15 January 2006

Don't Fuck with the Sommelier!

I'm in Vegas at this heinous reimbursement conference, and I wanted to have a decent dinner tonight. The restuarants where I am staying (Harrah's) are pretty scuzzy, but the Venetian is across the street. So I checked out their menus and prices online, picked one that seemed nice but affordable, and went on over.

I was in a mood to treat myself a little (because I'm lonely and would rather be at home) so I decided to order a bottle of wine. They brought me a book three inches thick, and I opened the first page, and the Sommelier pointed out the fields for the region the wine was from, the style, then name, and the date. I noted these four and five-digit numbers, which I assumed were SKU numbers, but before I could embarass myself, the Sommelier indicated that they were in fact the prices.


It took a little doing, but I found a reasonable bottle of wine for only $50/bottle. (At this point, leaving was no longer an option, since I had ordered an appetizer. Also, I didn't want them to think I was a wimp.) The Sommelier described it as "full-bodied," in contrast to the wines he condescendingly described as "soft." I ordered, and after opening the wine bottle with a flourish he gave me a taste and waited expectantly for my verdict. It was really harsh, very bitter and unpleasant, I thought, and made a nasty face. He was appalled that I might have gotten a bottle gone bad, and ran off to get a glass to test it himself. He poured in a dribble, sniffed deeply, and pronounced with a definite tone, "No. The wine is sound. You haven't had anything to eat yet, so the tannins are very hard on your palate. You will like it once your meal arrives. But," he politely added, "if you would prefer something different . . ."

Thoroughly cowed, I meekly asserted that it was just fine and as soon as I could get that gag reflex suppressed there would be no trouble . . .

And actually, he was right. It wound up being a really nice wine and a really nice dinner.


  1. Nice use of the word fuck, btw. After the ragging I did on you in my blog on that I nearly missed this entirely, even with the italics.

  2. I was pleased that "Fuck"and "Sommelier" flowed so nicely, right next to each other like that. Thanks.

  3. How the fuck did I miss this post? :P

  4. Like the occasional ER patient, a good bottle of wine needs to be allowed to breathe on its own for awhile to recover.


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