Here's How To Get A Sommelier To Offer You Wines That Aren't On The Menu

I’m going to assume that you’re comfortable talking to a sommelier, which is both admirable and a tad abnormal.
Most people who ask me questions about wine are terrified of talking to the somm for fear of broaching the “wrong” questions, revealing their inferior tastes, or, in general, sounding like a buffoon.

In the other extreme, of course, are the buffoons who love to talk to somms just to hear themselves pontificate about things that make them feel important (i.e. “I see you have the ’82 Blahdeeblah; I have six cases of that in my cellar, but they’re coming along rather slowly at present.”) I’m hoping this doesn’t describe you, of course.

So back to my advice.

First, and foremost, make sure you’re actually talking to the sommelier or wine director. In other words, never, ever, ever, ever ask the waiter for wine advice. I’m not being a d–k here, but rather defining roles: Waiters serve food, should be able to discuss ingredients and preparation, and offer impeccable service. Period. Ask for a wine list. Look at the menu, figure out what you’re going to eat, and then ask the waiter to send over the somm or wine director.