Top tips for decoding a wine list

Start at the back of the list

Back to front

Many wine professionals offer this piece of advice, believing that often the most interesting, one-off bottles are featured at the back of the list, rather than at the front. It does have some merit, but is a strategy perhaps more useful if the list if particularly long and you are unlikely to make your way through the whole thing.

For one, new world options tend be come second, so starting from the back allows you to check out the competition as a benchmark, before comparing to the Old World counterparts. This way you are more likely to hunt out the better value wines first, rather than plump for wines that are considered familiar and classic, which are usually positioned at the front of a list to help the wary consumer, but which don’t necessarily better value.

In theory, you are more likely to find something more interesting this way than if you had picked something off the first page, however it is by no means a bulletproof strategy.

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