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"How to enjoy wine and not look an...."


Joe Riley
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Of all the blogs that I read, Waiterrant.net is at the top of my list. This guy is a very talented writer and his stories can be very entertaining. This recent entry is too good not to share here:

http://waiterrant.net/?p=250#comments

I included the link with the comments because the comments are occasionally even MORE entertaining than the blog post.

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I included the link with the comments because the comments are occasionally even MORE entertaining than the blog post.

Yeah like this little gem from someone named Mags86
Great Post! Love 9 and 10 - more people should know this! How about champagne??? One does not ‘taste’ champagne - if it makes an (understated) pop when the waiter opens it - it’s good! The waiter will just pour it…..you see bubbles - it’s good.

I take it Mags86 has never gotten a corked bottle of Champagne. It fizzes, and if opened incorrectly it even pops when opened, but it smells like an old basement and tastes horribly sweet or not at all. But I am sure Mags86 can tell all of this from the sound of the cork popping.

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My 2¢:

-I offer tastes of Champagne so the host can check the temperature. Some people want their Champagne served at 33° .

-Why do I keep seeing people say not to smell the cork? I've seen serious wine writers say this, too. If the cork is rotten, it will smell rotten. The cork should smell like wine, not rotten cork.

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-Why do I keep seeing people say not to smell the cork? I've seen serious wine writers say this, too. If the cork is rotten, it will smell rotten. The cork should smell like wine, not rotten cork.

I partially disagree with this one. I have experienced many a bottle where the cork had an odd or off smell but the wine is perfectly fine. I have also taken back corked wine where the cork had a normal smell. There is, however, a positive correlation between bad smelling cork and bad smelling wine.

I don't think there is a right or wrong on smelling the cork, but the final proof is only in the glass.

Edited by deangold
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I also love the posts about "All California wine is overpriced crap" and Argentinian wine can be found at 8-10 a borttle retail that will be better than a 25 to 30 Californian wine etc etc etc.

All Californian wine is overpriced crap? Not if you like the terroir of a particular growing region or the flavor profiles unique to Californian wine. If ALL California is overpriced crap, then it must follow that other wine growing regions can replicate the flavors and terroir of California wine. This is absurd in the extreme. Santa Cruz Mountains grown cab tasted distinctly different than cabernet grown anyhere else in the world. While it is possible for a winemaker to cover up this flavor by using technology, oak etc, if I want that flavor, I must go to a wine that, at a minimum, started out with Santa Cruz grapes. Only I can then determine if the price quality relationship makes it worth it.

What wines are we talking about? Grace family vineyards? Yes overpriced crap. Bryant? Yes Overpriced crap. Opus? Yes, overpriced crap. In my opinion. But I have actually tasted these wines as well as searched out smaller, less well know producers and california classic producers as well. I have probably tasted cabernet from over 500 producers from California. I do not like oak dominated wines. I do not like over extracted wines. These are my opinions.

If I am looking for a great Cabernet from California, my list starts with Ridge Montebello, Laurel Glen, Mayacamas, Ahlgren, Iron Horse, Judd's Hill, Miner. Rarely do these wines show up on the top of the Wine Spectator ratings, but they are what I LIKE! For me, they are a great bargain. I have never had an argentinian wine that measuyres up to this list on a dollar for dollar basis. Hell, Laurel Glen makes wines from Argentina and I prefer his California stuff on a dollar for dollar basis. Others don't and good for them. There are no absolutes in winemaking. It all boils down to what you like and what you have experienced. There is no absolute measure of a wines quality. Its all a matter of fit.

When someone asks me for a wine recommendation, I always ask them "What do you usually drink?" Then, taking that into account, I try to steer them to something they may have never tried before. If they say "I love merlot", I will guide them to another grape that has similar textural and sensual characteristics as typical merlot- unagressive tannins, lots of fruit, maybe some spice, suppleness. They might get a recomendation of Pignolo, Lagrein, Refosco, or maybe a merlot from Friuli. It all depends on how I feel. I am neither pro- or anti-merlot. But I do want to stretch the experiences of my customers, not just give them the same old same old.

Ohh well, enough of my rant.

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Stew Leonard’s.
Huh, the guy must be from my [origonal] neck of the woods. Incidentally, Stew Leonard's wine shop didn't seem half bad {in my opinion and expectations | for what I was looking for} when I was there. If anything was lacking, it was their beer selection.
Sending the wine back – If the wine’s bad send it back! It’s no skin off our nose. Usually we get a credit from the distributor.
Really?
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Hey, Dean, did you know that the first hit on google for "ridge montebello" is to your blog?

I had an old college friend from the late 70's try to find me. In the pre Dino days, a Google search on Dean Gold brought up "Dean Martin's Gold Hits", "Jan and Dean's Gold Record", "Torvil and Dean win the Gold Medal", and "Dean (the title and not a person) Gold of such and such College". So he rememberd that we shared many a bottle of Ridge Montebello back in the old days (along with copious amounts of illegal substances- this after all was the late 70's.) So he plugged in Dean Gold and Ridge and got me. We ahve renewed a friendship after 25 years thanks to my love of Ridge wines. It still amazed me that I top Ridge's own website.

I also google at the top for Ridge Petite Sirah, Ruby Cabernet and on the first page of Geyserville. Not for Lytton Springs tho...

Now I actually have 5 hits on page one (which astounds me to no end) so no one will have to do that type of sleuthing.

Edited by deangold
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On the whole cork issue, I prefer that my server place it on the table, but not in front of me, as though it were a medical specimen, but just near me so I can examine it at my leisure.

I prefer to look at the wine, smell the wine and take a little taste. That tells me everything that I need to know, but I do examine the cork for the heck of it. When I'm feeling silly, I'll hold the cork up to my ear and exclaim, "The cork is sound - go ahead and serve it!" :)

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On the whole cork issue, I prefer that my server place it on the table, but not in front of me, as though it were a medical specimen, but just near me so I can examine it at my leisure.

I prefer to look at the wine, smell the wine and take a little taste.  That tells me everything that I need to know, but I do examine the cork for the heck of it.  When I'm feeling silly, I'll hold the cork up to my ear and exclaim, "The cork is sound - go ahead and serve it!"  :)

The only time I've ever tasted "1961 Petrus," the cork was stamped 1966. How's that for a hosing?

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The only time I've ever tasted "1961 Petrus," the cork was stamped 1966.  How's that for a hosing?

Yikes!

Well, I suppose if I were drinking really old Bordeaux I'd be a little more interested in it, but sadly, I'll probably never be in that position.

Don, I don't know the circumstances of your Petrus tasting, but is there even the slightest possibility that the bottle you were tasting from had been recorked? I know that Lafite and some other Château have sometimes had re-corking tours. Just a thought.

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Yikes!

Well, I suppose if I were drinking really old Bordeaux I'd be a little more interested in it, but sadly, I'll probably never be in that position.

Don, I don't know the circumstances of your Petrus tasting, but is there even the slightest possibility that the bottle you were tasting from had been recorked?  I know that Lafite and some other Château have sometimes had re-corking tours.  Just a thought.

Not a chance; it was counterfeit, plain and simple.

Lafite et al stamp the replacement corks with "recorked by the Chateau in 1991" (or whatever year they recork the wines, in French of course). Interestingly, I had a 1953 Doisy-Daene Barsac on Thanksgiving that had been recorked by the Chateau in the late 1970s - I had no idea until the cork had been pulled and inspected.

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Well, I'm not worried about this problem - all of those dozens of cases of '61 Petrus that I have are fitted with Stel-Vin closures, so I don't even have to worry about them being corked. :)

So Don - was it even Petrus that you drank?  Was it any good?

This is ten years ago, and I only had one glass, so you're testing my memory. It was definitely the 66, and was chunky and coarse. Certainly very good but not sublime, although it may have still been disturbed from transit - a major retailer in town had recently received a shipment from a (in)famous broker up in NYC, and had opened up a bottle as a test case. Lucky for him, lucky for me, as I had just stumbled into the store on a whim.

Cheers,

Rocks

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What do you mean by "counterfeit?"  What it some other wine with fake labels and corks, or was it a '66 masquerading as a '61.

Because of the prices these wines command these days ('61 Petrus = $10,000 a bottle), the counterfeit problem is real. Wine Specatator did an article about it last year. Scanning equipment can duplicate labels. The corks are a bit trickier. This is why a re-corked bottle will normally have a short capsule: so the cork and its imprint can be seen through the neck of the bottle.

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Like many other counterfeit items much of it comes out of China. However, they are usually producing wines that are meant to dupe other Chinese (mainly those who do not know a Western language), some of the spelling errors I have heard about on these labels are pretty funny. Some of them do not even use wine in the bottles.

However, there are people here who are much better at the wine counterfeit game. The incident that Don wrote about is where someone buys an off vintage of a particular wine (in this case Petrus), they remove the labels and put on ones that claim to be a much better vintage. This negates the need to replicate the capsule and the cork. The capsule is as difficult, if not more so than the cork to get right.

Don and I have a mutual friend who was taken in by this type of dupe. I cannot remember what the vintage of Petrus was, and it might be the same incident. Because he sells wine, I will not mention his name, but he still has his case, but not for sale.

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Don and I have a mutual friend who was taken in by this type of dupe.  I cannot remember what the vintage of Petrus was, and it might be the same incident. 

It was the same incident, and our mutual friend is the one who served me the wine - I'm not sure why I remember it (both the incident and the wine) so vividly over a decade later, but I do. Then again, I remember my friends' phone numbers from when I was a little kid (Bob Yerger 622-1806, Steve Shuman 622-2690 Paul Puzinauskas 622-1077)

He was able to get his money back, right? :)

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It was the same incident, and our mutual friend is the one who served me the wine -  I'm not sure why I remember it (both the incident and the wine) so vividly over a decade later, but I do.  Then again, I remember my friends' phone numbers from when I was a little kid (Bob Yerger 622-1806, Steve Shuman 622-2690 Paul Puzinauskas 622-1077)

He was able to get his money back, right?   :)

I don't believe that he was. But it was a lot less money back then. He offered to sell me one of the counterfeit bottles (at the real year price). He believes that their might be at least one '61 in the case, and I might get lucky. I am sure that one Saturday he will open a bottle of it. He once opened a bottle of '70 Palmer and '68 Petrus for a few of his regular customers to enjoy while everyone else were relegated to drinking some Aussie whites. For sum reason I remember this vividly. B):o

Note: Those wines were low fills so if he could sell them it would have had to have been at a deep discount, so he shared them instead.

Edited by Sthitch
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There is nothing more irritating to a wine lover than to see some pretentious s.o.b. try to "one up" the sommilier, or worse to treat him/her like a pest. I love good wine, and when I am at a restaurant (assuming I haven't brought the wine from my cellar) I always consult with the somm. After all he knows his list better than I can. Of course, I swirl, smell and taste before approving the wine, but I try not to make a big deal of it.

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By the way- what's with servers stealing my cork back? I ordered the bottle of wine I want the cork. Leave it on the table- it isn't taking up any room and the bottle won't need to be recorked until the end of dinner if at all. If you are at dinner with me and the bottle needs to be recorked it's only because we are on bottle 3-4 between 2 of us.

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By the way- what's with servers stealing my cork back? I ordered the bottle of wine I want the cork. Leave it on the table- it isn't taking up any room and the bottle won't need to be recorked until the end of dinner if at all. If you are at dinner with me and the bottle needs to be recorked it's only because we are on bottle 3-4 between 2 of us.

Wine service etiquette says that once the cork has been inspected and approved, it becomes garbage and should be cleared off the table. If you want to keep your cork on the table, I suggest you say something to the server along the lines of "I want to keep this on the table". :lol:

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Wine service etiquette says that once the cork has been inspected and approved, it becomes garbage and should be cleared off the table. If you want to keep your cork on the table, I suggest you say something to the server along the lines of "I want to keep this on the table". :lol:

I've just never understood why. my better solution is I just grab it and hang on to it. I keep all my corks.

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I've just never understood why. my better solution is I just grab it and hang on to it. I keep all my corks.

I guess if I collected them it might bother me too. BTW, what do you do with the Stel-Vin, Jake's favorite, closures? :lol:

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