Top 12 restaurant wine gripes

Inadequate/gibberish wine descriptions

Most people think that Chablis is a grape rather than a wine region. Without some sort of description to guide them, there is almost no point in giving them a wine list in the first place. Then again, over-elaborate or gibberish wine descriptions get us nowhere either. One annoyed respondent averred: “For every wine description there are only three or four words that have any value – style (dry, med-dry, etc), body (full, medium, light), aroma/ flavour (fruity, herbaceous, mineral, etc.). Perhaps adding a bit about the winery, that’s all it needs. Anything else is just padding.”

Admittedly, this one is up for debate. And I quite enjoy a wine description that gives its taste guide as ‘trouser jazz’. 

2 Responses to “Top 12 restaurant wine gripes”

  1. pippa Hayward says:

    From a former restaurateur/sommelier (albeit with a reputation for a fairly priced and well chosen list) –
    yes the wine has to contribute to the restaurant’s running costs -which in the Uk and in stand alone restaurants without the benefit of the large margin you can make on room sales – are considerably higher than mainland Europe. If restaurants excused wine from contributing to running costs menus and food prices would have to rise to make the shortfall up . This is not rocket science.
    There is perception amongst some customers that restaurants don’t add any value to wine(in the way that a chef does to ingredients) but a good wine recommendation can make a meal
    Restaurants do have a duty of care to their customers and wines – to provide a carefully chosen selection, sold in a helpful , informative and kindly way with the sensitivity to make the right recommendation in style and budget for every client. Sommeliers are highly trained professionals -customers should expect to pay for their advice as part of wine pricing.
    Our own decision to make a far smaller margin on more expensive wines ensured that we sold those wines and that customers felt they were treated fairly .

    Then there is the question of training – restaurant staff should be taught how to serve wine correctly , not overfill glasses and be aware of the correct temperature -it’s simply part of good service .

  2. Jack Keenan says:

    I find that when I am presented with a bottle of white wine in a fine restaurant, and I taste and approve the wine and the vintage it is invariably too cold. The sommelier then begins to put the bottle in a bucket of ice or a “cold tube.” I say “No!, please it is too cold just leave it on the table.” The sommeliers invariably then say “thank goodness, you know wine…we hate to put it on ice, but most patrons insist!”

    Cold is the enemy of flavour!

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