Dining at a new restaurant, one you've never visited before, is not just a great opportunity to try something new when it comes to food. It's also an excellent opportunity to experience new wine. Maybe it's a varietal you've never tried before, or perhaps a region; regardless, dining out is a great time to try something new in wine.
My brother and niece were visiting this weekend and as we were disuccsing dining opportunities, my brother suggested lamb. Well, I said, there's a Greek resatuarant about two blocks aways that's always busy and I've always wanted to try.
It was settled; we went to Melantios Greek Char House. In addition to the sumptuous menu, the Greek wine choices by the glass were plentiful, and I was determined to try one.
One of the specials that night was a lamb shank slow cooked and then roasted to deliciousness. I knew I wanted a Greek wine but I really had no clue what to order, so I let the server steer me. And his recommendation was really delicious.
It was the Ktima Tselepos Cabernet/Merlot blend from 2007. The blend is 70/30, producing a rich wine that is sumptuous and a bit fruit-forward, but retains the stern structure and dryness of a Cabernet Sauvignon. It wasn't a cheap pour at $14 per glass, but it was an excellent match for the lamb shank. I'll be curious to see how much it fetches retail for a bottle.
Often when we dine out, particularly when we are trying out a new place, we can slip into a mode of safety when reading a wine list. We can have a tendancy to look for something familiar, whether it be a particular brand or varietal. But if you can resist that tendancy toward safety, you can find some great wines, new styles, and new regions that you might not otherwise experience but for visiting that restaurant.
Got any great wine stories to share of when you let yourself be steered toward the unfamiliar on a wine list? Please share in the comments! I'd love to read them.