Wine is generally a happy thing. Even if you’re in a bad mood, it’s magic mood-altering powers can bring you out of the fog and make you happy. But amidst all the happiness, there are just some folks that try to ruin the fun for me. OK, lest I’m being a tad bit over dramatic (imagine that!) these are things that still just drive me batshit crazy.
Wine Straight Out of Hades
I’m not talking about the stuff that people sometimes refer to as “hot” due to high alcohol levels. I’m talking about wine that is too damn warm! Nothing drives me crazier than a so called “wine bar” serving me wine that’s practically 80 degrees! If it has been stored properly somewhere between 53-57 degrees, then it shouldn’t be warm when you bring it to me. I’m just saying. And I’m not talking about the cheap chain restaurant that is serving frozen food. I’m talking about people that should know better. Don’t call yourself a wine bar or a fine dining establishment and bring me warm wine. That shit is not cool. What’s worse are the folks that give me the “side eye” or just seem annoyed that I ask for an ice bucket to cool it down. Seriously?! Do NOT be afraid to ask them to cool it down. It’s not like the wine will improve after they pour it.
Brrr! Almost as annoying but not quite, is when I get a wine that practically has icicles in it. I know, I know. I’m never satisfied as I can’t stand the warm stuff and now I’m whining about the too cold stuff, but there is a sweet spot in there. Drink a wine too cold and you can’t really appreciate its aromas and flavors. Which might not be a bad thing if it’s a bad wine. But why would you order bad wine? Or drink a bad one that you bought from the store? As everyone likes to tell you, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” It’s true! The only redeeming part of this wine sin is that the wine will eventually warm up which makes it less egregious than the hot wine. To speed things along, I sometimes wrap my hand around the bowl of the glass. Yes, I’m slightly (a lot) impatient.
The Over Pourer
I get that folks want to provide good service in a restaurant. I really do. But is it really necessary to fill my glass to the brim where I’m on the verge of spilling it when I pick it up? Or it is necessary to top it off every time I drink a quarter of an inch out of it?! Stop it! I feel like you’re rushing me and you’re messing up my glass which I’ve probably just gotten to the right temperature and am really starting to enjoy. I’ve actually gotten to the point where I either have to hoard my bottle and practically keep it in my lap or just sit with my hand over my glass. Grrr!
The Wine Thief
Do not take my bottle or glass away when I’m not done with it! Don’t. Do. It. The over eager server who likes to whisk in and snatch away my liquid gold when there’s an ounce left in there is just asking to get read his rights or his hand slapped! What the hell is wrong with you?! Don’t you see that liquid still sitting in the bottom of the glass or bottle?! It may not seem like a lot of wine to you, put I paid (and probably dearly) for this wine – see the next sin. How about just asking if I’m done with it? K?
The Highway Robber
I get it. You have to make a profit. You want to be successful. You have overhead. I get it. I do. I’m a corporate lawyer that understands all about margins and the almighty dollar. But is it really necessary to gouge me and charge FOUR TIMES the retail price for a bottle of wine?! Nothing drives me crazier that seeing a wine that I buy or drink often and am familiar with being sold for four or five times its price. This is why I never purchase a wine in a restaurant that I’ve previously purchased. Can’t do it. In fact, I try not to even read the price if it’s a wine I recognize. I’d just rather not know. What makes it worse is that there are many places that don’t do this. There are several restaurants in my city that pride themselves on pricing their wines slightly above retail. So it is possible to price wines with a little less “price zeal.” And many of these folks have been around for years. As a side note, the most egregious markups seem to be on the lower end wines or those with big names that are very familiar to the drinking public. So go mid-range and a bit off the beaten path for something a little less insulting to your wallet.