sense left.

  2. JohnLopresti - September 20, 2012

    Though I don’t do this much nowadays, one of my favorite ways to read the wines list is to know who the distributors are locally, though that’s not always easy to discern or know otherwise. I learned some fine Medoc vintages and producers by following the selections of some of the most respected buyers. It’s almost as difficult as remembering the names and physical attributes of each year and each breed in the Madison Square Garden dog show. It helps to have an encyclopedic mind.

  3. Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog » Daily Wine News: Ribera del Duero - September 21, 2012

    [...] Wark brilliantly simplifies the task of deciding which wine to [...]

  4. Daily Wine News: Ribera del Duero - September 21, 2012

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