18 July 2011

Hey wine waiter, leave that bottle alone

In my kitchen, at home, I am lucky enough to have a small wine fridge, it holds 12 bottles, though, with careful management a few more can be squeezed in. I am equally lucky to have a cellar in my house and while not large, alongside the broken bicycle and things I can't bring myself to throw away, it stores a small collection of interesting reds. At dinner parties, on a Friday or Saturday evening or come that rarest of things an English summer's day I enjoy sitting at my table sipping happily, having chosen something suitable to match the coming meal, considering the complexity or otherwise of the wine, geekily reading the label and scolding, or with luck congratulating myself on the fabulous choice I have made.

I like to do the same in a restaurant, especially when I could buy a pair of Jimmy Choos and a Mulberry handbag for the wife for the price of the restaurant bottle that I can buy in Waitrose for £7.99. It's not the mark up however that I object to. I understand there are overheads, staff costs, electricity, lighting and rent to be paid for, not forgetting the small matter of profit. I don't mind any of that. But if you are one of those establishments where the sommelier waves the bottle in front of my nose, makes a big deal of uncorking, or just as likely unscrewing the cap, offering me a taste and then whisking my bottle to some far corner of the room I will become extremely agitated. Leave the bottle on my table please.

I have filled up a wine glass on many occasions and while I appreciate it being done for me I don't always need the help of a professional, especially when the bottle will be despatched to the wilderness after each pour. There have been occasions when I know full well there is wine remaining in the bottle at the end of the meal, wine I will be paying for, wine that you are making difficult for me to drink. And of course I know I should just ask for it to stay on the table or walk over and get it, but I'm an English male of a certain age so feel uncomfortable causing a fuss. You don't remove my plate after every mouthful so don't remove my wine, let me read the label, let me wallow in my choice, let me pour my wine; please, leave it on my table.


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