Some casual restaurants insist on serving wine in water glasses. Bistros in France have done it traditionally, as do trattorias in Italy, and their American counterparts have followed suit. It sends message, apparently, that "we're not snobby about wine."
To me, the message is, "We don't think enough of our wines to give them to you in glasses that show them at their best."
I encountered this a lot on my recent visits around the country to pizzerias, which fall into the same category. And it's been sticking in my mind. I'm wondering if it bothers others, too.
I'm not talking about using expensive crystal here. All I want is a decent bar glass with a curve to it, and enough space in it to get my nose into the glass. It wouldn't cost a penny more than those charmingly clunky straight-sided glasses. Admittedly, you can nest straight-sided glasses on a shelf to stack them up, which a restaurant can't do with a stem or even a stemless bowl design. But I can't understand sacrificing the taste of the wine to the convenience of shelving.
Why? Because it does make a difference. If you have tasted the same vino in different glasses, you know. The taste changes. A straight-sided glass mutes the wine's flavor. That may be OK if you want to drink a not-so-great wine to wash down pizza or steak frites. But if you want to really get what's there in the wine, you need some space to put your nose and smell it while you're drinking it. Straight-sided glasses don't let you.
At restaurants that want me to drink my wine out of a tumbler, I usually ask for a regular wine glass anyway. Sometimes they have a few in the back and they're glad to accommodate me. But sometimes they just refuse. Am I being pretentious, or are they?
In the end, making us drink wine in a straight-sided glass is like forcing us to cut a steak with a butter knife.
Am I out of line here? What has been your experience?
Jlpef@uol Com Br — Sao Paulo BR — April 23, 2008 3:40pm ET
Adam Grutzmacher — Philadelphia — April 23, 2008 4:33pm ET
Vinideus In The Pearl — Portland, OR — April 23, 2008 5:02pm ET
Loren Lingerfelter — Danville, CA — April 23, 2008 7:37pm ET
Sandy Fitzgerald — Centennial, CO — April 23, 2008 7:53pm ET
Paul Marotta — Cherry Hill/NJ — April 24, 2008 11:33am ET
Ryan Comazzetto — Seattle, WA — April 24, 2008 4:40pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — April 24, 2008 6:30pm ET
Jordan Harris — Niagara, Ontario — April 25, 2008 10:05am ET
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