This may seem a naive or unsophisticated question, but I'd like to get a consensus as to whether chowhounds consider wine to be a crucial component in fine dining.
I was asking my friend about the much-talked-about Union Square Cafe, about the atmosphere and what I can expect to spend on a dinner for two. My friend said the nice thing abous USC is the unpretentious service and added, "Of course, you'll have to buy a bottle of wine" and went on to explain that wine is necessary when enjoying fine foods.
Now, I'm not much an enthusiast when it comes to alcohol (only a couple years past legal drinking age, here, and truth be told, I much prefer fine herb as an intoxicant) and certainly don't know heads-or-tails about wine, so drink has played an almost non-existent part in my finer dining experience (to wit: I find that a can of Schweppes Ginger Ale complements my meal at DiFara's perfectly).
So what's the deal, Chowfolk--does fine wine automatically make a qualitatively richer experience where the food (as opposed to conversation, etc.) is concerned.