Make the most of your sommelier

Contrary to the opinion of some diners, the sommelier’s main aim is not to belittle customers, but to serve us with a wine we like at a price we want to pay. Andrew Catchpole finds out how we can help them to help us.

There you are, out for a meal, looking fine and feeling dandy, perusing the menu, taste buds humming at the thought of great nosh to come, and then over glides the wine guru. It’s the dreaded ‘wine moment’ – when you open the wine list with a mixture of confusion and belated concentration.

The pressure mounts as you glance again at the list, wishing that wines didn’t have such tongue-twisting names. Maybe you only want a modestly priced bottle. The thing is, everything you even vaguely recognise seems to be priced according to the national debt of the producing country.