sommelierConfronting a wine list in a restaurant can be daunting—so many regions, varietals, and styles and so little information offered about what you’re getting. Even wine experts can be in the dark because no one has the time to become familiar with every producer in every region.

When I look over a wine list and nothing jumps out as something I must drink now, I choose the most off-beat wine I can find on the list, something unusual, unfamiliar and unexpected. After all, a sommelier chose to use up precious space by putting it on the list and likely had a reason for doing so. Because it’s unusual and unknown most people won’t order it so it’s not there because it’s a best seller. It’s likely on the list because the somm thinks it’s a great wine. Something about it is unique and worthy of attention, and she wants customers to try it.

Take a risk. It’s only wine.