The Wine Curmudgeon was trapped in one of "those" restaurants on Saturday night. You know the kind: The waiter knew he was much better than where he was working, and acted accordingly. There were a couple of bosses on hand, and they didn't do anything other than tell the employees what they were doing wrong. We had someone else's dinner brought to our table, and we didn't get one of the items we had ordered. "The kitchen forgot to make it," said the waiter.
So what did I do to stop from making a scene? Ordered a bottle of the Ragotiere (about $13, purchased), famous for its black label (though I did have to "remind" the waiter to take the wine order). This is one of those wines that has been around so long that I take it for granted. But it bailed me out on Saturday night. Plus, it has a screwcap.
The Ragotiere is from the Muscadet, which is in the Loire region of France, and it's made with a lesser known grape, called melon de bourgogne. Those are two reasons why the wine isn't better known, especially at retail. Because it's certainly worth drinking. Look for lemon fruit, but in a crisp, refreshing manner and without the concentrated acidity of some sauvignon blancs. It's the perfect shellfish wine, as well as handy to have around when you want to take a deep breath and relax.