Thursday, February 7, 2013

Missing Out on the Fun

     I might be slightly unaware of the hipster douchery of wine trade tastings. I guess because I never show up to socialize. My restaurant is in old fart land, far from the epicenter of city cool, so people's eyes glaze over when they see my name tag. I could go with the mentality of meeting new peeps, but I find I'm not my best at these events: Buzzy, with red stained teeth and hands? Not sexy. I'll chat with a couple sales reps for fun, but for the most part, I show up in non-descript black clothes and move silently from table to table, trying to actually learn something. Several things get in the way of this goal, however, which makes me hesitate to show up at these events.

Unnecessary Roughness

    If I swoop in just as the tasting starts, score! But my procrastinating self usually gets there an hour late, and I have to elbow past a bunch of tall suits to reach the front of a table. Once there, my covered boobage does little to pull the eyes of the pourer from his conversations with said suits. I'll wait a full minute before I think pass! and move on.

Tre Bicchieri San Francisco
     I once was ignored so profoundly at a tasting, that I hold the memory of this moment as the gold-standard of pouring negligence. I was the only one waiting, but the pourer refused to interrupt his conversations with the already-been-poured to even make eye contact.  I waited far longer than usual because I'd heard the wines were good but gave up. I did eventually get to taste the wines; the pourer from that table was in fact the wine maker and owner of his own company, and showed up at my restaurant to show me his wines a couple years later. Too bad I remembered him so clearly.

Shaky McShakertons

     Functioning alcoholics litter the wine field, befeebled wreckage of an industry where a drinking problem is almost requisite to staying up to date. These people are in full view at tastings and I often get pourers whose hands can barely stop shaking enough to get wine in my glass. So I get a taste with a dose of sad.

The Creeping Buzz

     I'll spit and spit like an angry llama, yet, for all this diligence, things start to get a little fuzzy about 20 wines in. It's the alcohol absorbing in through my cheeks and the fact I'm a super lightweight; And those little sneaky sips of expensive-ass wines I can't afford and have a hard time dumping, those sips catch up fast.

Nasty Splashback

  Spit buckets fill up quickly. I've only been nailed in the face a couple times with a rebound droplet of saliva-frothed bucket wine, but it was almost enough to make a germaphobe like me cry out in horror.

     Once I watched a hapless fellow dump out his finished taste not into the bucket, but into a decanter. The pourer was speechless, unsure whether to dump out the $100+ wine sitting in the decanter or pretend to look the other way.

Overshadowed Greatness

     Palate fatigue is real and sets in quick. Gigantic wines begin to seem incredible. The Sagrantinos, the Syrahs; with ripping tannin and high alcohol, these wines shake some life from my numbed senses. Delicate red, dry wines go blerg compared to their burlier cousins, though these are the wines I drink at home. I've given up at even trying whites, especially Italian ones: Hmm, water, interesting.

Don't Mug Me

     Lately it seems it's become trendy to hold tastings in the worst and least accessible neighborhoods in the city. I already have to drive; don't insult me by making me have to sketch street park.

     This year they switched the tasting venue of Tre Bicchieri, the only tasting I really give a damn about, as it has a huge selection of award-winning Italian wines. The new venue is at least large and has parking, but is way more annoying to get to so again, meh. I decided to not get my shift covered to go.

     I'm pouting right now as I type because I'm missing out on this event. For all the annoyances of tastings, there is something magical about walking into a huge room filled with voices, sparkling glassware and your favorite wines in the whole world. I'll be thinking about that while I'm serving people their pasta tonight.
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  1. I have a problem at those things with spitting out the good stuff. Taxis home and back again to get the car the next day become expensive.

    1. A taxi back to my house from the city is pretty much a non-option. I usually end up staying for dinner instead to let the whoozies work their way out of my head, but that ends up being almost as expensive as the cab! I'm pretty disciplined about staying good at these events, after messing up a couple times in the early days.

  2. EGADS! The nasty splash-back ... the pourer was unsure whether or not to dump the fouled wine? I'd never want to drink at his/her bar, no matter how expensive that vintage was. Took a quick look at the writing site you mentioned. Do you send anything to them ... didn't see you there at first glance. If not, you should ... you're very, very good. Do you write fiction, short stories?

    1. Yeah, the pourer was at a loss :)
      The site does open submissions, you add your link onto a linky grid thing. I do the weekly non-fiction story contest: Posts can be dated as early as the Sunday of that week, and can be linked on Tuesday. Rules and directions here:
      You do have to cut and paste the html badge into your post, but nothing too techy beyond that!