Travel and being on the road can be tedious at times. While many hotels do their best to be hip and even provide wine tasting hours, many fall short. It can be a real challenge to get a good glass of wine while traveling and staying in hotels. Ordering wine by the glass in the restaurant can be frustrating as well. Recently, I have had some experiences that have taxed my taste buds.
Just recently, I was staying at a hotel in Los Angeles, and their steak house had a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. I was by myself and ordered a glass of wine off the wine list. The list touted a Washington wine from a very good vintage, and I was excited to try it. They had good crystal on the table, so I expected a great glass. Upon arrival, the wine had no aromatics; the taste was flaccid and bitter. This was unacceptable.
What do you do in the situation? You let the server know that the wine is bad and ask for a fresh glass – which I did. The server brought the new bottle — a vintage two years later than indicated on the wine list — and and opened it at the table. Aha! There was some fruit in the wine, yet it was very tight. It was a 2012, and the wine list stated it was a 2010. The waiter said that the wine list needed to be updated. Well, at least there was flavor in the second glass.
Please do not accept wine that is old and has been open for days. Feel free to ask the server how long the bottle has been open. Feel confident and comfortable to send back wine that is past its prime. Be aware that wine lists – even those with Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence (there are 3 levels of Excellence) — are not always representative of what they are pouring and you should inquire as to the year. All this to say, if you do not like the wine because it is spoiled, do not accept it. It is your money, your palate, and your pleasure.
Another challenge on the road, besides wine that has sat open too long, is the overly generous server. I had the occasion in another hotel recently to get the bonanza pour. The server only wanted to be of service and take good care of a customer, yet it was almost undrinkable. As you can see in the picture, the server filled the glass (a water glass) all the way to the brim. Swirling was not allowed on this day! This is a more delicate situation to deal with. Here is someone trying to do you a favor and be generous with a pour, but it makes the wine hard to enjoy. This time, I did not send it back or make a comment. She meant well.
So, here is the message and the encouragement. Do not accept wine that has seen its prime – days before you got there. It is important to ask questions and be confident that you know something is off if it’s not pleasant. It is okay to send it back and ask for a fresh glass.
P.S. We did experience some technical difficulties with the last blog. The email notifications did not go out, yet there was a blog posted. Check it out!