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Jan 28, 2008 06:34 AM

Advice requested: Wine by the glass?

My wife and I routinely order a bottle of wine with dinner. However, we do frequently encounter situations where we stop in somewhere for a drink and would like to order just a glass of wine. However, at least 30% of the time (maybe 40%) we find the wine has gone over due to having been open for perhaps several days. Now, we know enough not to ask for the wine list at Joe's corner bar. I'm referring to medium- to high-end bars and restaurants. To make mattes worse, the more unusual the wine (and therefore potentially more interesting to us), the more likely that the bottle's been open for several days since it's rarely ordered. It's disconcerting to say the least to pay $30 (with tip) for a single round of drinks and get bad wine. However, I get tired of sending drinks back nearly half the time. Anybody else encounter this with frequency? Any good strategies for coping? Thanks!

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    1. Like zin said, send them back. Any place that has any pride in its wine by the glass list will make sure that the wine doesn't go bad and won't have any problem with replacing it if it does.

      1. You sell both yourselves and the establishment short by not sending back wine that is not at its best.

        Send it back!

        1. Wines by the glass, and minor problems with that kind of program, were the subject of a thread earlier this month:
          Wine By the Glass Question

          Several tips from that thread for getting a glass of wine you enjoy are:
          1. Ask for a taste.
          2. Ask for a pour from a fresh bottle.
          3. Let the bartender know you don't care for what you have and would prefer something else.

          3 Replies
          1. re: maria lorraine

            Maria, thanks for the heads up on the previous thread (for some reason it didn't show when I searched before posting). Thanks also to you and everyone else for the advice. Good call on suggesting a taste first; I'll have to make that a rule in the future.

            1. re: jeffchow

              Just as an addititonal insight...a number of years ago I was a project consultant for several Napa Valley wineries. At the end of the day, partly-drunk bottles from the tasting room were gassed (using inert gas) and re-sealed for use the next day for tastings. At least half the time, the re-sealed bottles did not have the full-force of flavors the next day as did a newly opened bottle. The tasting room employee had to be able to discern if the day-old wine was good enough to be representative of what the wine really tasted like. The best way to tell, obviously, was to open a new bottle and compare the two side by side. The point being, even a bottle that has been properly re-sealed overnight may experience a great fall-off in flavor, and the bartender may not know or even be aware of the fall-off in flavor. Always ask for a fresh taste, or re-pour, from a newly opened bottle if at all in doubt.

              1. re: jeffchow

                maria's advice is excellent. after many experiences like yours, i've made a habit of requesting a taste before ordering. i've been doing it for several years, and as a result, i've successfully avoided committing to glasses of bad wine on MANY occasions. in situations where it's a wine with which i'm very familiar and the sample tastes "off" to me, i do request a pour from a fresh bottle.

            2. I always ask for a taste to see if it is worthy of my pallete and my wallet. If they are not willing then shop accordingly.