Everyone knows how to work with a waiter to find the best food, but what if you go to a fancier restaurant and want to work with a sommelier to find that perfect bottle of wine to match your chosen meal? Many people are intimidated by the sommelier and don’t want to look foolish by asking the wrong questions or doing the wrong actions. Thankfully, a trio of experienced sommeliers from the Mandarin Oriental in Miami have answered a few of the frequently asked questions, such as:
Q: What do I do when the sommelier opens the bottle and places the cork on the table in front of me?
A: Glance at it. If it’s broken or soaked all the way through with wine, the seal may have broken, and the wine might be spoiled. But you can’t tell until you taste it, so don’t put much effort into examining the cork.
Q: What do I do when he/she pours me a sample and asks me to approve it?
A: Look at the bottle to be sure it’s what you ordered. (If it isn’t, send it back, or you might have a costly surprise at bill time.) Swirl the wine, sniff, take a small sip. If it smells like wet cardboard, sulfur or vinegar, tell the sommelier you think it’s flawed, and ask him/her to confirm that. If it smells like wine, just nod. You don’t have to enthuse over it; the sommelier didn’t make it.
Q: When and how do I tip the sommelier?
A: Tip, as usual, when paying the bill at the end of the meal. In most cases you can simply tip 20 percent of the entire bill, including the wine, and let the restaurant divide it up among the servers and sommelier.
The next time your at a restaurant and decide it’s time for a little wine, fear not, the sommelier can easily be more friend than foe.
[Via: Cheap Fun Wines]