DC Drinks

Reviews, rantlets and ribald on all things alcoholic.

Friday, November 10, 2006

How To Avoid Looking Like A Prick While Ordering Wine

Don't know exactly what to order when you're ordering wine? Here's a tip from a professional: you look like a prick when you improvise. Cut it out.

I learned this lesson best through karaoke. The performances that the crowd clamors for are the ones that are rehearsed. Every time I get a wild hair and stray from my standards, I watch the crowd thin, gleeful expressions dwindle and the host cringe. Time to take a hint.

So here are a few tips to avoid improvisation and pricktitude at the table or bar.

1.) Never, ever listen to servers. Servers know wine like health food store clerks know how to cure cancer. I wish it wasn't so, and sometimes a rare example proves an exception, but servers are generally studying political science, in a band or finishing up their novel. They only care about wine as much as they are told to by their employers. Generally, simple and idiotic phrases like "I like it," "it's dry" and "one of my favorites" are as detailed an explanation as you'll get from the server-kind.

2.) Order by style and price. Don't bitch after you ask for a certain style of wine and then you get hit for the $300 bottle. You weren't specific. It's your fault. Of course the server or sommelier wants to get the big sale--that's how they make money, numbnuts. As long as they don't lie to you, they're well within their right.

3.) Don't stand there stammering about how you once had a wine but you can't remember the name of it. Nobody has a ready catalogue of what you drank and ate except the good Lord himself, and he'll reckon with the f-cking Pinot Grigio you had with a steak when judgement day comes. We don't know what it is; you don't know what is. Guess what, it wasn't that good. Move on.

4.) If you've had French before, but you really don't know anything about the region, you can visit this brand new, radical website called "Google." I realize French wines are tough, but visit Terroir-france.com and within 30 minutes you'll have a working knowledge of some important regions.

5.) Call ahead and ask to speak with the wine buyer or sommelier. Especially if it's an important occasion. Tell them you are a novice, some general characteristics and what you want to spend. In fact, you should at least have a few general descriptors: fruit-forward, spicy, red, etc. While some people will be annoyed, others will appreciate your sincerity.

Glad I can help.


At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Jeffrey Morgenthaler said...

Jesus, this one read as if I had written it myself. One more bit of advice would be, "Don't challenge your server." Although it's real fun to have a little pissing contest, that's not what we're here for. Order your bottle, inspect your bottle, enjoy your bottle, and pay for your bottle.

And for the love of everything that is holy, don't try to send back a wine because you don't like it.

Thanks, guys!

At 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as for the servers not knowing anything, I beg to differ. Several places I go to are because the staff seems to be on the ball. either thru management trainning them or they do the educating at off-times. Assumptions are what brought Macarthy to power and quickly swept under the rug


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