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Dining Out: Pet Peeves

by Kermit Lynch

Dining Out: Pet Peeves - Kermit Lynch
Dining Out: Pet Peeves - Kermit Lynch

EMPTY GLASS BLUES.
Fancy place on the Riviera. Staff easily as numerous as we diners. I was asked if I wanted an apéritif, and I said yes, wine list, please. Yet it took forty more minutes to get a splash of white wine into my glass. I sat there wineless as they placed hors d’oeuvres and later my first course in front of me, both of which I refused to touch without vino. By then I had already politely asked twice for the wine list. Third time’s a charm. The list turned out to be less than ten feet away. At another restaurant the next day, the waiter began by asking me if I had any allergies. I told him yes, I’m allergic to an empty wine glass. If I had a restaurant, when you were all seated at table, my staff would pour a little Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise or Mâcon blanc into your empty glasses just to get everything off to a good start.

ICE BUCKET NONSENSE.
It happens so often, I have to wonder what they are teaching in sommelier classes. The white, rosé, or sparkling wine is not cold enough, so you ask for—or the sommelier offers—an ice bucket. Perfect! Practical! Fast! The bucket arrives with a layer of ice on the bottom and your wine standing on it. Does it take a scientist to calculate that the top of the bottle, the wine that will be poured into your glass first, will NEVER get cold that way?? Let’s see, how long does it take for coldness to travel that far? By then, the ice has melted. Please, put my bottle in the bucket and place ice all around it up to the neck. Wait five minutes and pour.

FRANCO/AMERICAN NONSENSE.
Decades of traveling and dining in France have made me wonder if, miraculously, Americans are never served corked wines. The wine you order is poured for your approval. Uh oh. Corked. The waiter takes a skeptical sniff. Smiles down at you. No way is it corked! You ask for the sommelier. He advises you that what you are smelling is the wine’s unique goût de terroir. Perhaps you insist that no, it is corked. You want another bottle. The chef appears, tells you the wine is impeccable, but maybe you, sir or madame, would like the wine better with some ice cubes??

WHEN BAD IS GOOD.
You’re seated. Yes, you’d each like a glass of white wine to start. You are served a glass of brown, bubbling something or other—it really shouldn’t be called wine. You point out that what is in your wine glass is oxidized and still fermenting, and your waiter announces proudly, “Yessir, that’s the sign of a natural wine.” It is an interesting logic. The flaws show that it is natural; natural is good; flaws are good?? If you refuse the wine, you are an enemy of the planet.





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Warnings


Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol


Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa