We have a decent bottle of Chardonnay on our wine list that’s only $16 on weekdays (50% off $32 for our half-off weekday wine promotion). Most of our wines are in the $50 to $100 range, or $25 to $50 when you factor in the Monday to Friday 50% off deal.
I absolutely understand that the economy’s not exactly roaring and so, no matter what your financial status is, a wine that costs essentially $4 per glass at a nice restaurant is appealing. I’m not a wine snob that thinks you must always get the best wine possible regardless of price and I’m never one to push anything more expensive simply for the sake of “padding the bill.”
However, we really need to be clear on some things: it’s a $16 bottle of wine. There are certain expectations to spending $16 on a 750mL bottle of California Chardonnay from a waterfront restaurant in Newport Beach, California. I will bring out the bottle to you, show you the name of the wine, place of origin, and the year on the label. I will uncork/unscrew it for you and pour you a one-ounce taste so you can taste it. I will maintain three ounces of it in your glass and put it on ice if you’d like. I’d even make a slushie out of it if we had the proper equipment.
Here’s what I DON’T need from you:
I don’t need you to ask me a million questions about it before you order it. It’s a $16 bottle of wine. If you ask me to compare it with the Cakebread or the Chateau Montelena, I’m going to say, “Well, the Cakebread and Montelena are absolutely amazing and the $16 bottle of wine is something like old grapes and water in a bottle. So the choice is really yours.”
I don’t need you to swirl it in your glass for twenty seconds, smell it, stare at arms-length, inspect it from different angles, swirl it again, let it briefly touch your lips, smell it again, take a drop as a sip, smack it around your mouth, have your partner taste it, swirl it around again, and then proudly declare, “Yes, YES! That’ll do!” or “No, no…..that’s not nearly as good as the wine I had at French Laundry.” I don’t need that.
I don’t need you to sip it and say, “Ahh….I taste hints of jasmine and elderflower….and yes, that tastes like Eye of the Tiger with a touch of Chimera semen….yes. Heavenly, really.” I don’t need that.
I don’t need you to return it. You are not allowed to return a bottle of $16 wine. You’re stuck with it. It can sit on your table and evaporate away like the moisture from your 50 year old skin. You are not allowed to return it. The $16 you paid was for the labor of me having to go back to the Service Bar, find the Service Bartender Who Is Probably Flirting With The Hostesses, take the bottle from the Service Bar to your table, and present you with the $16 bottle with all the pomp and circumstance of a $50 bottle. That’s what you paid for. The actual taste of the beverage in the bottle is actually complementary to the service.
Oh, and OH—if you did order just one $16 of wine for your party of 10, you are never, ever allowed to say, “Isn’t there any wine left? I can’t believe there’s any wine left.” Do the math, State School Drop Out—25.6 ounces divided by 10 is 2.56 ounces, or less than half a glass each. DO THE FREAKING MATH.