"Some useless information, supposed to fire my imagination…"

by Katie Pizzuto on September 5, 2008

in Food/Wine Pairing,Ratings,Restaurants,Wine,Wine Lists

You’re sitting at a cozy table in the latest hip restaurant, you’ve just decided that you’re gonna give the Pomegranate-Glazed Duck Breasts a go, and now you’ve gotta tackle that tome they call a wine list. In your pocket there’s a cute little digital gizmo that can tell you what kind of a rating some of those wines got, but in the end, is that really what matters to you when you’re getting ready to order? Do you honestly give a crap that some Bordeaux or other scored a 94, or should you be more worried about whether or not a Bordeaux would even be a wise choice with that duck dish? To make matters worse, your dining partner has decided on the Sole Veronique, and trying to find a wine that will pair well with both dishes leaves you as confused as a fart in a fan shop.

I’m certainly not the first to say it, but points are utterly useless here. Not only because they don’t tell you if any given wine will complement your meal (or screw it up) but also because rated wines are NEVER tasted and reviewed alongside food. A poor wine choice will wind up disappointing you, and it may also irritate the line cook whose dish has been ruined by your sub-par performance in wine pairing!

If, by chance, the restaurant happens to have a capable sommelier, you may find the salvation you need. But if he/she extols the virtues of that $450 bottle while disregarding your subtle-but-piercing “no fucking way” stares, you’re nowhere. If there is no sommelier, and all you can go on is the recommendation of your pimple-faced waiter, who is more concerned with texting his girlfriend between runs than he is about what you should drink, you’re still screwed. In the end, experience is your only safe bet.

Wine and food are partners in a dance, and like most of you rhythmless white folk out there (you know who you are, with that bite-your-bottom-lip-while-you-cabbage-patch move), a poor partner will KILL your groove. So please, use those endless glossy pages of ratings for a birdcage liner, a fly swatter, fire kindling, packing material, or do what I did—recycle the wine magazines by making a wine tote out of them. Then, have a party. Make some food. Ask everybody to bring a different variety of wine. Experiment. Learn. Do it again. Learn some more. And for Christ’s sake, go take some dance lessons while you’re at it.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dr. Debs September 11, 2008

This is genius on so many levels. You gotta trademark this and sell them. I’d buy them by the case if you did.

Plus, great post. I couldn’t agree more.


2 Katie Pizzuto September 11, 2008

Thanks, Dr. Debs…I commented on Tyler’s site that I’d love nothing more than to be able to sell them, but I’m not sure people would pay the price I’d demand, since they’re all handmade. I’ll be curious to hear what people think of spending upwards of $70 for a wine tote! Come back and visit often…this blog has only gotten off the ground over the last two weeks!


3 Anthony September 11, 2008

Hi Katie,

1,000,000,000 times over agreed on the wine to the food matching. Ratings dont mean shit! Love the posts so far..

Noticed how i made it a mill insteasd of 100%

Agrred to Dr. Debs that its pure genius


4 Tish September 11, 2008

I haven’t laughed so hard since… since… since I actually read Wine Spectator! Nice job putting the rags to good use!


5 Kathleen September 12, 2008

Excellent point on ratings! Having a wine and food pairing party is a great idea.


6 Stacy Nelson September 12, 2008

Brilliant – ratings are ridiculous except if Wilfred Wong rates it high I know I won’t like it.

And the bag is awesome. I’m sure there is a market for a $70 wine tote so it might be worth looking into. And for $35 you can make a ‘how to’ either down-loadable book or a video!


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