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Tom Cannavan on navigating the restaurant wine list

Thu 28 May 2009 19:02


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With wine lists often containing hundreds of wines ranging in price from a few pounds to a few thousand pounds, choosing wine from a restaurant menu can be a daunting prospect. 

Wine expert Tom Cannavan's first piece of advice is to familiarise yourself with the various grapes that are behind the more famous wines.

Another great tip is to be wary of the house wine.  "The house wine is often the cheapest wine on the list, but it's rarely the best value" says Tom.  Rather, it is merely the wine on which the restaurant makes the biggest profit.

When ordering a wine it can pay to ask the waiter, regardless of whether or not they are wine experts themselves. 

According to Tom, "they know the wines, they know their customers, and they know what people buy and enjoy."

Tom also demystifies the practise of trying a wine before it is poured.  "The purpose of trying the wine is not to see if you like it, it is to see if the wine is in good condition" explains Tom.  "If you're happy, then you can accept the wine."

Finally, Tom offers this great advice: "At the end of the day, you're here to enjoy your evening... So don't get too hung up on the wine."

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