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Why pour newish wine into a carafe at a restaurant?

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Why pour newish wine into a carafe at a restaurant?

JohnBroughton | Jul 31, 2005 05:16 PM

In the past couple months, I've eaten twice at the Palace Kitchen in Seattle and once at the Barking Frog in Woodinville (a Seattle suburb), and on all three occasions, the waitperson has poured the bottle of wine we ordered into a carafe. Why?

The wine we ordered ranged in age from two to five years old (at the Barking Frog, it was an Oregon 2003 pinot noir, for example), and was not inexpensive (retail, probably 20 to 40 dollars a bottle). There was no decanting (not needed, of course), and the bottle itself (now empty) was left on the table.

I've never seen this done before, in several decades of dining out, and I'm curious:

(a) Is this a trend?

(b) Why? [I've seen another thread discussing whether letting wine "breathe" a bit improves it; I'm curious if there are any other (business?) reasons for moving the wine to a carafe.]

[And yes, it's legal in Washington State for a customer to take a half-empty bottle of wine home, as long as the bottle is wrapped and, if an automobile is involved, is in the trunk.]

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