How do you know that the wine you’re picking in a restaurant is the right one for that meal, that evening, and that mood? It sounds easy, but even the most experienced wine drinkers often regret their picks, and if you’re new to the world of wine, it can be a real struggle.
We investigated this issue with restaurant owner Philippe Huser, a lifelong wine-lover from Switzerland who moved to Shanghai back in 2004 and opened Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen in 2007. The high-end, serially awarded Bund restaurant is synonymous not only with excellent food but with one of the most extensive and quality-packed wine lists in the city, with over 1,000 labels.
于是，我们和来自瑞士的终极葡萄酒爱好者Phillipe Huser一起做了个问卷采访，他于2004年搬到了上海，在2007年开了一家名为Napa Wine Bar＆Kitchen的餐厅。这家高端的餐饮场所不仅连续几次获奖了外滩最佳餐厅殊荣，并且还有着本市最广泛和优质的葡萄酒单之一，其中葡萄酒的牌子多达1000个左右。
We figured there wasn’t anyone in Shanghai better suited to give us some tips on how to make sure we order the best wine we can next time we’re in a restaurant.
The power of the internet
In every big wine list there are always one or two wines whose values have gone up like crazy – and many restaurants don’t change their prices. My recommendation is having a look at the wine list before you go to the restaurant as many top restaurants should have their updated menus online. There are great websites like Wine Searcher that can give you information on the historical value of a great bottle. That way you can just go and take your time, without the pressure of feeling “oh my god, what do I order?”.
通常情况下， 每个大的酒单中总有一两款葡萄酒的市估价会疯狂上涨 – 而且很多餐厅也不会调价。所以我的建议是，您在去餐厅之前，上网先查看一下酒单，因为许多高级餐厅一般来讲都会在网上更新它们的酒单信息。像是Wine Searcher这样的网站可以为您提供很多关于葡萄酒的历史背景及市场价值等信息。这样一来，你就可以花更少的时间选择更合适的酒，而不是临到关头，倍感压力。
When in doubt, blends are better
If I can’t recognize wines I love on a restaurant’s list, I will often go for a blend – a Bordeaux blend or something like that. Sometimes, a wine that is a single grape has more of some kind of mood, they can be a bit more acidic and rough. Blended wines are usually more consistent in the way that they drink.
如果我在餐厅酒单上挑不出我喜欢的葡萄酒，通常我就选混合型葡萄酒- 比如说， 混合型波尔多或类似的葡萄酒。因为一般来说，单一型葡萄品种酿造的葡萄酒特性会更佳突出，有时候甚至是无法接受，因为它们的口感可能会更酸或更涩。但混合型葡萄酒品尝起来感觉则会更加和谐。
Mind the “Big Name” trick
Sometimes, restaurants will select famous wines that people know the price of at other venues and put a very low margin on them, so that customers will feel that the whole wine list is very well priced. But that’s not necessarily the case, which could lead to picking another different wine that is not good value at all. This is one of the more common “tricks” that might be used by a restaurant with a comprehensive wine list.
A look inside the wine cellars at Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen
Exploit the sommelier, they’re there for you!
Sommeliers are there to create the best wine experience for you. The best way to pick a bottle that you will like, is to keep track of the wines that you enjoy. Then, next time you’re in a restaurant choosing a bottle, if there is a sommelier show them a picture or tell. They will for sure be able to make a recommendation on a similar flavor profile.
Go for regional pairings
Regional pairing is something that makes a lot of sense and that I like to do as it also helps to reduce the choice – “OK, I’ll go Italian because this dish is Italian”. While this is not a must when pairing wine and food, usually wine regions will have their own cooking style, and if you think about Tuscany, Burgundy, all these places have great restaurants. Why? Because people that make and enjoy wine, usually enjoy their own home’s food too. They just go together.
产区配对是很有用的一个方法，我本人就喜欢这样做。因为此法有助于减少不必要的选择 ， 比如说，“好吧，我选意大利的葡萄酒，因为这道菜是意大利菜”。虽然在搭配葡萄酒和食物没有必须要求这样做，但通常葡萄酒产区都有自己的烹饪风格，如果说你想到了托斯卡纳，勃艮第等产区的葡萄酒，而所有这些地方都会有很棒的餐厅。为什么？因为制作和享用葡萄酒的人，通常也很喜欢自己家乡的食物。因此，它们在一起会更搭。
We also asked Philippe about what he thinks on the popular belief that the second cheaper wine being the one with the highest profit margin for the restaurant, and therefore one of the bottles that have the least value.
“I’ve heard of the idea that the second cheapest wine is the one with the highest margins. but I really don’t think it’s true. It really depends on the wine list – if you go to a restaurant that has less than 20 wines, then maybe. But at Napa we have a thousand labels. Trying to find the second cheapest wine is going to take you a while!”
“是的，我听说过第二便宜的葡萄酒是餐厅里利润率最高的葡萄酒这一说法。但说老实话，我不太认同这样的观点。因为通常情况下， 这要取决于当时的酒单 – 如果你去的餐厅的葡萄酒牌子少于20种选择，那么也许这个符合说法。但在我们的餐厅，将近会有1000个葡萄酒牌子，如果想找到第二便宜的葡萄酒的话，可能需要花上挺长时间！”
Napa Wine Bar & Kitchen
South Bund 22,
2/F, 22 Zhongshan Dong Lu, near Jinling Lu, Shanghai
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