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Wine Snobs

For many Americans, the subject of wine is intimidating. The average person still finds it difficult to make an easy selection from the confusing array of domestic and foreign wines.

Snooty Sales People
Purchasing wine in a store can be a difficult task, especially if the salesperson is not well informed or, on occasion, acts "snooty" when you need help with finding the appropriate wine. Fortunately, it does not happen very often anymore. Proprietors seem to have learned that it is very beneficial to their business to hire knowledgeable and friendly people.

Selecting a bottle of wine from a restaurant wine list and tasting it should be a simple and straightforward task. With the large selection of wines available, especially wine that you has never heard of, it helps to ask questions and solicit helpful input from the waiter or wine steward. Some actually go so far as to let you sample wine before ordering a bottle.

Don't Worry, Be Happy
When it comes to price, many restaurants, despite the fact that there is a lot of pretty good wine available for a reasonable price, carry more of the higher-priced wines. Do not think that because they have a higher price tag, they are necessarily better. Not so! If you want to be adventurous with more expensive wines, try them at home and save the stiff mark-up. And don't be intimidated by the waiter if he gives you a look because you order one of the less expensive wines on the wine list. It is important that you enjoy the wine you are going to drink with your dinner.

Look at me...
When it comes to tasting wine in a restaurant, some people like to make a big spectacle about it. Is it perhaps that they want to prove to themselves and to others that they are wine connoisseurs? Isn't the main reason to taste the wine - or should we say test the wine - to be sure that it is not spoiled? And yes, in the process, one evaluates it, and if the wine is good, one would expresses appreciation. It surely is not a wine-tasting occasion. Wine stewards and customers, please spare restaurant patrons the spectacle. Who needs it?

Wine Ordering Procedure
There is, however, a procedure to follow when ordering wine in a restaurant. After you order the wine, the waiter will present it to you, to inspect the label. This is to verify that it is in fact the wine you had ordered. Be certain that it is the correct vintage. Often restaurants list wines with a certain vintage, but serve a later one without letting you know.

The next step is to uncork the wine bottle. The waiter will hand the cork to you for inspection. In the "old days," you would smell the cork and test it for moisture content. If the cork is dry, it may indicate that the bottle was stored incorrectly and the wine may be spoiled. The practice of smelling the cork still has merit, even though some people believe it shows ignorance. The scent of the cork offers no certain indicator that the wine is OK or how the wine will taste. Sometimes the cork may smell sour, but the wine tastes just fine. However, if the cork smells "corky" or musty, the wine most likely is spoiled.

Next the waiter will pour a small amount of wine into your glass. This is your opportunity to taste the wine. This ritual may be observed quite simply and swiftly, with minimal fanfare. Examine the color, swirl the wine in your glass, smell the fragrance and taste it. If it tastes all right, accept it. If you find something wrong with it, reject it and try another bottle.

After you, as host, approve the wine, the waiter will fill your wine glass (not to the top, please) and then pour wine, generally clockwise, into the glass of each guest at your table.