Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester 
The Dorchester
Park Lane 
London W1K 1QA
020 7629 8866

Are you an absolute beginner when it comes to wine? We don’t know about you, but we sometimes get embarrassed when choosing the grape juice. Every time the sommelier comes to our table to take our order, we blankly stare at the menu with shame: which wine was it that we wanted? Oh yes, the second cheapest.

Alain Ducasse’s 3-Michelin-star restaurant (located in the Dorchester hotel) has decided to educate us. The restaurant’s friendly sommeliers (Vincent Pastorello & Christopher Bothwell) are offering a 2-hour class, where pupils can feel comfortable to ask everything and anything they’ve ever wondered.

-Should red wine actually be served room temperature or is it a myth? (Depends on the wine, light red wine should be kept at 14-16°C while full bodied wine at 16-18°C)
-Should foie gras always be paired with sweet white wine? (no, a lighter wine could work better – although do stay away from red, as that will result in a metallic aftertaste!)
-How do we prevent a wine from getting oxidized? (Buy a wine pump).

Whatever your question, no one will judge you!

The course, which includes delicious canapés (duh, it’s a 3* restaurant), 6 glasses of wine, 1 glass of champagne and a goodie bag (which includes a bottle of champagne) is pretty informative. From learning how to open a bottle of wine with the most basic of bottle openers to figuring out which wine should be served in which glass, the course really answered all of our dumb questions.

3 important things we learned:

-Next time we eat out, we’ll be honest with the sommelier and won’t awkwardly point at the menu while avoiding eye contact. We’ll tell him our budget, the wines we liked in the past and will ask him to guide us

-Oxidized wine smells acidic, vinegary even, while corked wine smells dusty and none-fruity

-To figure out whether a wine is sweet or dry, pull your tongue out and dip it in: it’s the easiest way – though we advise you do it with discretion. If you’re on your first date, avoid doing it altogether, as it’s not a good look.


Interested? The course costs 150 pounds – but is really worth it. You won’t have to ever look dumb again.

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