Sunday, October 9, 2016

How to Politely Explain Your Price Range to a Sommelier

I just answered a Quora quesion: "In a fine dining restaurant, what is a polite way to tell the sommelier the price range for the wine you're considering?"
I cannot for the life of me understand why people allow themselves to be intimidated by staff in pricey retail. The dude opening my wine bottle is NOT my social superior (nor is he my inferior!), regardless of the status buttons he’s been trained to press. They’re doing kabuki status theater. That doesn’t mean *I* need to, as well. I’m the audience, not an actor!

So here’s how I do it: “What do you suggest for under xx bucks?”

If he offers the slightest indication that he considers me vulgar, that means he’s super bad at his job (which is ENTIRELY about making me feel comfortable).


Seth Godin said...

And if you're the host, a simple hack:

"I'm thinking of something in the price range of the 54 Poully Fousee... something [insert adjective]... what do your recommend?"

code words, without being showy or cheap to your guests!

Jim Leff said...

If I don't have a smart adjective in mind, my all-purpose tactic is "Something complex and interesting, with a long finish".

Works for spirits, beer, wine...anything. Signals that you're not a tourist; you want the stuff that intrigues the staff...the one weirdo item they stock without expecting most people to go for it.

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