lördag 11 december 2010

Tips on Buying Wine in Restaurants

Most restaurants have far fewer wines to choose from than any wine store or supermarket, but that doesn't mean it's easier to make a decision, especially if you're choosing for people eating different things. Even if matching the food isn't a problem, it's easy to be discouraged by horrendous prices and unfamiliar and hard-to-pronounce names. In an ideal world, there is a friendly, well-informed wine waiter at the ready - not to mention a varied range of wines with modest markups, interesting house wines, wines by the glass, and half-bottles. But restaurant life isn't always like that, and along with other shortcomings, the lists themselves can be woefully inadequate - chaotically organized and lacking vital information such as vintages or producers' names. If the waiter doesn't know, ask to see the bottle(s) and check such details yourself.

Interpreting prices
Even leaving restaurant prices and individual countries' taxes out of the discussion, do you get what you pay for? There are no hard and fast answers, but, very broadly speaking, at under $10 a bottle in the US you get more or less what you pay for, whereas at over $10 you may also be paying for such things as rarity, fashion status, and the producer's unalloyed ambition. At over $20, you are almost certainly paying for some of these things - nowhere more obviously than in the wave of new, tiny volume, "superpremium" wines emerging all over the world. Sometimes these wines are created jointly by two high-profile producers (often one European and one New World) who save their greatest creativity for the pricing. All these wines prove is that, if you make something in small enough quantities and price it highly enough, some people will form a line to buy it.

Price and quality
Ignoring fashion and egos, elements that make one wine more expensive than another include high land prices (in Burgundy and California's Napa Valley, for example); ground that is expensive to work (such as the steep, rocky slopes of Priorato, in Spain); and low crop levels. The latter may occur because the vines are old (but give beautifully-flavored fruit), the soil is infertile, and the climate cool, or because the grower is pruning deliberately to limit the crop. Another factor that affects price is the grape variety: some, such as viognier and pinot noir, are temperamental; others, such as chardonnay, will do anything for anyone anywhere. And those are only the vineyard variables. Winemakers can increase their costs enormously by buying expensive, high-tech equipment and new French oak barrels annually, by maturing the wine in oak for a long time and aging it further in bottle, and by any number of other time-consuming, skill-demanding techniques. At the other end of the scale, especially in the southern hemisphere, there are areas where sunshine is plentiful, land is cheap to buy an cheap to work, vines are grown in such a way that they produce huge crops and wines are made and sold within a matter of months.

1 kommentar:

  1. I think when you are looking to buy wine at restaurant, you should have good amount of knowledge about good wine. i like the points you made for choosing right wine.
    penfolds grange