We’ve all been there: you’re in a restaurant, staring at a never-ending wine list, unsure of what the different grapes from different regions actually mean.
You don’t want to spend a fortune, so you blurt out three little words: “House red please.”
Well, it’s better than saying “I’ll take the cheapest?” isn’t it?
A new survey from OpenTable has revealed that 66% of Brits tend to choose the house wine, with an overwhelming 90% believing it to be both the cheapest and the easiest option.
But in reality, although house wine may be the easiest option, it isn’t always the cheapest on the menu.
In fact, the name “house wine” simply means it’s the house’s (or the restaurant’s) recommendation.
Just think of all the money you could have saved if you’d perused the menu.
According to Antonio Roveda, head sommelier at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill, the house wine in any restaurant is usually “medium bodied and well balanced to go with a whole host of key dishes”.
“It isn’t necessarily the cheapest but it will generally represent good value for money,” he added.
In order to find a wine to suit your taste (and budget), Roveda recommended being honest with your waiter or sommelier about what you like and how much you want to spend.
“Let the menu guide your wine choice. After choosing your food, the wine will need complement it. The strength of the food and wine are directly proportional – the stronger the food, the stronger the wine,” he said.
“Likewise, the sweeter the dessert, the sweeter the wine. When food and wine are equally matched, they neutralise each other and there is a balance of flavour for you to taste.”
He added that you’ll have a more enjoyable meal if you select a wine you’re comfortable with.
“You will enjoy the experience more if you are confident with what you have chosen or have been recommended,” he said.
“The more you try different wines, the more you appreciate the different flavours and smells. Exercising the palate will allow you to understand the special bond between the food and wine.”