I've been on the road on the west coast of Norway this week. And left with a pretty normal wine list at the hotel, I made it my mission to pick wine of the week from this 12 bottle selection. A situation many can relate to. So how to make the best choice? Here's my how-to.
Stick to the big ones: France - Italy - Spain.
Avoid: New World, like New Zealand, USA and South Africa.
Why: You're just more likely to hit it big by sticking to a classic, in a situation like this.
Choose a traditional producer that has a long and history.
How too: Google the producer. Solid wineries usually have extended websites.
Look for wine regions that you've heard about.
Like Piedmont in Italy, Burgundy and Bordeaux in France and Rioja in Spain.
Don't know any wine regions? --> Google "Famous wine regions in ... France"
Be price smart. Don't head for the 355kr bottle and skip the Amarone at 1650kr.
A good buy in both red and white, at a normal hotel, will be around 6-800kr. Lower is usually overpriced cheap shit, or more expensive is often hyped stuff not worth the price.
Finally get a sense of the staff. The knowledge varies a lot these days.
A good waiter will ask if you want to see the wine list, a poor one will just recommend a random wine without offering you to see the selection.
If you have a good one, ask for recommendation.
For my choice
-I stuck with Italy
-I knew that Fontanafredda was a solid producer
-I know Piedmont very well
-This Barolo was 790kr
-The staff had little knowledge, so I didn't involve them
And I ended up with a very nice bottle at a good price, for a restaurant.