I love to drink red wine, but never considered myself to be an expert and anything remotely close to a sommelier. When going into a restaurant and being presented with a wine list that is even longer than the food menu, I am often overwhelmed and retreat to the wines that I already know and like. As wine prices in Singapore’s restaurants are not among the most affordable ones, I used to not to take the risk.
But this isn’t necessary. No matter if red wine lover or not, this approach makes us miss out on some good wines. However, there is better way to choose your wine wisely and safely. Most of these tips also hold for buying wine in the shop or ordering it online. If you don’t want anything to go wrong, you can order wine and dinner right here.
The first point isn’t exactly rocket science, but very crucial for the enjoyment of your evening. You don’t want your wine to have a very bitter aftertaste when asking for the bill, do you? Set your budget and enjoy what you have. In general, what you want is a good quality wine at an affordable price.
2. What’s on your plate
Many people make the common mistake to order the wine before they actually know what they are going to eat. Once you know what’s on your plate, it will help you narrow down the choice of wines on the list. Below is a little help on what pairs well.
It happens more often than you think. However, to be fair 99% of the time they know more than I do. On occasion though there isn’t any sign of help – hence it’s good to have a second plan. Here is a rule of thumb: as you have decided on what your price limit is, then you should simply go for the oldest within your price range. Although the rule of ‘the older the better’ isn’t always true, you will go well with this approach. Most restaurants will not have a very tricky exception.
Tip: Generally, heavier wines will become more moderate with age, while lighter wines tend to become more complex.
4. Pay for what you get
Once you have decided on a wine, label and year, make sure that you also get that bottle. It can happen that the wine list offered a Merlot from 2009, but the waiter actually brings the 2013 version (as they might have run out of the other). It’s not always a mistake, so make sure you get the right one.
5. By the Glass
If you are ordering wine by the glass and paying a high price for it, then make sure that the wine bottle is opened at your table. Certain bars will try and offer you wine from the bottle that was already opened the day before. Hence, it has been breathing quite a bit (even if re-corked) and lost some of its quality.