Restaurant Wine List Review

Salle à Manger

There are hundreds of restaurant reviewers out there: professionals, bloggers, private folks on forums, etc. They talk about the food (obviously), the ambiance, the décor and the service but regularly leave out a major part of the restaurant experience….the drinks! To me, a great meal is incomplete without the right beverage. During my pregnancy, I sat through many a restaurant meal sadly sipping my water and wishing I had a good lager to wash down a spicy vindaloo or a Bordeaux with enough tannic bite to stand up to a hefty beef filet.

I am always amazed when a waiter can wax lyrical for 20 minutes on the minutiae of a particular dish, but can’t tell you a thing about which wine would go best with it…or even what is on his wine list. So I have decided, with the help of my trusty personal oenologist /foodie/ husband and a couple of willing, wine loving friends, to write restaurant wine reviews. The idea is to critique:

  • The wine list: Is it interesting? Diverse? Does it offer a good range of prices? Etc.
  • The wine service: Do the waiters know the list well? Are they knowledgeable about the wines? Do they have good glass ware, offer decanters, ice buckets, etc.?
  • The pairings: Do the wine pairings suggested work with the food?

I’ll touch briefly on décor and ambiance to set the scene. The food will be critiqued, but only briefly, and mainly in terms of its interaction with the refreshments. The focus is on wine here friends!