This is something that has bothered me for years, and yes I am wearing my Chef coat as I write this.. lol. You go out to dinner, dinner being the key word here. The first thing the server does is give you the wine list and offers to start you off with a bottle or glass of wine. You order the wine and then order the food with little or no thought put into the pairing of both.
Now, hear comes the Chef rant! I first realized working in San Fransico learning from a great Master Sommelier Peter Granoff, that wine is meant to be drank with food and that when paired properly they enhance each other much more. I know this first hand after going to many wine classes and tastings. Over the years I discovered my palette never tasted all the flavors in the wine until I ate some food. Then I was able to identify the characteristics and nuances of the wine. What I am saying is when you sit down and order a bottle of Pinot Grigio, then some of your guests order steaks, you can already expect this pairing to taste terrible and ruin both the wine and steak.
My recommendation that I have been doing with my service staff for years is to let the guest order their apps and entrees first and then help them match the best wine that complements the food. I know what your gonna say. What if a four-top orders all different entrees? My answer to that is easy. Don’t push a bottle and instead suggest individual glasses. Most likely you’ll end up selling more wine because each person will drink two glasses each (on average). Customers like to drink at their own pace not having to worry about taking too much from the rest of the table. More importantly, everyone’s food will be paired properly with their wine and create a much better experience for your guest.
So, the next time you are dinning at your favorite restaurant let your server know your food selection first. Then ask for their wine suggestions that best match your choices. Or, better yet, ask the Chef what he suggest. He created the food after all, right?
Thanks, as always for reading.