I was recently at the Restaurant at Hotel Bel-Air celebrating my graduation, and I was astounded at the inept handling of the wine list. There didn't seem to be a designated sommelier (or if the guy who helped me considered himself one, he's got some training to do), and the "assistance" I did get consisted of me asking probing questions and getting my own adjectives repeated back to me, parrot-style, with vigorous nods to everything I said.
Me: Can you describe this one for us? (indicating a wine on the list)
Him: It's...uh...medium bodied. Very nice choice, yes.
Me: Medium-bodied... okay... does it tend toward fruity or spicy? Lots of berries, or more peppery...?
Him: Yes, berries and peppery. Um... very good choice.
Me: Well, is it (an American wine) bold, like the Bordeaux style or more subtle and delicate like the Loire style (of the same varietal)?
Him: It's... medium bodied, lots of berries... peppery. Very good...
Etc. etc. etc.
What the hell is that? I don't think I should ever know more about wine than the sommelier (or whomever is passing himself off as one) at this calibre of restaurant!
Has anyone else had this experience?