Corkage Fee Digression [split from L.A.]
I'd not be too worried about this servicing nonsense; choose a nice place and discuss it with them beforehand and you'll be fine.
this inexperienced waiter, decanter, stem ware blah is all just periphery window dressing.
you bought the wine from Napa, so I am assuming its fairly young. decanting won't be necessary, but its good theatre. if that can do it for you, great. if not, no harm done. again, ask beforehand. if they can't, open an hour before you leave home.
as long as the glasses, have a reasonable sized bowl then you'll be fine.
and trust me, it doesn't matter if you server is 17 or 70, as long as they point the end at the glass and pour liquid you'll be fine.
I worked in and with the fine wine industry in London for many years, and believe me all the pomp and artifice isn't important. One of the most common places that people in the wine industry drank was a little roast chicken rotisserie cafe in south kensington. you'd see people from Berry Bros & Rudd, Christies etc. all sitting down, eating chicken and drinking very expensive fine wine out of low ball tumblers. the theatre of the paraphanalia just does not matter.
have a great night, and I'm you'll both enjoy the wine. please report back.
Ps. that said, Marche Moderne would be a great choice; just because its a nice restaurant, and you'll be looked after without any excess ceremony.
"...as long as they point the end at the glass and pour liquid you'll be fine."
Rather than debate each of your points, I will say we can agree to disagree. A proper wine glass, decanting are not pomp and circumstance but essential to many fine wines. Notice I said fine wines. Young wines benefit quite well from decanting. The OP bought a special bottle and deserves proper service. I do however agree, and practice as an educator, that does not require all the hoopla and prose associated with the genre. Hugh Johnson was a great educator. Either way, wine is a pleasurable thing and a joy for all and only requires an ability to know your likes and dislikes. BTW and FTMP, this is a food board and as such, there seems to be more issues by foodies regarding food on this board (i.e. service, temperatures, decor, etc...) as opposed to wine. Go to wine board and you'll find quite the opposite.
I have no doubt, as I have witnessed first hand, that many wine boards practise circular reinforcement of such mystical hoopla for their own self aggrandizement. not to mention they have an ideological hegemony on such subjects.
Hugh Johnson was and is far more than just a great educator, and if you read anything he has written you will see he disagrees with this, far more strongly than I have and do.
you may enjoy all the foreplay, as we all do from time to time, but to suggest this is any way 'necessary' is just a nonsense.
Fine wine needs to be democratised, and any attempts otherwise must be resisted.
I have to concur with Grog on this. Many good wines, particularly young Napa cabs definitely benefit from the exposure to air that decanting provides. Also proper stems do help quite a bit.
Do I think some people tend to “over-gentrify” wine. Abso-freaking-lutely. Do I think some people use this as an excuse to exercise some material reverse snobbery? Also, abso-freaking-lutely.
I have had amazing aged first growth Bordeaux and Grand Cru Burgundy from simple non-stemmed glasses, or what some would call tumblers. Did the wine still taste great? Sure did. Would I (and the others I was with) prefer to be drinking the same wine from proper stems with a proper and appropriate decant. Of course we would. But if the options are to drink the wine from poor glasses vs. not to drink the wine at all, well that really isn’t a choice is it? Burgundy from the neck of the bottle of DRC is far preferable to no DRC at all.
To address the OP’s point… I am a fan of Marche Moderne in OC for reasonable corkage (~$10) and an excellent, well executed menu. Additionally, I would say that Napa Rose is an excellent restaurant as well, but can’t recall their corkage policy. I bring wine to both places nearly each time I visit, but can’t remember what the corkage fees are exactly.
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