Saturday, January 07, 2006


I transferred this post from my old blog because someone at work last night asked my opinion of neophyte wine collectors. This pretty much sums it up.

Okay, I'm a bit sensitive about the wine issue, check out my "name", but the new generation of "wine abees" are starting to drive me nuts.

A classic example occurred on Tuesday night, 4 men in for dinner start off with some beers and then buddy starts spouting about how "their corporate lawyer" is the same one as Mission Hill and bring them a bottle of "Occulus". Bottle arrives, I open, sample and decant then buddy tells me not to pour as he wants the wine to breathe for a while, this immediately sets off my "wine idiot" alarm - if you really want the wine to breathe then the best thing to do is pour, but I defer.

Buddy then regales me for 2-3 minutes about how he now buys "Occulus" by the magnum to keep in his cellar, and how his cellar had to be reinsured last month because the value had gone up so much. I ask him what he likes to collect and he is a bit slow to respond with "meritages and shiraz" but no examples other than the aforementioned red wine whose made up name sounds like a bad Roman Emperor. I comment that the magnums are a good idea for longer aging, blank stare then a "yeah sure".

Dinner is ordered and just before it arrives I check back to see if another "Occuli" will be required. Buddy says no - can he see the winelist again, I bring it and he hems and haws before finally asking me about a certain meritage in the $100 range. As it happens I had tasted the wine less than a month prior with the winemaker and we had both agreed that the wine was going through an awkward phase, in fact our sommelier and I had discussed taking it off the list for a while, I told buddy that I wasn't crazy about the wine at this time and drew his attention to a superb Merlot from a very small producer the same area for $95 that was drinking brilliantly. No, No No says buddy, nobody drinks Merlot anymore (another "Sideways" moment) and furthermore I was wrong about the Meritage,

So I bring the Meritage, open, sample and decant while Buddy waxes on about how great it is and "Do I care to sample", I do - it still tastes awkward and I tell him so, the fruit/acid balance is off and the wine is just not very good right now.

The point is that why ask your server's opinion on wine if you don't want to hear it ? If you want the "Meritage" just order the Meritage and be done with it. Please don't try and impress me with your wine knowledge because chances are I know as much as you do and I, or any waiter, don't care how much "Occulus" you have in your newly re-appraised cellar.

And please stop with the Merlot bashing - it was a line in a movie, not a commandment from the Wine God. Enough said, I'm sure there will be more "Wine abee" commentary in the future...... me I'm going to my "cellar" to pick out a nice bottle of Merlot for dinner tonight.

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