The world of wine can be daunting. It's no fun to go to a restaurant and have no idea what kind of wine to order. This is especially true if you are with someone else. You may actually be judged on how you make your wine decision. It's cruel, but true.
Well, choosing wine does not have to be rocket science. You can make a decent selection most times, and ever, you'll feel confident doing so. The first thing you need to know is, wine is a personal experience. You do not have to go with the tide on your decision. Let me give you an example.
When you were younger, you were probably told that there is a basic rule for selecting wine with a meal. If you are having red meat, choose a red wine. If you are having seafood or vegetarian, choose white. Chicken? Maybe a blush or pink wine. Well, those are great suggestions, but that's all they are. They are merely suggestions.
If you have little to no experience choosing wine, next time you go to a restaurant and you are confronted with the wine list, ask the waiter what he or she would order with your meal. They are trained to give you decent suggestions, so do not be afraid to go with what they say. Believe it or not, they do not make it a habit of telling customers something really crazy so they can go back to the kitchen and laugh about your decision with the chef. Well, maybe in some of the snootier restaurants, but who wants to eat there anyway?
When you are feeling a bit more confident, ask the waiter to suggest two wines that would go well with your meal. Then, note what part of the wine list he is picking them from and then select your own slightly more expensive bottle. Tell him something like "that sounds good, but you know what? I've always had good luck with this one" and then try to pronounce the name of the wine correctly. Pick one you know you can pronounce. The waiter will most likely say something like "excellent choice" and that's that.
Once the wine comes back and it's time to taste, do not bother with smelling the cork. That's just a wee bit too snobby. Instead, just visually inspect the cork and make sure it's not cracked or otherwise in bad condition. That's a telltale sign that the wine has been stored improperly, like standing up instead of on its side. If this is the case, the wine may not taste as good as it should. But you still be the judge. If the wine still tastes good, accept it. If not, send it back. Do not be afraid to send wine back. They inflate the cost of wine about 5x from what you can buy it for in the store, so it's no big loss to them. And they'll probably drink it or mix it into the house wine anyway.
To get yourself feeling even more confident, go to your local Beverages and More or similar store and purchase a few bottles each of white and red wine. Pick some sweet and dry wines. They are usually marked in the descriptions above each selection of wine. Stay in the $ 10 to $ 20 range with these selections. Bring them home and try a different bottle each night. See what you like. Drink with food and see what goes with what. The key here is, it's really all up to you. What do you like to drink with what food? That's the most important thing.
Next time you go to a restaurant, you'll feel much more confident in your wine selection, and your dining partner will not feel like you're a wine fool. But remember something: please do not become a wine snob!