One Person Stands Between You and a Fine Wine

on 05/11/12 at 1:49 pm

Wine

IT’S potentially the most distressing moment of the restaurant meal, when doubt and dread combine to make cowards of us all. One person stands between us and humiliation, one who can smooth the way for success, whether on a first date, in closing a deal, at a family gathering or in a meeting with the boss.

That person is the sommelier, the smiling ambassador who hands us a wine list, an index of potential pleasures that instead is so often seen as a tool of destruction, wielded by restaurants to extract more money than we care to spend for reasons we don’t understand.

The sommelier ought to be seen as a positive force, an interpreter and guide who can shepherd a meal along a rewarding and enlightening path. Yet too often the looming approach of the sommelier provokes the fight-or-flight instinct. Without thinking, consumers withdraw into a protective posture to ward off attacks on the wallet and other sensitive parts.

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is how to handle that moment of truth. My answer is simple: Sommeliers can be your best friends. Allow yourself to trust them. They measure their success by your happiness. In fact, the greatest pleasure for most sommeliers is to watch you enjoy wines they love. Your job? Simply to be clear about your budget.

FULL STORY via NY Times