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Wine Spectator Award-Worthy?

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Wine Spectator Award-Worthy?

AmySue | Oct 31, 2005 06:57 PM

Last night my fiance took me to dinner at a local steakhouse, not a chain, that we had never tried. When we sat down I asked for a wine list, as the place has displayed prominently in the foyer two Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence for having "one of the best wine lists in the world." Since we live in a small agricultural community half-way between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, and we are definitely NOT known for sophisticated food and wine consumption (the most popular places are Macaroni Grill and Mimi's Cafe), I was intrigued. The waitress said they didn't have a wine list for ordering by the glass, (she assumed correctly as we were sipping martinis) but she could tell us what they had. She mentioned a Columbia Crest and Mt. St. Michelle, neither of which are impressive wines in my experience. She said her favorite was Byron Pinot Noir, so we took her up on it. The wine that came with dinner was inky dark red and tasted like a flabby merlot -- none of the smokey complexity of a pinot. We questioned the waitress and she insisted that it was pinot, but a "medium-bodied one." I trust my palate enough to know the difference between varietals, but I didn't want to push it because she was so insistent and I didn't want to make a big deal out of it. The shocker was when the bill came: $9.95 per glass. I've paid that much, but at places like Gary Danko in San Francisco, or Charleston Grill in Charleston, SC or Brigsten's in New Orleans when the wine was wonderful. What the heck happened? What would you have done in my position? Does anyone know what a Wine Spectator Award really means? I've never had such an odd experience...

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