>Week in Wankers

>Everyone was pretty well-behaved this last Friday night. I think it’s because my new engagement ring is shaped like brass knuckles and could totally cut a bitch.

Oh, but there was this:

Guest: So this rosé is made with what again?

Me: Pinot Noir.

Guest: (Blank stare at glass full of salmon-colored rosé) So is it red?

Me: Pinot Noir is just the grape – it can be used in red, rosé, and Champagne. Champagnes are frequently made with it. The juice inside is white; it’s the skins that are red.

Guest: Okay. So what do you call this?

Me: Rosé. Made from Pinot Noir. (It was actually Sinskey’s very fine vin gris, but if I went into this, the poor guy’s head would have rocketed off into space)

We’ve a long ways to go. I want to start by getting everyone to stop talking about varietals until they have a better grasp of wine.
It’s gotten so bad that whenever someone sits down and says “I want a Pinot,” I say, “No, you don’t.”

If you don’t believe me, I give them a hot-climate Grenache/Syrah blend instead, and they love it.


About emc

Out beyond any ideas of right-doing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you in it.
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8 Responses to >Week in Wankers

  1. Hogan says:

    >I'm with you on the varietals ban, but what kind of vocabulary should we offer newcomers then? What the customer wants: To sound like they know what they're doing.Or worse: To think they know what they're doing. Wine is daunting. It was when I started waiting tables, but I had a good manager who walked me through the basics – and that's what people need… the basics, not a manager.It's a issue of 'literacy.' Newcomers don't have a learner's vocabulary, and it's difficult to establish without help. I think the best place to start is asking people to describe the taste of a wine they like. They should learn words like these: sweet, dry, fruity, earthy, tannic, big, thin, spicy, supple. If they can use those words, a good waiter should be able to get them the right bottle – and maybe even point out why they like what they like.

  2. emc says:

    >And that good manager is missing from all the restaurants in town. Which is why diners don't believe it at first when a server actually knows wine – it's practically unheard of around here.Here's my problem with diners using that language:http://tablesidestories.blogspot.com/2008/12/catastrophic-postmodernist-nightmare.htmlI'd actually rather they tell me what they're eating, because everyone's drinking the wrongest of the wrong wine with food (or not even thinking about the two together). I think there's another post somewhere about when people drink a dry wine with dessert. BLECH!

  3. >Ok EMC, let's say it's a given, since you and I both know it to be true, that I believe it impossible to overestimate the stupidity of the general public. Now…I still think the problem with some of your annoyance with people over wine is the fact that usually, people are asking for guidance because they DON'T KNOW the answers. And that your job is to make them wiser without them feeling stupid because you know the answers and they don't. And while it's easy to mock the person in the Pinot example above, all they're saying, in fact, is 'This is not something I have knowledge of.' Which is why they're asking. They're not pretending otherwise. Mostly people who pretend to know a little are just afraid of looking foolish, and so they pretend. We all do it. Well, other people do, I don't have to, being so arrogant and knowledgeable.But.Imagine the pinot guy is the guy selling you your next car. You walk in, and you're not sure what you want, except that you know you want something a little 'sporty'. (Typical you). In his field, this is the equivalent of being told by a customer they prefer something 'sweet.' What do you mean? Do you merely want your car to be very fast? Do you want something low to the ground with sexy curves? Do you want bad-ass wheels and fancy stripes down the side? A V12 engine? Now its his job to ask you these questions, in a way that doesn't patronize you, to help you get the vehicle you want. So you drive home in a sleek, vehicle with go-faster stripes down the side, and the thing doesn't do more than 90 mph – but you're happy.And then he'll go home and start a blog, about how little jackasses such as you know about cars.

  4. emc says:

    >I describe the problem not to humiliate said customer, but to point out an endemic problem in the way consumers are exposed to wine in the mainstream market (I blame publications like Wine "Speculator" and Wine Advocate for homogenizing the descriptions of wine). If said car salesperson recognized a postmodernist language barrier between him and his consumer base, he should absolutely call attention to that barrier using the most frequent and astonishing examples he had: in this case, my stupid ass wanting a sporty car.(And that's what I get for wanting a sporty car, in the first place.)Is it the "wankers" that threw you off? That's just for entertainment value. Not all discussion can be as dry and accurate as you Brits would like.

  5. emc says:

    >(And I never, ever mock in person – unless the person is a total prick and asking for it. I am a gentle, generous teacher person-to-person, and a lousy, offstage grouse about the issue on the whole.)

  6. April Kling says:

    >Aw… to be fair, I could easily be that girl. Do you still love me?

  7. emc says:

    >As Walter said, "The Chinaman is not the issue here, Dude."It's not the person I'm chastizing (for once), it's the terrible postmodernist discussion of wine between a diner and a professional I'm frustrated with, which is the fault of wine journals and pop culture, mostly. See again:'We've a long ways to go. I want to start by getting everyone to stop talking about varietals until they have a better grasp of wine.It's gotten so bad that whenever someone sits down and says "I want a Pinot," I say, "No, you don't."'

  8. April Kling says:

    >"I want a Pinot (because the guy in the movie 'Sideways' loves Pinot and he knows a lot about wine just like I do because I have seen that movie.)"

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