Robert Bell's

Wines of Canada

Since 1992

The Restaurant Adventure

Dining Out with Wines


The secret to dining out with wines and enjoying the evening is very simple. Great company, great food and a wine that compliments the food. The first rule is never worry about whether or not to order red or white wine, it really doesn't matter. The main question is, does the wine go with the food. Choose your food first then select the wine, matching the wine to the strongest flavour on the plate. In a well established restaurant the Wine Steward or Maitre d' can help you select the wine. Many wineries feature their own restaurants and provide excellent help in selecting the correct wine, therefore providing an excellent place to learn the ins and outs of dining with wine.

If you are ordering a spicy dish a sweeter wine is required.

dotIf pasta is your choice remember that tomato based sauces are high in acidity so you should match the wine (one with great acidity) try a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chianti.

dotCream and butter dishes add sweetness. A fruity wine is best

dot When it comes to red meat.. If you're a steak or beef lover go with a red, Merlot is always a good choice, or try a Shiraz. If white is your choice go with a oak barrel wine.

dotChicken and veal dishes often depend on the sauce. A light bodied red or even a Riesling.

dotFish is a popular dish, and the selection is huge.. with Oysters try a Chablis, with Salmon a dry Gewürztraminer, for the Lobster a Chardonnay

dotWhen in doubt order your favorite wine. There is always Champaign, it is the most versatile.

Ordering the wine

Are you intimidated when it comes to ordering the wine? Well don't be, one of the biggest misgivings I have about restaurants is the lack of training the staff have when it comes to serving wines. When in a restaurant without a Wine Steward to assist you in choosing the wine follow these tips...

  • Choose your food first

  • Stick within your budget

  • Order a wine that is familiar

  • Look for producers/ wineries you know

  • Canadian wines are an excellent choice

  • When in a specialty restaurant, such as Italian or German,
    select a wine from that country

Tasting the wine

Seldom will you ever have to send back a wine, but there are occasions when you should

  • The wine should always be opened at the table. If it is not, send it back

  • The waiter should present the bottle to you before opening

Make sure...

  • The wine is the one you ordered

  • The producers name is the same

  • The vintage is the same as you ordered

  • Check the cork if you like. It should not be dry or broken..

  • Smelling the cork is simply smelling the wine. The sense of smell is the most important aspect of tasting the wine.

  • The waiter should pour a small sample to taste in the glass of the person who ordered the wine.

  • Follow the steps as outlined in Tasting Wine

  • Send the wine back if it tastes like vinegar, or smells strange

  • Inform the waiter/sommelier of your staisfaction or dissatisfaction with the wine

Presenting a diner with the cork dates back to the days before labels were put on bottles. Famous chateaux branded their corks to verify the wine's origin, preventing restaurateurs from passing off bootlegged wine as chateau vintages

Please see Wine Food Health and You

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