Saturday, April 30, 2005


It's always fun watching someone approving a bottle of wine. You know how it works; you order a bottle of wine in a restaurant and when it arrives you go through an elaborate ritual which looks like more than it is. What it is is verifying that the wine hasn't corked. What it looks like is rather more. And until you know how it works it's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that, if the wine isn't to taste, that you can send it back and try again.

Of course you can only send it back if it's gone bad; if it's ok but not to taste you're stuck with your choice.

It took me a while to learn this; one reason being that no one ever actually tells you that's how it works! So, if you're dining with someone who knows the drill and they nod in approval one is apt to assume that what's coming is something special. Ain't always so!

Heh, in the midst of writing this the bottle I ordered arrived and the waiter put me through the rigamarole. Quick sniff; smells ok, quick taste; it's not vinegar. Uh nope, I don't have my laptop computer down in the restaurant; I'm talking about a post-prandial bottle in the solitude of my room. Not quite that solitary; Australian TV is running and I'm lapping up the accent!

There are subtle nuances to it of course; the waiter will show you the label so you can protest that he's brought the 1999 when you specifically wanted the 1998! And sometimes (with older vintages) they'll show you the cork. You're supposed to sniff it and reassure yourself that the cork hasn't shrunk in storage. Keep your eye on that cork! I guarantee it won't be left behind; some wineries pay a bounty on returned corks.

As I was finishing that paragraph another knock came on my door. Someone delivering a loaner corkscrew! I didn't ask for one but what the hey? Sign a receipt for it; I have to return it in the morning .

I guess that's an omen. Cheers and your good health!

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