For wine professionals at restaurants, one may assume the goal is always to share as much information about the wine list as possible to help inform the guests’ choices and make sure they have a great experience. One may also assume that for many, or even most, patrons, a somm’s assistance in selecting a wine is instructive and useful.
But when a guest brings a certain amount of wine knowledge to the dining experience (perhaps because they read this very website or listen to this very instructive podcast about wine), a somm’s full spiel might be a little… much. So if you find yourself in that situation, what can you do? Rather than announcing that you’re something of a wine connoisseur yourself, or anything less charming than that, try being more direct about what you need the somm’s assistance for.
Maybe you love a particular wine region but aren’t familiar with any bottles they have on the list. Or you recently got back from a trip where you had some exceptional wine and you’re looking for something similar. Or you like certain expressions of a wine variety and would like to try a different one. Asking for more specific suggestions from the sommelier — in a way that allows you to demonstrate that you do indeed know something about wine — will hopefully keep their recommendations more focused and help them to better serve you.
Of course, if you feel you don’t need the sommelier’s assistance in selecting a wine, you can always politely decline their help and let them know you already have something in mind that you’d like to order.