Wine service gripes
“Why do waiters always hand Dad the wine list even though you’re the wine person?” my ten-year-old daughter queries. You would have thought that we’d be beyond this outdated stereotyping by now.
I have a few gripes about wine service of late, particularly regarding the assumption, by some sommeliers, that the customer knows little about wine.
After arriving late for a swish function, at a two hatted/three glass restaurant, I took my seat and spied some bubbly at a distance. Upon inquiring on the wine, the sommelier replied that it was an Italian sparkling wine “…like Prosecco”. This response sounded a bit odd so I queried whether it was, perhaps, a Franciacorta and he paused, raised his eyebrows, and said with obvious surprise “Well yes… actually, it is.” Well, why didn’t you say so in the first place?
Are these exceptions in an otherwise perfect landscape? Unfortunately, not.
When dining at a swish Sydney establishment, my rather brilliant, oenophillic friend, who has a sizeable budget for wining and dining, reported the sommelier walking up to the table and asking him if he wanted wine that was “sweet or dry?” Really? Is that an appropriate first question when someone is about to pay a sizeable sum for their wining and dining experience? That takes one back to the days of “riesling or Moselle?”.
While wine service can often be exceptional, condescending service can ruin an evening, as well as leave a long lasting negative impression about the restaurant.
Training is paramount. Assumptions are dangerous. And no, Franciacorta tastes nothing like Prosecco.