How to Use a Sommelier

Never fear the wine gurus! Wine expert Rebecca Chapa shows you how to read a wine list and consult an expert without feeling awkward.

Released on 11/11/2008

Credits

Starring: Rebecca Chapa

Transcript

00:00
(mellow funky music)
00:05
(happy jazz music)
00:17
For many people, arriving in a restaurant
00:19
and taking a look at the list is a stressful experience.
00:22
Someone is there looking over your shoulder,
00:24
wondering what it is that you want to drink,
00:26
and sometimes you don't even know.
00:28
But it really doesn't have to be such a stressful experience
00:31
if you use your sommelier to help you.
00:34
A sommelier is just a wine waiter,
00:35
or someone who is a wine director
00:37
and has actually created this list from scratch.
00:40
They're very excited about every wine on this list,
00:42
so if you ask them they'll be very happy to help you.
00:46
A lot of people become concerned
00:47
that if they ask the sommelier for help,
00:49
that they're gonna guide them into having something
00:50
that's too expensive or something that they didn't want.
00:53
But as long as you're clear about your expectations,
00:55
the sommelier will work with you
00:57
to create the best experience possible
01:00
and get you the wine that you most want.
01:02
Give them a price range.
01:03
And you can do that very, very simply.
01:05
You don't have to embarrass yourself in front of your guest.
01:07
You can show them a range of prices
01:09
and say I was looking at this,
01:11
and I was looking at this one,
01:12
and they'll take that cue and be able
01:14
to find something in that price range for you.
01:16
Mention a wine that you've tried that you like.
01:18
Mention your favorite grape variety.
01:20
Talk about whether you like
01:22
light-bodied wines or full-bodied wines.
01:24
This gives them an idea of which direction to take you in,
01:27
because everybody's different,
01:28
and everyone has a different palate.
01:30
They can give you ideas of what goes best
01:32
with particular items on their menu,
01:34
because they know the wines and the food better than you do.
01:38
Then they can even create a full wine
01:39
and food pairing experience for you
01:41
so you can just sit back and enjoy your meal.
01:43
And often, if you just take the time to ask,
01:45
they will turn you on to the best new find that they have,
01:48
something that's so unique that you might have never thought
01:51
to try it if it hadn't been for their recommendation.
01:54
Alotta people tend to buy the second least expensive wine,
01:57
or sometimes people buy really expensive wine
02:00
because they think it's going to be better.
02:02
But the sommelier can tell you actually which wines
02:05
are the best values on their list.
02:07
And don't worry if everyone's having different things.
02:10
If someone's having fish and someone's having a steak,
02:13
you can probably find a wine
02:14
that would be great with all of that.
02:16
Or, if not, you can try (splashing)
02:18
to play around with using half bottles or glasses of wine.
02:22
So rather than being nervous when talking to the sommelier,
02:24
treat them as your friend and they'll help you
02:26
create the best experience possible
02:29
so you can just sit back and relax.
02:31
For more information on wines, join us at Epicurious.com.
02:35
(mellow funky music)