Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ordering Wine At Your Favorite Restaurant No It's Not Corked

Leave it to a business dinner and the comical behavior of a nearby table to become the inspiration for today's post. I want you to remember when ordering wine at a restaurant pay attention to the pairing and not how much the wine costs. Why you ask? Because the most expensive wine may not be the best pairing and you are impressing no one by buying it then having remorse. Order what you know or take the advice of the server or manager if you trust their judgement. And for pete's sake don't argue with the educated wine manger who has been trained to know every varietal and region.

So I am out to dinner on business and we are finishing our meal when the table next door caught my attention. 2 gentlemen and their boss were out enjoying dinner after a successful day (yes they talked loud enough I could hear). All three were eying the salmon dish which is well prepared by the way (I've been known to order this dish a time or 4) and the perfect pairing for this dish is a soft elegant Pinot. One of the gentlemen was claiming to be well versed in the world of wine and to show his knowledge he wanted the most expensive Cabernet the server sold. "Sir if I may interject we have 3 very fine Pinot Noir's which compliment this dish perfectly. I have a low, medium and high priced bottle each working very well with the dish and it's entirely up to you which one to purchase." But no Mr I Know My Wine belted out "We will have this Cabernet!" The server asked if he was positive and Oh yes he was sure that was the bottle this evening.

Just prior to the boss returning the 2 gentlemen at the table were indifferent with the wine choice. "Jeff you just ordered a $175 bottle of Cabernet." "Mark I had to Bill knows his wine and I'm here to impress him so I can get the next promotion." There it was boss impress time except what was about to happen made me chuckle. "Who the hell orders Cabernet with salmon? Jesus you order this coastal pinot with the salmon dish." I can hardly control myself at this point because through the tears I was sure he was going to try and say he didn't like the wine. Sorry folks he one bettered me he called the server over and said the wine was corked. Mark and Bill said the wine was fine but Old Jeff was persistent. The server in turn brought the front house manager over. "Young man this wine is corked and I do not wish to buy this. I want another bottle" "Sir my apologies your dining experience has been less than desired but I can assure you this wine is not corked." "Look pal I know my wine and this bottle is corked! Maybe this restaurant should send you to school to learn about wine." "Well sir I have just completed the WSET Level 2 test and passed with flying colors" OMG give me the oxygen because the boss ripped his employee for being a dumb shit and cheapskate. Needless to say they kept the wine.

As I walked out I complimented the server on offering the table a nice selection of price points to chose from as well as the manager for the way he handled the situation. We had a good laugh over the whole thing and I ordered a last glass before heading home (hey one must have an after dinner sip).

Don't ever try to send a wine back because you do not like the juice. It's flat wrong and unethical. Drink it and deal with it.


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