No More Snorting Cabernet

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I’ve been a "serious wine drinker" now for going on 20 years. And the other day was the first time I did something I should have started doing 20 years ago:

I asked the waiter for a second, empty wine glass to pour half the wine from the FULL wine glass into.

Can I describe the bizarre look of shock and lack of understanding I encountered on the waiters face as he tried to register what I was asking for?

Why it has taken this long to take this simple step I can not say. However, one of my New Year’s Resolutions this year will be to always ask for a second glass whenever a server brings me a glass of wine that is filled to the brim with wine, leaving no room to swirl and sniff without splashing my wife and friends or snorting Cabernet up my nose.

There are a number good reasons to serve wine in a glass that allows swirling and the mix of air into the wine. The most important reason is simply that for a wine to truly release its aromas it must mix with air. You must swirl it, decant it, something it. And you can’t do that in a glass that is filled to the brim.

I’ve always been an "aroma whore" when it comes to wine. More often than not I’m more taken with the aroma and more attracted intellectually and sensually to the aroma of wine than I am to the texture and flavor. It happens about 30% of the time I calculated that a full wine glass in a restaurant prevents me from pursuing my aroma fetish. I never demanded the second glass, I guess, because I figured why deal with an explanation to the waiter? Why deal with what might be presumed to be "showing off" to those guests who don’t know me? That second guessing is over. Life is too short.

Why it took this long get here is beyond me. Long ago I overcame a reluctance to ask for hard butter in a restaurant. There are two types of people in this world: hard butter and soft butter people. I like mine hard and whenever the butter is brought to the table soft now, I request hard butter. Well, now I’ll  have my hard butter ALONG WITH my aroma-accessible wine when I sit and eat at restaurants.

ADVICE FOR THE DAY: Don’t wait to ask for what you want. Life is short

Posted In: Wine Education

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  1. Jathan - December 29, 2005

    hmm, sounds like someone has a case of the muunnndays.
    hahaha j.k. Tom.
    I totally agree with you. My friends have noticed the same about my appreciation of wine; I can be found with my nose buried deep in the glass most of the time as well.
    The problem I see with your 2 glass exercise is that most restaurant stemware is sub par quality anyway, I doubt you’ll see a huge improvement in aroma.
    I have an even better, nerdier solution – bring your own stemware. That’s sure to strike a chord with your waiter and fellow diners, but hey, life’s to short right?
    😉
    P.S. Office Space is one of the best movies ever.

  2. Mark Finley - December 29, 2005

    Good idea if you’re ordering by the glass. If you’re in a restaurant that is suspect (like my favorite Chinese one that has 6 Chardonnays, no Reislings and only one Gewurzt on its wine list) then what I do is after they pour the tasting amount, I politely ask them to leave the bottle on the table and that we’ll take care of the pouring ourselves.

  3. Murray - December 29, 2005

    As im currently exploring the wonderful world of decanting young wines and some half decent glassware, all I can say is “here here”!

  4. Jack - December 29, 2005

    Man, I should have thought of this! But when I notice one glass poured to full, I tent to immediately speak up before the next glass gets that much.

  5. Jim Eastman - January 3, 2006

    Amen.
    Improperly served wine is also a good way to get a restaurant off of my “go to” list in a hurry.

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