I’ve been on the road for most of the past two weeks, so today I'd like to use this space to follow up on a couple of recent blog posts.
My experiment with freezing wine was successful—not once, but twice—but it came with an unexpected surprise. My first go-round involved five bottles: a German Riesling, Russian River Chardonnay and three 2004 Napa Cabernets. To my amazement, the wine did NOT freeze. All five bottles (left in the freezer for six days) looked like slushy slurpees—icy but not frozen solid. Still, the wines remained quite fruity and grapey. Each threw some sediment, which is to be expected.
For my second go-round, I made sure my freezer setting was higher and the wines froze solid. When I got home late last night, I put one bottle in the microwave (for about 90 seconds), and it tasted as complex and vibrant as it had tasted last week. It, too, threw some sediment.
I might add that I don’t advocate freezing wines just for the heck of it; it's merely a possible solution if you open a bottle and don't finish it but want to save it for another time (beyond the next day).
With regards to Friday's post about how one person's bad attitude can spoil a dining experience, I seldom identify myself at a restaurant, so I don’t (and didn’t) expect special treatment. And you’re right: The price was irrelevant, and the mark-up was high but not unusual. You're also right that twist-offs can’t prevent a wine from spoiling, nor can they ensure that a wine is “good.”
As for paying for the wine, I didn’t ask that the charge be removed from our bill—it simply was—and I didn't notice it until we were leaving the restaurant.
Part of our point was that if one bottle of wine from a case tastes cooked, or off in some other way, other bottles from that same case might be in the same condition. From our view, it would have been worth opening a second bottle to see if this bottle was an exception, or if all of the other bottles were affected. That way the restaurant could avoid disappointing another customer, if in fact the entire case was off.
I appreciate and respect the comments of concern from readers who work in restaurants, or dine out, since it shows this is a common problem. No, I don’t think these kinds of episodes will change or vanish overnight. Getting top-flight wait staff is apparently challenging. But management should make sure its staff understands that if there’s a conflict about a wine, it's best to come up with a solution that will send the diner home happy.
As much as I would like to reply to all of your comments, there simply isn’t enough time, blogs being blogs. But my editors and I read all of your posts and we answer as many as we possibly can. In some instances, the queries are worth a more complete response (when time permits), and I've written blogs centered on reader questions and remarks before.
So, keep those cards and letters coming.
Sorin Mihailovici — Edmonton, Canada — July 30, 2007 7:31pm ET
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