Do you feel flustered when your waiter hands you the wine list? Not sure what to wine to bring to a dinner party? Don’t worry, you’re so not alone. Michelle Cherutti-Kowal, of Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is here to teach you her helpful tips and tricks to becoming a wine expert — or at least sounding like one when ordering a bottle.
What advice would you give to the novice when faced with a really complicated wine list?
“We don’t make it easy do we?” Cherutti-Kowal says. “It’s very, very difficult.” When in this scenario, she doesn’t want you to be afraid to ask the person selling the wine or somebody who works at the restaurant you’re ordering from for their expertise. Nobody expects you to be familiar with every wine region, designation, or vintage in the world. However, the people who work at the establishment should be familiar with the wines that they offer. “I’m the first person to ask for advice when I’m in a restaurant,” she admits. “Everybody in the wine industry is doing as much as they can just to help somebody navigate what they know is a very difficult, difficult world.”
Talking about labels, some of them say the name of the grape and some of them say the origin. What’s the difference?
“History – I think that’s what it really comes down to is history,” Cherutti-Kowal explains. “Some of these regions have been growing grapes and making wine for such a long time, but they’re the ones that are famous. Those that are less famous in the industry, started with a grape.”
Red wine – does it really pair well with red meat or is that a myth?
“I think it’s an absolute myth,” Cherutti-Kowal says. “There are so many myths about food and wine matching. The only rule is that there are no rules, as far as I’m concerned.”
What about storage? How should a collection be best stored?
“Really cold and as dark as possible,” Cherutti-Kowal says. “If you’re lucky enough to have a little cellar, store it there. If not, the bedroom is probably the coldest room in the house, so put it under the bed or in the closet.” Who knew?
Hear the rest of the interview with Cherutti-Kowal and learn more cheats for sounding like a wine expert in the video above.