Sweet Rejection – Returning Wine in a Restaurant

WineSnark Snobby WaiterLately I’ve come across several articles about the uncomfortable task of rejecting a flawed bottle of wine when it arrives at your table. I thought I’d join the conversation since I’ve been married for over 30 years and that qualifies me as an expert in rejection. It’s actually been a great 30 years and my wife openly admits it’s been the best ten years of her life. If she could turn back time she wouldn’t ask me to change a thing – except maybe the white suit I wore for ten years following Saturday Night Fever.

Years ago a new restaurant opened in our neighborhood and given the high praise it received from the gourmand filling my gas tank I decided to put on my white suit and take my wife there for her birthday. It’s these kinds of decisions that make me the unequivocal rejection expert I am today.

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2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 Years After (part 1)

WineSnark 2006 Napa Cab ShowdownNapa Valley has proven time and again that when it comes to Cabernet Sauvignon (and its half-sibling Meritage), it is capable of producing some of the world’s most jaw-dropping, heart-thumping, and awe-inspiring interpretations of this celebrated variety. Napa Valley Cabernet’s most provincial quality, some might argue its finest quality, is its graceful power. Not its significant weight and texture- which can present itself like a sumo wrestler in a silk robe, nor its lumbering relationship with oak – which has been known to make termites weep with joy, not even its bold concentration, although it can offer palette-crushing substance. No, the reason we celebrate Napa Valley Cabernet is the same reason we embrace Olympic Rugby but not Olympic Badminton. It’s the reason we love Star Wars, Stephen King, NASCAR, and ribeye with the bone in.

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It’s Willamette Dammit. Oregon Pinot Noir Rated in Blind Tasting.

winesnark 5 posterEverybody does it the first time. You pick up a bottle of Pinot Noir from Willamette, Oregon and the little voice in your head says, “That’s pronounced WILLA-met”. Years later you find yourself at a wine tasting and you tell a winemaker, “I’m a big fan of WILLA-met wines’. He rolls his eyes and says, “It’s pronounced will-AM-et, dammit.”

Get it? “will-AM-et, dammit” is a mnemonic device. No, not an iron lung, that’s a pneumonic device. It’s not an air compressor either, that’s a pneumatic device. A mnemonic device helps you remember things. For example, spring forward, fall back is a mnemonic device that helps you remember what to do at the beginning and end of a wine tasting.

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“Judgement at Don’s House” Revisited

It’s hard to believe the famous “Judgement at Paris” happened exactly 40 years ago. The blind tasting, pitting California wines against the great wines of France, stunned the world when French judges picked California wines over their own.

It’s even harder to believe it’s been a full year and a half since the “Judgement at Don’s House” sent shockwaves throughout my entire dining room. The blind tasting, pitting a New Jersey wine against California and French counterparts did not make the august pages of TIME Magazine, as George M. Tabor’s account did 40 years earlier, but the event has become a significant part of our celebrated American history. You know, like the duel between Raymond Burr and George Hamilton.

New Jersey's Alba Vineyard tasting room is full of awards and medals but what it needs is a little respect.

New Jersey’s Alba Vineyard tasting room is full of awards and medals but what it needs is a little respect.

Wines from New Jersey are the Rodney Dangerfield of the wine world – they don’t get no respect. Winemakers here sometimes feel like the rest of the world hates their wines. How could that be? The rest of the world hasn’t tasted them yet.

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The Cancellation Effect In Food And Wine Pairing.

Chapter Nine, Part Five.
sole fishMatching food and wine by weight will put you in the ballpark when choosing the proper wine, but taste is the key to hitting an astronomic-gastronomic home run. Sweet, sour, salt, bitter, umami and piquance interact with one another in predictable ways and once you understand how these principles apply at your dining room table you’ll be able to create some major league food and wine combinations. I lump these interactions into three categories I call the cancellation effect, the cumulative effect, and the neutral effect.

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