Monday, May 6, 2013

Wine Tip: Trust those who Know

As my years of experience drinking and studying (and enjoying) wine have grown, so has my reluctance to turn my selection of wine over to someone I do not know.  I know many servers in restaurants have a great deal of wine knowledge, but I also know that some restaurants may not make the investment for proper training about suggesting wine.  I know what I like, what my wife likes, and at least an intermediate knowledge of how to pair food and wine - so why would I trust others?

During our trip to Paris we had lunch at a great Bistro - Les Papilles.  Here there is only one menu every day - starter, main, cheese, dessert. You get what the have, and that's it. The many may change every day or every week. This place is also a wine shop, so you pick the wine you want off the shelves that line the dining area (reaching over others eating to grab and examine a bottle!)  The main for our lunch was duck, and I asked about a Burgundy that wouldn't break the bank, thinking it would be a good pair with duck.  Our server said that their preparation of the duck - with an intense reduction sauce would not work with Burgundy - so pointed me to a cheaper 2003 le Sid Cohors (Malbec) - that was nice and fruity and paired perfectly.  

Sometimes you must trust those that know better, in this case it saved me from throwing down $40 or $50 for a mid-range Burgundy, that while a good wine on its own, would have been crushed by the intense flavor of the food. It's hard to know when to trust - but sometimes you just have to do it!  Especially places like France, Spain, and Italy where wine is so much a part of the culture that extensive wine knowledge in restaurant staff is very common.

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