Wine has so many varieties and varying degrees of value that it can be intimidating to order when you're out to dinner. Gerald Morgan Jr, Sommelier at Simplified Wine, has some tips on choosing and ordering wine that can help alleviate the confusion and intimidation.
Morgan spoke with The Art of Manliness about picking a wine that pairs well with your food — something we've talked about in the past — and keeping price points in mind:
If you're going to order wine by the glass, and you have no idea what you're going to do. Pick the wine that isn't the cheapest wine, but it's the next cheapest wine. It's always going to be your best value.
Picking a glass of their cheapest wine probably comes from a bottle that costs them $4, but if you pick the next one up in price, you're ordering a wine that costs the restaurant at least twice as much as their cheapest bottle. Some restaurants have wised up to the tactic of ordering the second cheapest wine and tried to mark it up, but not every establishment does it, and it's still a solid strategy for approaching wine at a restaurant.
Morgan also suggests picking wines from good regions, such as Argentina or Chile. Most waiters at decent establishments know what's what on the wine list, and some upscale places will even have a Sommelier on staff you can call ahead of time so it looks like you know exactly what's good when you arrive.
How to Order Wine [The Art of Manliness]