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Oenophiles?
Old 08-01-2021, 12:42 AM   #1
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Oenophiles?

Recently had dinner for two at a nice restaurant. With two drinks, total came to $300 (BTD). My problem has to do with the wine.

I am not an oenophile by any means, but I have some friends who are. One invented some kind of monitoring device for people who collect expensive wines to be able to prove that they were stored properly.

One year with him and some other wine lovers at Olives at Bellagio, the sommlier gave us a lesson on wine glasses. We had a cabernet, one glass a bourdeaux or a glass with a fairly large bowl, and the same cabernet in a chablis glass. The chablis glass tasted thin and watery, while in the red wine glass it was full and delicious, so much so that when we were done with the "lesson", and he went to pour the chablis glass wine into the red wine glass, at first I said no, I don't want that stuff, then realized its the same wine, just in a different glass.

Well, at the restaurant above, I ordered a cabernet with my steak. Not only did they bring the wine in the wrong glass, it was chilled. And at $36 a glass. When I asked the waiter about it, he basically said, we have to keep it chilled or it goes bad, and then, what do you want me to do about it?

I felt like telling him where to put the wine, but he ended up going back, finding a room temperature bottle, and pouring it into another white wine glass. Sigh.

When I asked why they couldn't serve the wine in a red wine glass he said that the people who stayed at the hotel took them all and/or broke them. I noticed they had a 2008 Petrus for $6,295 on the menu. But they don't have red wine glasses. Really

My daughter was mad I tipped the guy at all, as he also charged us for a drink we didn't order on the final bill.

Am I being too fussy, or do you think the type of wine glass makes a difference to your enjoyment of the wine?
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Old 08-01-2021, 01:56 AM   #2
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There is a reason I drink my wine at home or at a friends.

Unless I’m in Europe.
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Old 08-01-2021, 05:34 AM   #3
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Personally, particular wine glasses do make a difference when imbibing. Large bowls for reds to allow the wine to react with oxygen and release their aromas. Reds should be served 60-65 degrees for optimum results. Whites should be served chilled 40-45 degrees, and served in a taller, smaller bowl. The glass should be able to release aromas, but not spread the wine out to allow it to warm up quicker. This being said, these are my personal preferences, and they do follow some standardized bumpers. Your mouth can only taste 4-5 things; salt, sweet, bitter, sour and maybe unami. All other flavors depend on one's olfactory senses and abilities, and whether you can actually recognize an aroma and seperate it in your mouth/brain. To be able to taste Chardonnay better in a Chardonnay glass is probably a stretch for 95% of people, but may improve the experience. And again, the quality of the wine and the temperature it was fermented, aged, and stored makes worlds of difference to a lot of people, but more often, not.

As for your restaurant experience, serving a $36 glass of chilled Cab is either a complete lack of training of the staff, or an attempt to mislead. Yes, when serving by the glass, the left over wine begins to degrade if the bottle is not purged of oxygen. It still must be kept at the proper serving temperature, and a bistro serving Petrus, should have the proper refrigeration and methods to serve it.

Now you seem to be one that can appreciate a great properly served bottle and can taste the difference. Perhaps the next time you go to a restaurant and order a great bottle of wine, ask the sommelier or server if he/she if serving it in the proper glass. After all, when you order your steak, you tell them how you want it served. A good somm really appreciates a knowlegeable patron and will make sure you are satisfied. But above all, you shouldn't expect great service when you order a glass of Yellowtail.
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Oenophiles?
Old 08-01-2021, 06:15 AM   #4
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Oenophiles?

The simple idea is to serve at cellar temps, somewhere in the higher 50Fs for reds, lower 50s/higher 40s for most whites. Like a cave. So itís proper to chill, which gives a wine some life, but not in the food fridge, which is much too cold.

The industry standard is for a glass of wine to equal the wholesale price for the bottle, so wine is a good mark up, especially with the overly-salty food typically served to keep the profitable beverages flowing. Itís a treat at places that have a sommelier-created wine list to fit the menu and that are equipped to store and serve it well, starting with the right glass, but those places are rare.

Most reds need to be decanted, like half an hour, and I never see American restaurants do it. Their goal is to turn the table so itís just pop and pour. In Paris, however, I saw a small neighborhood cafe decant bottles for customers who called ahead and were on their way.

Like Audrey, I do better buying my own and enjoying it in private. Restaurants are overpriced and most have little clue what they are doing, or else the profit motive prevents them doing things right.
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Old 08-01-2021, 06:35 AM   #5
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Despite the comments here, I have to say I'm skeptical that the glass shape can make that big of a difference. Sounds a bit like the snake oil audio cable world. But I'm open to the idea, I really need to test myself on this some day.

Glasses are a big deal in the beer side as well. I kind of enjoy using the "proper" glass from a historic/cultural angle, more than actually sensing a difference in the flavor. It's just part of the experience. For example - the clear Pilsner-style lagers became popular only after glass production became cheap enough for the masses. Prior to that, beer was served in stone mugs (Stein is German for stone) or pewter mugs, so no one cared if the beer was cloudy. And if I'm having a 12% Barleywine or barrel aged stout, something more like a goblet or snifter just feels right. Some pretty down to earth beer-brewing podcasters did an episode on this, came in skeptical, but they also were surprised at the differences in taste/aroma. Most beers have a more extreme profile than most wines, I'd say (range from low hops and malty to very hoppy low malt , etc), so I'd think the difference might be more prevalent in beer.

I was at a home-winemaking club meeting, and one of the guys led me through that thing that Oenophiles do, the chewing and sucking air in and moving the wine around on your tongue. Yes, that would bring out things I would have missed otherwise.

But yes, at a higher end restaurant, you certainly should get your red wine in a red wine glass, not a white wine glass, whether you can taste the difference or not. It's just what should be done.

And the temperature is a real deal, even for someone like me. I may be skeptical of wine glass affecting taste, but I know I want my reds at something closer to room temperature, and my whites chilled.

This is a big deal for me in the beer side - craft beer is often served way too cold, most of it should be cold, but not icy cold. And then I often need to ask for a glass when I order a can/bottle. And then I get an iced glass. Or even worse - one that reeks of chlorine. I've sent those back.

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Old 08-01-2021, 06:42 AM   #6
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OP it sounds like your restaurant had a wine list that exceeded their abilities. No sommelier or wine training, not a good place to be adventurous.

When you order a red at a good restaurant the glasses often arrive before the bottle. There is a quick whisking away of the house glasses that were set before you sat down, and replacement with those that match your order.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for the education (seriously)... I had absolutely no idea what Oenophiles were... However, honestly, my first thought after reading your initial post was, "do you guys need a little cheese with that whine". So now I know 10x more about the "love of wine" than I did before reading this thread, which is still almost nothing, I'm sure. I now have a better appreciation of why they have all those different types of wine glasses in the fancy restaurants or hanging upside down in racks at the bars.

Now consider this is coming from a guy who drinks his adult beverages straight from the bottle or "maybe" from an ice cold frosty mug.
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Old 08-01-2021, 07:46 AM   #8
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I think you have been duped. People believe whatever you tell them:

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Old 08-01-2021, 07:52 AM   #9
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I think we all can do the OP a favor by not hijacking this thread and turning it into a debate on wine or glasses.

Letís instead allow the OP the opportunity to pursue the topic as presented in the opening post, which is about a recent wine in restaurant experience.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by clobber View Post
I think you have been duped. People believe whatever you tell them:
...
But, but,but - he served all these different waters in the same style glass!!! Clearly, each deserves their own shape, to better bring out the Terroir of the garden hose. Where was that garden hose made? Has it been properly aged? Virgin PVC? So many questions.


More seriously, when I do want to test myself, I do a blind "triangle test". Three glasses, two contain beverage A, one contains beverage B. The tester, doesn't know which beverage has two samples and which has one sample.

So the first step is, can you actually identify the two samples that are the same, or do all three taste/smell the same?

If you can identify a difference, where you correct? And did your observations match the differences?

To be statistically significant, you'd need to repeat this several times at different times, as one could pick the difference by chance. But even at that, if you realize you really can't tell a difference (or just have no preference), that tells you a lot right there.

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Old 08-01-2021, 08:02 AM   #11
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I think we all can do the OP a favor by not hijacking this thread and turning it into a debate on wine or glasses.

Let’s instead allow the OP the opportunity to pursue the topic as presented in the opening post, which is about a recent wine in restaurant experience.
Cross posted that last one with you, sorry if that post was out of bounds. But to be honest, it all seems pretty closely related? IMO, many threads drift far more than this it seems.

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Old 08-01-2021, 08:04 AM   #12
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We have had some remarkably bad dining experiences the few times we’ve been out post covid. I think the restaurant and hotel industries are being hammered by staff shortages and rising costs and they’re cutting corners everywhere they can. We stayed at an upscale resort recently and it was quickly clear most of the waitstaff at the hotel had never worked in he industry before.

That said, I thought red wine was supposed to be slightly chilled?
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Oenophiles?
Old 08-01-2021, 08:12 AM   #13
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Oenophiles?

In further defense of American restaurants, it makes little sense to invest in a proper wine service, since 95% of the customers are just as happy with chemical-laden, junk food-type Yellow Tail.

Even that is progress, however, for a beer-oriented nation that once attempted to ban alcohol altogether less than a century ago. Growing a wine culture here that doesnít view it as a cocktail choice but as an integral meal component is happening, but very slowly.

PS. Sorry, ERD50, youíre just as wrong about wine glassware as you are right about beer glassware. 🥂
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:24 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Cross posted that last one with you, sorry if that post was out of bounds. But to be honest, it all seems pretty closely related? IMO, many threads drift far more than this it seems.

-ERD50
Yes, lots of threads drift, once their original topic has been covered. Others, like this case, are hijacked and the original topic falls by th e wayside.

Letís all let this thread have its moment in the sun ...
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:38 AM   #15
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Yes, lots of threads drift, once their original topic has been covered. Others, like this case, are hijacked and the original topic falls by th e wayside.

Letís all let this thread have its moment in the sun ...
OK, but I thought the OP was answered.

The restaurant should use a red wine glass for red wine, and red wine should be served at cellar temperatures (not cold).

Regardless whether you, I, the OP, or anyone can tell the difference, those are the expectations at any place that would be considered "fine dining".

And at $36 a glass, the OP is not being fussy at all, proper serving glass and temperatures should be a given and absolute minimum at that price. I'd expect a little personal touch at that price, tell me about the wine, the vinyard etc, something (make it up if you have to, it's all about the experience! ).

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Old 08-01-2021, 08:39 AM   #16
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The wine glass may have an impact on the aroma as it is claimed by oenophiles. However, my sense of smell may not be that good, and quite often I do not care that much.

And of course, when I drink Yellowtail nearly all the time, what can I say about this subject, other than I often add ice cubes to my wine when it is hot. It's 115F outside, man. Can I call it a wine cooler and get away with it?

What's THAT? Why are you bringing out a noose? AARGH!


PS. I do not add ice cubes to wine all the time. Only when I am very thirsty, and feel like it. And I do not do it in public places.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:48 AM   #17
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:55 AM   #18
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Personally, I think OP received bad service. This happens way too often and not only with wine. I will order wine in restaurants, but tend to go with a mid/low priced wine, since I figure the extra money is not worth the experience. I'd rather spend the $30-$40 on a bottle that I can enjoy at home.

If a red wine came at the wrong temperature, I would send it back. I'd also be wary that they found a bottle at the proper temperature. They're refrigerating the wine so it lasts longer. Who knows how long this bottle was opened?

I would also expect the wine to be served in a proper glass, regardless if that affects the taste. It affects the experience, and that is enough reason to do it properly.

As for Europe always being better, well, it depends where you go. But in general, yes, you get better wines at a reasonable price. I always get the house wine and have rarely been disappointed.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:26 AM   #19
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Having had the good fortune back in the day to spend much time in Italy and France I wanted to chime in and say that cultures like those where wine at table has been part of life for millennia are far removed from our American context, which positions wine, good cheese and other "gourmet" foodstuffs as exotica that need to be priced for special-occasion-only consumption. A $36 glass of wine (with perhaps a $4-6 cost basis) is analogous to the nice Comtť cheese a Frenchman pays $4 for a good-sized chunk of that shows up at Whole Foods for $20 and is likely in poor shape since few even know what it is, let alone buy it.

In France and Italy much of everyday consumption is in the wine-in-a-box format, which seamlessly replaced the much older tradition of going to your local vigneron and filling up a three-gallon jug. Unlike here where boxed wine has a bad reputation due to mostly awful plonk like Franzia being packaged in it, over there many renowned winemakers package great Chiantia and Cotes-du-Rhones - anything that doesn't required long-term aging - in that format, where it stays fresh for over a month while allowing you to have a glass at a time with no danger of oxidation. Spent a few weeks in and around Chateauneuf-du-Pape October before last and many of the most memorable wines we had with picnics were 6-12 Euros per bottle.

Glass shape does indeed make a difference, as was established by Riedel long ago:

https://www.riedel.com/en-us/enjoywi...ndly-glassware

No need to make things complicated though: you can simply pour any good wine into a tulip-shaped wine glass the curves towards the top and compare it to the same wine in, say, a fancy Waterford glass (or a water glass, for that matter) that doesn't curve or (worse yet - like the Waterford) flares outwards. There's just a whole lot less "there there" aromatically and flavor-wise, for the reasons that Riedel explains. Personally I like to keep things simple, minimalist and low-cost on the glassware side so I have more money to spend on wine. Riedel and others make generic stemless (thus dishwasher-safe) red and white glasses that work well for everyday.
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Old 08-01-2021, 09:36 AM   #20
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The wine glass may have an impact on the aroma as it is claimed by oenophiles. However, my sense of smell may not be that good, and quite often I do not care that much.

And of course, when I drink Yellowtail nearly all the time, what can I say about this subject, other than I often add ice cubes to my wine when it is hot. It's 115F outside, man. Can I call it a wine cooler and get away with it?

What's THAT? Why are you bringing out a noose? AARGH!


PS. I do not add ice cubes to wine all the time. Only when I am very thirsty, and feel like it. And I do not do it in public places.
No noose. Whatever you like, because you only have to please your own taste buds/ olfactory senses. It's personal, some like Brussel sprouts, others do not. Just as some find cilantro delicious in seasoning foods, others smell soap, as it is a genetic thing. Your nose is affected by allergies, environment, weather, exposure and experience, hence differences of opinion. But absolutely, no ridicule, putdowns or nooses should be perceived by either side, even if you do it publicly.
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