Sommelier Scam?

By Kate Heddings Posted August 01, 2008

I went to dinner last week at an expensive midtown Manhattan restaurant. After we ordered our meal, our waiter asked my companion if we would like wine pairings with each course. I didn't hear him or I would have objected: I'd rather order one good bottle and leave it at that. But to be a good sport, I kept quiet. Bad idea. One of the first wines the sommelier chose was a Virgina Pinot Grigio! 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. How disappointing! Now I wonder if this is true, or did I happen upon the one unscrupulous sommelier out there?

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