Time and time again I have been so disappointed in the wine at a restaurant. The selection and the friggin price really depress me. So I’m posting this to let you know that you are not alone when you go into sticker shock at a restaurant.
My Long-Suffering Hubby & I went to a steakhouse for our anniversary. I was so excited because this was a very nice one that we had been to before and I just knew I would see some wonderful Cotes du Rhone on the list! Boy was I wrong…they must have had a change in the wine managers because I saw 22 Cabernet Sauvignon and one Rhone wine! I get it…Cabernet goes good with steak. Plus the wine I really wanted was $65. So, I thought about asking for the Sommelier, but what would I tell him? “This is the wine I want, but I’m not going to pay that price, so I’ll arm-wrestle you for it?” WooHoo!… a Sommelier Throw-Down! So instead, I settled on a full-bodied Pinot Noir for $30. It was fine with the meal, and even went well with the side dishes, but it still chapped me that I could get this same wine at a liquor store for half the price.
My cousin Catherine & I get together once a month to try a new restaurant, and of course because I went to Sommelier school, I get to pick the wine. However, this is not as much fun as you think, because Dearest Catherine likes to “throw me under the bus” and pick an entre from the menu that is totally different from what I’m ordering. That creates another issue…we choose our food 1st, then we choose the wine, and it sort of takes the waiter by surprise. Because, what is the first thing they say just as you are seated??? “what do you want to drink?” Well we don’t know yet!
I bet y’all are thinking, just order a glass…well the selections for “by the glass” are usually dismal and as we all know…you can buy the bottle at the grocery store for the same price a restaurant charges for a glass.
The other alternative is ordering half bottles. These are somewhat hard to come by and most restaurants don’t list them on the menu, but I ask anyway. It really works well because we can each have our own bottle (it’s about 2 & half glasses total) or we can order that over priced glass of wine with our starters and split the half bottle with the main course.
I do know that if you have a special wine you would like to take to a restaurant, you can call and ask if you can bring it. However, it is up to the restaurant to determine if it really is “special” and they will probably charge a corkage fee. Just so you know, I’ve seen fees anywhere from $1 to $10.
To find BYOB restaurants in your area, just Google “BYOB” and then your town and you should have some choices. Sometimes they will list if they have a corkage fee or not.
One of my favorite Asian restaurants doesn’t charge a fee and we bring our cooler of Sake and Gewurztraminer and we are set!
So I hope this helps in your quest to have some wine without having to break out another credit card. Or maybe you can just arm-wrestle the Sommelier.