To a young professional, wine can be as confounding as finding a Wi-Fi signal in a Nebraskan wheat field. But impressing clients is part of the game. Time to stop whining and start wine-ing with renowned writer Gabe Sasso. Here’s 5 tips written specifically for sales.cafe readers.
So you’re taking an important client out to dinner and you have no idea what to order. Here are a few basic concepts and jumping-off points that will help you pick a tasty wine that will also complement your meal.
1. The Sommelier is Your Friend
A restaurant or bar with a decent wine list will often have a Sommelier or other dedicated wine person. If you give them a hint about the price range you’re comfortable spending in, they’ll provide some suggestions in that range to pair with your meal.
2. Ask for New Additions to the Wine List
If you’re speaking to the Sommelier chances are he wrote the wine list and picked every wine on it. Ask him what new selections he or she recommends; they are going to be eager to show off their new discoveries. If they just added them and are excited about them they’re also likely to be super descriptive about the flavors. As an added bonus those new additions are often very attractively priced so they sell well.
3. If You’re Eating Light Food, Order a Light Wine
The type and style of food you’re going to eat should dictate the wine you order. If you and your client are ordering entrée salads for instance you’ll want to stick with a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or alternately a Rosé. On the other hand if you’re going to have a hearty meat driven meal loaded with big flavors a robust red is in order. In that case think of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec or Syrah for instance.
4. Pinot Noir is the Switzerland of Wine (at least pairing wise)
Pinot Noir is one of the food friendliest wines in the world. This red grape often has the ability to pair with all but the lightest or heaviest of foods. If one of you is eating Risotto and the other Salmon, Chicken or a Pork Chop, Pinot Noir will cover all those bases. Another red grape that is similarly food friendly is Grenache. Ordering Grenache instead of Pinot will also make you appear more wine savvy since it’s a less-talked about grape.
5. What You Dislike is as Important as What You Like
Is there a bottle of wine you tasted that you really didn’t like at all? If so, this will help a good server help you with a choice. Even better; recall why you didn’t like it. Maybe it was too fruity or too dry. But even if you don’t recall, any hints will help you get to a winning bottle
Remember wine is about discovery and fun. When you pick that bottle with or without help, most importantly enjoy it. And after that learn something from it. If you liked it remember a few things (in your own words) that you liked about it. And if you didn’t like it, the same applies. That information will come in handy when you’re picking that next bottle.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. An establishment with good wine service will be willing and excited to share wine knowledge and make recommendations. If they help you pick a bottle you love, chances are you’ll be back.