Wine Talk

Snooth User: spikedc

When will I learn?

Posted by spikedc, Apr 25, 2012.

Went out for a meal at a restaurant the other night  whilst on a short break away in Wales taking my daughter back to University, While we were ordering i decided to have a glass of Rioja with some tapas. The wine was one i have tasted before at home and has always been good.

Firstly when it arrived the glass was warm to the touch,  i asked them why already knowing the answer and the waitress told me the glasses have just come out of the dish washer. she poured me another but it didn't taste great, i asked how long the bottle has been open and she wasn't sure I also noticed that a lot of the bottles were stored right by the window in bright sunlight.. I finally gave up and ordered beer, luckily the food was Ok.

Had a gentle word with the manager after and he kind of wasn't that bothered but did offer us a little discount.

This was only a mid range restaurant ( well known Chain) but you should be able to get a fairly decent glass of wine especially for the price they charge.

I don't tend to order wine by the glass but just fancied one on this occasion.

Lesson learnt !!



Reply by outthere, Apr 25, 2012.

Good reason to never order wine by the glass unless  it's a cheap mass produced fruit bomb (they tend to sell off quicker).

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 25, 2012.

Or the merchant is in a place that does a big by the glass trade or plainly has the proper set up.  But, yeah, I bet there are tons of folks who eat out and think they only sort of like wine because they buy a glass that's been improperly stored and poured.

Glass right out of the dishwasher.  Wow.  Just such an amateur move.

Reply by spikedc, Apr 25, 2012.

Should have realised it wasn't going to be good when the waitress wrote down Riocha on her notepad.

Reply by smithdaj54, Apr 25, 2012.

Yuck!  Might as well use a solo cup!  Been there, and like you said, lesson learned!

Reply by GregT, Apr 25, 2012.

In the US they often serve cold water, or at least they used to in those places.  If you feel the glass is warm, ask for some ice or ice water and use that to rinse the glass. 

Unless you're in a place that you know moves a lot of wine, ask if the bottle has been open all day or whether it was just opened. If they don't know, you're screwed. If they tell you it's been open three days, order something else. If they say it was just opened for the table next to you, you're in business.  I always ask before ordering a glass.

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 25, 2012.

That's tough...seeing the wines stored next to a window is brutal. It's pretty bad here in the states at chain type restaurants too, something that I hope improves over time. 

When I was in France & Italy last I had two entirely different experiences with wine by the glass.

We made a stop at a little florentine restaurant that came recommended (for the food), and I was hoping to get some nice Italian red table wine (by the glass), but it was scorching hot outside and I didn't like how I saw all the bottles stored up in high vertical space stood upright....while I understood this was for decor, you could also tell there was nowhere else to store the wine! When I ordered a glass, it was warm, and it was disappointing.

This was fresh after getting a great glass of french table wine in nice, where they served Italian/mediterranean dishes in the shade downtown next to the coast. Ahh, cooler weather and respect for wine, it was even served slightly chilled, "cast my memory back my lord..." think that was the best wine by the glass experience ever. My dad always talked about the french and their pride for their house wines, and that time it turned out to be the case.

Reply by spikedc, Apr 26, 2012.

Anybody tried wine from dispensers/Preservation systems

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 26, 2012.

That's why it's pretty much BYOB or beer for me, though there are some restaurants that really have the BTG programs down, they usually are not inexpensive.

I think preservation systems like the one you link to a re great. Back in the day we had the Soho Kitchen here in NYC. They had a wall of dispensers and were intrumental in my earlier wine education. I wish more operators would take BTG seriously enough to consider the use of similar systems. It doesn't have to be quite this fancy, just effective at replacing oxygen with a inert gas in the bottle.


Reply by heartsleeve, Apr 26, 2012.

My FAV Italian brick oven pizzeria serves decent wine, stored just this side of the brick oven... impossible to get a glass of red that isnt cooked... pity because the food is FABulous!

Reply by EMark, Apr 26, 2012.

Best WBG story.  We were in N. Cal. a few years ago and decided we wanted to sup at Mustard's Grill in Napa.  We did not have reservations, and, as you can image, when we walked in, we were advised that the only seating at the moment was in the bar.  That sounded fine and, so, we sat at the bar.  Ordered up some dinner and debated whether we wanted a full bottle of wine or would we be smarter to order by the glass.  The bartender told us that they price their glasses as 1/5 the bottle price.  We decided to order by the glass--figuring that in Napa Valley they would take care of all their wine.  I saw the bartender open the bottle and pour for us.  So, the wine was quite acceptable.  Well, of course we each needed another glass, and, before we were completely finished I needed another glass.  Doing the arithmetic, that comes to five glasses between us.  I saw the bartender empty the recently opened bottle in my glass.  So, I can certainly vouch for his pours.

Also, the food is darned good, there.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 26, 2012.

Riocha... that's precious.

Emark, I don't mean to top you, but here's my story (and of course you have to sit at the bar for this to happen):

Oakland has a really good restaurant called Wood Tavern which, along with its sister restaurant next door, has a good BTG program.  In fact, they carry small wineries like Unti in tanks and deliver it by taps--the tanks are filled with nitrogen so the wine never goes bad.  It's a good place to try things you haven't had.  (A Cote in One evening,my wife and I were sitting at the bar at Wood (a friend gave us a gift cert and we just kind of walked in) and were sampling around the wine menu.  We noticed a guy down at the end of the bar who had ordered a Brown Estate Cab, which I had never had.  He ordered a second and maybe a third glass as well.  As the barmaid brought the bottle back from one of the pours to cork it, I saw her put her nose over the bottle and sniff, so I motioned her over.  I said that the wine must be really good if the guy at the end of the bar had ordered it again and again with all the good choices on the menu and she whiffed it like that when she's around so much good wine.  She said something like, "Find out for yourself," took down a glass and poured the last 2/3 of a pour into the glass and gave it to me.  And it was terrific.  Later, she also poured me a half-shot of Whistle Pig Rye gratis.  Now that's a restaurant I can recommend whole-heartedly. 

Reply by EMark, Apr 26, 2012.

I agree, Fox, that place and that server are both keepers.

Reply by thegrapesofwrath, Apr 27, 2012.

To JonDerry being from eruope originaly,  I have and will continue to spend alot of times traveling back there, and with that being said; more than least the smaller towns of french resturants, were the food is peasant type (being the best) they dont have the same respect for wines in the way we do here in the sates and /or one that takes a certain pride towards wines as we do here on this site for instance.  They are more simple people trying to make a living and to them they drink it as is no mater, they dont make a big deal, for they think it is if one cares that much about wines, they store as they would a bottle of water, no bi deal, no special care needed here.... And at most times expecaily during the summer months on the south of france, the wine is a lot hoter than one should be drinking at....

Reply by JonDerry, Apr 28, 2012.

So grapes of wrath, you say I got lucky in Nice? Makes that little cafe all the more special I guess.

Had a great enomatic wine by the glass (or half glass) after work the other day at one of the better wine shops in So Cal, Hi Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa. There was a big event going on in the tasting area, but I thought I'd check at what they had in the enomatic anyway.

And bam, there's a 2005 Leoville Poyferre in the high end display. $8.75 for a taste, $17.50 for a half glass, but I gladly went for a half do get a good experience, this being my first taste of the wine I've read so much about, and it did not disappoint.
This is really nice and unmistakenly, Bordeaux. Darkish, plum red in color with sediment finely and evenly distributed all around the glass. The nose gives scents of sweet soil with herbs, forest floor, and plums. Has a soft and savory mouthfeel, light to medium weight in body, but with just a drip of sugar on the finish. The alcohol is masked very well and intertwined, it's like a food. The world might be full of drunks if a wine like this were affordable. 93 +
Reply by thegrapesofwrath, Apr 29, 2012.

JonDerry it depends at were in Nice you were; there are some very fine restaurants and expecsive too, they would certainly have the wine you would need and at proper temperature to boot.... I was mainly speaking of the mom and pop type restaurants.

If you travel to one of my favorite areas, south west of France, Provence, there you will find small peasant style villages with some of the best cooking around  Many of the things one would not get in the bigger areas of France (Nice-Paris-etc.) unless they made a big spectacle of it, and into some elaborate expensive dish. 

The smaller older villages in France such as the surrounding areas of Aix-en-Provence (my favorite) you can find small mom/pop restaurants that make every day style cooking as if were no big deal to them; Escargot (small ones, not the huge ones most people are used to, these are very succulent), brochette, rabbit stews, steak and fries, soufflés, great vegetables and fruits, all fresh and some, of the best fresh everyday wines you can find, especially the Rose, excellent! Go directly to the vintners Cellars, take a tour and buy direct, its very cheap to buy.

Great seenery there for sure; some of the greatest painters lived ( van Gogh - Cézanne - Renoir - Picasso and many more )   there and/or visited for years, very beautiful...

Next time you go to France visit Aix-en-Provence. but be aware it is a big town too,  so visit the surrounding areas, that's were the jewels are.... Salute!


Reply by Nathan Ophardt, Apr 30, 2012.

I guess I had never considered this issue - we typically go to high traffic places. However, I will indeed begin asking whether the bottle is newly opened (no different than asking if the coffee is fresh outside of breakfast time!).

Reply by shsim, Apr 30, 2012.

Haha I never knew about Rioja until I joined Snooth. But there are still so many regions names etc! Sounds like the establishment was not at all concerned with the wine aspect if everyone on the payroll dont bother. Sad day. You would think if they serve wine, they would take care to know their wines just like their food. 

Spike, I have tried wines from the dispenser system and it was great! There is this restaurant Avant Tapas and wine in Buelton, CA in the Santa Barbara area that has a system of 20 wines. It is the only one I have encountered so far. It was fun to see the bottles, have a sip and decide if I want a glass. Very efficient.

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