There’s nothing better than a delicious glass of wine when dining out, but with over half of British diners confused about what a sommelier is, are we really getting the most out of our wine when we dine?
Our recent research revealed that when dining out, 66% of Brits will fall into choosing the house wine, with an overwhelming 90% believing it to be both the cheapest and the easiest option. Although house wine may be the easiest option, it isn’t always the cheapest and there might be a bottle better suited to the dishes you’ve chosen.
Our research also found that only 30% of 18-24s knew what the role of a sommelier was and a fifth of under 24s admitted to feeling embarrassed to ask their waiter about wine. Over half of the diners we surveyed said they didn’t feel confident when choosing a wine to accompany their meal. We spoke to a wine expert from the Gordon Ramsay Group about the role of the sommelier and how we can be more confident in our wine choices.
Antonio Roveda, Head Sommelier at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill, explains. “The role of a sommelier is to help guide you through a wine list and choose the best wine to complement your food, ensuring you do not feel intimidated by the choice on offer. At the Savoy Grill, we want our guests to enjoy the whole dining experience and choosing the right wine plays a huge part in that. We advise diners to speak to the sommelier and to be honest about what they are looking for, without feeling any pressure. This will not only allow the diner to choose the right wine for their meal and price range, but it will also enable them to gain additional knowledge about their personal preference that can be used at their next restaurant occasion.”
Here are some of Antonio’s top wine tips:
- House wine is a restaurant’s flagship wine. It is usually medium bodied and well balanced to go with a whole host of key dishes. It isn’t necessarily the cheapest but it will generally represent good value for money.
- Use your sommelier – It isn’t every day that you have a sommelier on hand so use them to learn more about wine. Today the sommelier presence across restaurants is very strong and they are easily identifiable. It’s great to try something different when you have professional advice.
- Orange wine has been growing in popularity, so ask if this will go with your menu. It’s a versatile wine and tends to go well with seafood, fatty or salty foods. Your sommelier will always help you identify wines which are on trend and can also help with information about areas, vintages and producers as well as food and wine pairings.
- Let the menu guide your wine choice. After choosing your food, the wine will need to complement it. The strength of the food and wine are directly proportional – the stronger the food, the stronger the wine. Likewise, the sweeter the dessert, the sweeter the wine. When food and wine are equally matched, they neutralise each other and there is a balance of flavour for you to taste.
- Go with a wine that you are comfortable with. You will enjoy the experience more if you are confident with what you have chosen or have been recommended.
- The more you try different wines, the more you appreciate the different flavours and smells. Exercising the palate will allow you to understand the special bond between the food and wine.
Do you feel confident when ordering wine? Or do you prefer to ask the waiter or sommelier for recommendations? Let us know in the comments.