A few weeks ago we wrote about wine mistakes that are often made in restaurants. This has been one of the most popular posts on the website.
A reader, who we know to be an avid wine lover, has sent us two of his wine horror stories which are all the more scary because they happened in two highly reputable restaurants. We know the names of the places in question but we are opting not to mention them because our aim is to raise awareness about these mistakes and to ensure that more attention is given to wine service in restaurants.
Do not hesitate to share your stories with us.
Story #1 :
It was a special occasion and our reader and his wife went to a highly reputed restaurant for lunch.
“We had a look at the menu and I had seen that I could have as a starter a “tranche de foie gras cru accompagné d’un verre de Sauternes”. The name of the wine figured on the list, but I cannot unfortunately remember exactly which one it was.
So, when the sommelier came over to ask if we wanted to have an aperitif, I said “I will have a glass of Sauternes”.
Her reply really took me by surprise as I heard her say “I am sorry Monsieur, we don’t have any Sauternes in the house.”
I asked her to hand me the menu and I showed her politely that their foie gras was served with Sauternes.
She admitted it was true and served me a glass of this wine, but I had the strong impression that it was only at that very moment that she realised that the wine served with the foie gras was a Sauternes.
For a restaurant of this level, you would expect the sommelier to know that Haut-Bergeron or Bastor-Lamontagne are Sauternes.
I must however say that, apart from this, we had a splendid meal.”
“When I turned 50, my wife invited me to one of the most famous restaurants in the country. At the time, the restaurant had 2 Michelin stars, so I was expecting something really special. And special it was; the place is beautiful, with a spectacular dining room, a direct view into the kitchen and a very warm and cosy atmosphere.
We looked at the menu, we made our choice and then came the sommelier with the wine list. I remember having been impressed because the wine list is not printed on paper; it is an Ipad, which means you can scroll through the different pages, see the links that take you to the wines technical fiches (variety, aging, soil, …) and get a lot of valuable information on the different wines.
The thing is that when the sommelier handed this iPad to me, he had just come back from a “cigarette” break and his hand carried a terrible and very strong smell of tobacco and ashtray which spoilt all the pleasure and excitement I had to look at the wine list.
Even more, as he showed me through the different menus on the iPad his hand was 5 inches from my nose, and I was really turned down by this horrible smell. Although we had a fantastic meal, when I think about this restaurant, unfortunately, this the first thing that comes to my mind.”