Shady Sommeliers? Food & Wine Asks The Oft-Whispered Question


Our favorite Senior Food Editor at Food & Wine struck a funny chord with me yesterday with her thought provoking blog post about a recent shady sommelier experience. Ms. Hedding’s dismal beverage recap echoes the sentiments of many a burned diner, forced to eat the nearly inedible plate of ‘whatever’s dying in the back’. What is it they say – never order fish on a Monday? Could they really have a similar adage for bad wine? After all, who offers a Pinot Grigio from Virginia?

Now I may not know a whole lot about wine, but I know enough to be sure that the chances of this being a very good wine were slim. And in fact it was awful. I even told the sommelier that I didn’t like it, but he argued that it paired beautifully with the full-flavored, highly-spiced fish we were eating. (Read: the wine had no taste.) When I told another friend about this, she laughed and told me that wine pairings are just an easy way for sommeliers to get rid of wine they don’t want, much like the dinner specials chefs create to use up food that’s going bad.

Who’d have thought? With the price of alcohol and food increasing with every minute, I can’t say I’m terribly surprised. Unscrupulous sommelier or simply the first to fail at getting rid of the really bad wine?

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