top of page

DECODING A RESTAURANT WINE LIST

by Charissa Farley

Wildest Restaurant + Bar

Coachella Yoga, Therapy, & Wellness


Have you ever wondered how a restaurant puts together their wine list? Are you hesitant to spend money on a varietal or producer you have never heard of? Do you pick your wines based on familiar producer or varietal names? Do you ever wonder if a wine by the glass you never heard of was on the list because of the restaurant margin or because it’s a hidden gem? Have you ever wondered how a restaurant gets a Wine Spectator Award? First, if you are not yet a wine connoisseur, here are the basics, but remember the more you learn about wine, you learn that even within varietals, regions, producers and years, they can vary a lot.





1. Categories and Sections: Most wine lists are organized into categories or sections. Common categories include whites, reds, sparkling, and sometimes dessert wines. Within each category, wines may be further organized by type or region.


2. Varietals and Blends: Wines are often categorized by grape varietals (e.g., Chardonnay,

Cabernet Sauvignon) or by the type of wine (e.g., Merlot, Pinot Noir). If you have a preference for a certain grape or style, look for it in the list.


3. Regions: Some wine lists organize wines by the region they come from. This can be helpful if you know you like wines from a specific area, such as Napa Valley in California or Bordeaux in France.


4. Price Ranges: Look for price ranges next to each wine or within the list categories. This can help you narrow down your choices based on your budget. In wine you often get what you pay for, but sometimes there are hidden gems, and sometimes you are paying for the brand name, not the wine.


5. Wine Descriptions: Many wine lists include brief descriptions of each wine. These descriptions often mention the wine’s flavor profile, aromas, and sometimes food pairings. They can be very helpful in making your selection.


6. Ask for Help: Don’t hesitate to ask the server or sommelier for recommendations or explanations. They can provide insights and suggestions based on your preferences and budget. Some restaurants feature special or unique wines that may not be on the regular menu. These can be interesting choices to consider.


7. Consider Food Pairing: If you’re dining at the restaurant, think about the food you’ll be ordering. Different wines complement different dishes. A good rule of thumb is to pair red wines with red meats and rich sauces, while white wines go well with poultry, fish, and lighter fare. However, there are no hard and fast rules, so feel free to experiment. Wines are like your refrigerator door. Some people like sweet pickles and some people like dills.


8. Tasting Notes and Ratings: If you’re particularly interested in wine, you might find

it helpful to bring a wine app or guidebook that provides tasting notes and ratings for different wines. This can help you make more informed choices.


A Wine Spectator Award is based among other things, on an impressive wine list. This means that a restaurant must have an extensive and well-curated wine list. This includes a diverse selection of wines from various regions, styles, and price points. The wine list should have a strong emphasis on quality and should feature a range of vintages and varietals.


How do we pick the Wines for Wildest?

  1. Impressive wines. Highly rated, highly sought after wines, especially from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Piedmont.

  2. Hidden gems. Wines that are rated highly but at an approachable price.

  3. Crowd pleasers. Well known brands that our customers are familiar with and know they like.

  4. Wines we love and want to share with our customers.

If you are interested in learning more about our wines, or wines in general:

  1. Sit at the bar and taste our wines by the glass and compare and explore different varietals.

  2. Attend our wine tastings and wine dinners to learn about new wines.

  3. Google our wines by the bottle to get more information on the profile. On that rare occasion it’s just not your palate, don’t worry, we will get you something else!


Remember that enjoying wine is a personal experience, and there’s no right or wrong choice. Some of my favorite wines remind me of the time I first experienced them, the company, the place, and the occasion! The goal is to enhance your experience. It’s not about what a master sommelier thinks. It's about what you love!

38 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comentários


bottom of page