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Learn To Deal With the Wine Steward in Restaurants
by: Gusatore Delluva

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Ordering wine in restaurants is an essential step in 'enjoying your dining experience. You will find that there 'are two types of restaurants serving wine: simply, those 'that have a poor wine service and poor wine selections, 'and those that provide a knowledgeable and helpful wine 'staff, and stock favorable wines.'

When faced with a restaurant with a poor selection of 'wines or a server with no knowledge of wines, your best 'bet will be to order something you recognize. Even bad 'restaurants usually stock some familiar names that you can 'rely on and that you know are worth the money.'

A wine list doesn’t have to be lengthy in order to be 'good. Restaurants that take pride in their wines hand pick 'them to compliment their menus so you are likely to have a 'good match with your meal. Another alternative is enjoying 'wine by the glass instead of by the bottle. Better 'restaurants will offer this choice as well as quality 'house wines. Their staff should be well informed, helpful, 'and respectful of your choices. They should also be 'willing to replace any wines that are not up to par.'

Decide on your price range before ordering, and consider 'what type of food you will be eating If you let your wine 'steward know what you will most likely be ordering, he or 'she can help you make the best choice. You may want to 'inform them that you are having, for example, a seafood 'dish and that you enjoy something dryer. With this 'information, they may be able to recommend a nice 'Chardonnay in your price range Selecting your wine should 'not be intimidating and a good wine steward should be able 'to help you make a good decision if you ask.'

There are certain formalities that are involved in serving 'wine. Though they are mostly formalities, they are done 'for a reason and you should be aware of each step in order 'to recognize good wine service.'

The first thing that will happen is that your wine will be 'retrieved, brought to the table, and presented to the 'person who ordered it with the label facing out. This 'allows for verification that the wine is the correct 'bottle and vintage. '

Next, you will want to check the temperature of the bottle 'with your hand. This will enable you to determine if your 'wine is too warm or too cold. If you find that your wine 'is not the correct temperature, you can request an ice 'bucket to chill it for a few minutes, or you can leave it 'to sit at room temperature to warm it up a bit Once you 'are satisfied with the temperature, you can let the 'steward know you are ready to be served. Most likely, 'this will not be necessary in a better restaurant'

Once the bottle has been opened, the cork will also be 'presented. Though it is not necessary to smell the cork, 'you may want to do so to check for a moldy smell, which 'could indicate that the wine is tainted. Squeezing the 'bottom end of the cork will allow the small amount of wine 'there to be properly sensed.'

Whether or not you have chosen to sniff the cork, the 'waiter will pour a small amount into a glass to be tasted. 'This is to determine whether or not the wine is acceptable.'That is not to say that you should use this opportunity to 'decide if you like the wine, but only to make sure that 'the wine is not flawed. Before you taste it, though, you 'should also evaluate the wine using other senses.'

How does the wine look? Is it bright or is it cloudy or 'murky? If it is cloudy, notice if it is from sediment. Red 'wines tend to develop a dark deposit over time, which can 'be relieved with decanting. Reds that are not as old 'should not have a brownish tinge and white wines should 'look pale to yellow. Pieces of cork in the wine are not 'great, but they do not make the wine faulty. White 'crystals on the cork are caused by tantrates, which are 'natural deposits in white wine and are also not signs of 'bad wine.'

How does this wine smell? There are a few tell-tale signs 'that a wine is faulty. If it has a sherry-like smell, it 'may be a sign of oxidation. If the wine smells like 'vinegar, it will most likely taste like vinegar. Rotten 'egg smell is a sign of fermentation and faulty 'wine-making. A moldy or musty smell may indicate that the 'cork is bad and the wine will have a dull taste. The smell 'of sulphur (like a burning match) it is not necessarily a 'bad sign. Wineries sometimes use sulphur-dioxide to ensure 'freshness and it may be absorbed into the wine over time. 'This smell should lessen after standing for a few minutes.'

The purpose of swirling your wine is to release the aroma. 'After smelling the wine, you can taste it.'

Once you have used these methods to determine that you 'have selected a good wine, you should signal to your wine 'steward that you are ready to be served. They will then 'serve your party in a clock-wise fashion, ladies first, 'and ending with your glass.

About The Author

Gusatore Delluva is the owner and founder of Avia Wine, http://www.aviawine.com, a website dedicated to wine. If you would like to learn more about wine you can find more articles at: http://www.aviawine.com/newsletters/archive.shtml