Ordering Wine With Friends

Question from Jason: How do you know what wine to order when everyone is eating something different?

Reply: There are several ways to go on this. The simplest option is to order by the glass so everyone is happy. The only thing to watch out for is the price. Some restaurants really clean up with their by the glass program.

All you need to do is ask the server how many ounces in a pour – it can vary quite a bit. There are about 25 ounces in a bottle so if you do the math you can see if it’s a fair price or not. Half bottles usually cost a little more than half the price of the full bottle.

If you want to order a bottle for the whole table ask around to see if folks are leaning toward white or red.

For reds, the wines that aren’t too heavy with moderate alcohol, tannin and oak are the most versatile. For instance: Pinot Noir and Beaujolais types. The Bourgueil and Chinon of the Loire Valley in France are good options. Or maybe Barbera or Dolcetto from northern Italy. I know that Valpolicella has a reputation as pop wine – but there’s a real quality renaissance going on these days and it has a lot going for it in this situation. It’s a light red with a good, solid acidity and it’s fizzy. Sparkling wine is very versatile!

For whites, you’ll want to go with something that has some body and good acidity. Cool-climate Chardonnay sounds like just the ticket: white Burgundy and Finger Lakes or New Zealand Chardonnay come to mind. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is quite assertive and has good acidity. For sparkling wine, which is the most versatile wine of all, you could go with a rosé or Blanc de Noirs for added body.

I hope that helps and bon appétit! 

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