Ask the WC 8: Restaurant wine, storing wine, sparkling wine

wine advice Because the customers always have wine questions, and the Wine Curmudgeon has answers in this irregular wine advice feature. Ask me a wine-related question by clicking here.

Jeff:
I agree with you about restaurant wine prices. Even though I want wine with my meal, I rarely order it when I eat out. First, the cost of a glass of wine in a restaurant is two-thirds of the price of a bottle in a store. Second, with few exceptions, wine lists offer very little, if any, local wine, and the wines they do offer are unimaginative grocery store wines. Why don’t restaurants listen to consumers, or their consultants? The consultants tell them this, don’t they?
Frustrated in Texas

Dear Frustrated:
Ironically, I had a similar conversation with an executive at a major U.S. wine company the other day. You’d think, he said, since almost every restaurant that lowers prices sells more wine, that everyone would lower prices. Instead, he said, restaurants seem to be focused on revenue, where they don’t care if they sell less wine because they think higher prices will make up the difference in sales. This approach didn’t make much sense to either of us, but what do we know?

?

Dear Curmudgeon:
With all the screwcaps and synthetic corks these days, is it still necessary to store wine with the neck tilting down? And is there a period of time where traditionally corked wine can be stored standing up?
A standup wine drinker

Dear Standup:
Wines with cork closures are stored on their sides to prevent the cork from drying out. Since a screwcap or synthetic won’t dry out, you can store it anyway you want (as long as you keep the wine away from light, heat, and vibrations). Having said that, and to answer the second part of your question, most wine can be stored standing up, regardless of closure, since you’re probably going to drink it long before it matters how it was stored. One of my favorite wine statistics: as much as 90 percent of the wine that is bought is consumed with 24 hours, making storage irrelevant.

?

Hey Curmudge:
Enlightened wine drinkers know that white wines are at their best when poured at a few degrees above refrigerator temp. Ergo, shouldn ?t the same apply to sparkling wines and Champagnes? So when people get the juice as cold as possible and then make an effort to keep things that way by shuttling the opened bottle back and forth to fridge or ice bucket, is that not counterproductive?
Love those bubbles

Dear Bubbles:
You asked something I have never thought about, figuring white wine was white wine. However, most of the sources I consulted said bubbly should be a little cooler than non-sparkling white wine — mid-40s F vs. low- to mid-50s F. No one quite knew why (I’m assuming it has something to do with the bubbles), but this gives me an opportunity for a class project in the fall when I teach at El Centro. We can do a temperature tasting.

More Ask the Wine Curmudgeon:
? Ask the WC 7: Winespeak, availability, Bordeaux
? Ask the WC 6: Box wine, wine closeouts, open wine
? Ask the WC 5: Getting drunk, restaurant wine, wine reviews

4 thoughts on “Ask the WC 8: Restaurant wine, storing wine, sparkling wine

  • By JDub - Reply

    Hi Jeff,
    You didn’t really answer the question about wine storage. I normally buy a few bottles at a time and consume them within 2-3 months of purchase. However I occasionally purchase a case if the price is right and that may last 12-18 months. Do corks dry out over a period of years, or decades? Also, is there any harm in storing bottles upside down? That way I just keep them in the cardboard box. Thanks!

    • By Wine Curmudgeon - Reply

      Sorry if not clear. No, you don’t have to worry about storage on most wine sold these days. Straight up in the box is fine. The most important thing: Keeping wine away from heat, light, and vibrations.

  • By JuliaB - Reply

    A temperature tasting is a great idea! I’m going to use that one with my wine group.

    Thanks!
    JuliaB

  • By Rex - Reply

    Temperature makes an incredible difference in white wine. Almost all white is served way too cold. You cannot taste it. Great project for your class. The obverse is to chill the heck out of a poor tasting wine to make it drinkable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Want to buy cheap wine that's worth drinking? Tired of getting scammed by high prices? Then click here, fill out the form, and get the Wine Curmudgeon in your mailbox every day.