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Overheard in the wine shop . . .


Fat Guy
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Anecdote #1

Customer: Ma'am, do you carry any peanut nawah?"

Confused Manager: "Eh? You want peanuts now? We do not carry any snacks?"

Anecdote #2:

Lady: I'd like some Chardonnay. I do not like oak. I really like the Sonoma Cutrer"

Manager: "Lady I hate to break it to you but you like oak. Lots and lots of oak."

Lady: "I do????"

At a riesling tasting:

Marty G (hated taster):"Why does everything smell like a sewer?

{Later it was learned that Marty was employed at the Water Treatment Plant}

(From Night Manager DON)

Customer:"I want the closest thing you have to Sutter Home White Zinfandel. It is my wife's birthday, that's her favorite and we are eating across the street."

Customer is given an Anjou Rose with a fair amount of RS.

asks, "What is the difference between this and Sutter Home?"

Night Manager, "This is a real wine."

over it

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the funniest winespeak I have ever heard was in a movie called The Great White Hope

That was pretty good, but what about The Jerk?

A summary from BeverageBusiness.com:

In a now famous scene from "The Jerk," comedian Steve Martin snaps his fingers at the sommelier of a posh restaurant and demands to be served the best wine in the house at once. When the intimidated server returns cradling a legendary bottle of Bordeaux in a decanting basket, Martin sneers at him. "What do you take me for, a fool?" he snaps. "That's an old wine," he says, inspecting the label. "I want something new." This, of course, is funny because it indicates his nouveau riche ignorance.

http://www.beveragebusiness.com/art-arch/m.../mmblock02.html

(Left that last part in to help explain why it's funny . . .)

The reason I find "Merlot or Bordeaux?" so funny is exactly because of the category error, and of course because of the ignorance the attempted comparison represents. It's also a "you had to be there" situation. Had some meek little thing come in, obviously misinformed by some evil wrongdoer, I'd be thinking, "Maybe I should help out gently here," because the salesperson certainly wasn't up to the task. But this was just some bombastic idiot trying to be a know-it-all, and I had no sympathy -- only the humor component was left to shine through.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I was in a store about a week ago, when this couple was browsing around and asked me where the bottles of the Pinot Grigio were... I mentioned to them that they might want to try some of the Pinot Gris wines from Alsace since they were the same varietal, but they said they refused to drink them because "They are French and besides, they don't make them in the big one liter plus sizes"

Ugh.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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An amusing experience I had while working at a specialty wine shop. The date is December 31, 1999 and the phone rings. I answer it. A gentleman asks me, "I have a bottle of Champagne and want to know if it's ready to drink."

"OK sir. Who is the producer?"

"Ferrer."

"I'm sorry sir, who?"

"Ferrer. Gloria Ferrer from Sonoma."

"OK - (I am already stifling the urge to giggle because it isn't even real Champagne, however, I realize the label may say Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves and assume he doesn't know it's Sparkling wine. I proceed)...and what year did you say it was?"

"Um - let me see...It doesn't seem to have a year on it. It just says Sonoma Brut (rhyme with gut)"

"Alrighty then. Sir, what day is it?"

"It's New Year's Eve."

"Right. And is there some other special occasion that you're saving this wine for? An anniversary, graduation, anything??"

"Well, no, not really."

"And do you think you'll be here for the next milennium to drink it?"

"(giggles) Certainly not!"

"Well given all that, what exactly are you waiting for to drink it?"

"I want it to be at it's peak."

"Sir - it's New Year's of the millennium. DRINK IT!!!"

:wacko: ARRRGH!!! I didn't have the heart to tell the poor soul that he was holding on to a bottle of $17.99 sparkling wine as if it were the next coming of the vintage of the century. This just proves to me that even the most unknowlegeable wine drinker has this ridiculous notion that a bottle must be drunk at some unknowable nanosecond in the space-time continuum. Wine should produce joy and not anxiety. This will never cease to amaze and irritate me. I suppose this makes sommeliers bloody geniuses because they can read the stars and divine when that exact moment might be. :wink:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Something that used to be funny but no longer.

A customer walks into the wine shop:

Give me your best bottle of wine !

They usually say that loud enough so all could hear.

I used to amuse myself with pulling a really expensive wine just to let the air out of the baloon and to very much enjoy the sight of their shocked faces, but after loosing several customers this way.

I quit.

Andre Suidan

I was taught to finish what I order.

Life taught me to order what I enjoy.

The art of living taught me to take my time and enjoy.

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The reason I find "Merlot or Bordeaux?" so funny is exactly because of the category error, and of course because of the ignorance the attempted comparison represents. It's also a "you had to be there" situation.

At least I see why I don't find it funny. To compare, if a person went into a butchers and asked, "Which is better, the beef or the lamb?" it's a dumbass question but not particularly funny. So with the wine thing the Merlot is a varietal, which may or may not be a blend including Cab Sauv and/or other grapes, Bordeaux is a blend which may or may not effectively be a varietal Merlot or may contain no Merlot at all. There is no category error to me, they are both red wines, the only significant difference is that the Merlot is almost certainly American and the Bordeaux is French (California Bordeaux being, like California Burgundy, a non-existent creature). So effectively the dumbass customer is asking, "Which is better, domestic or French?". although he probably wasn't smart enough to realise that, and that may have been funny.

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There is no category error to me, they are both red wines

Bordeaux is a region producing both red and white wines.

Category error, basic definition: "A category error occurs when someone acts as though some object had properties which it does not or cannot have. The reason why it cannot have those properties is because the properties belong to objects in some other category or class."

Though I still find the category error in question entertaining, I am now finding the attempt to explain why it's not funny to be much more amusing!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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At least I see why I don't find it funny. To compare, if a person went into a butchers and asked, "Which is better, the beef or the lamb?" it's a dumbass question but not particularly funny. So with the wine thing the Merlot is a varietal, which may or may not be a blend including Cab Sauv and/or other grapes, Bordeaux is a blend which may or may not effectively be a varietal Merlot or may contain no Merlot at all. There is no category error to me, they are both red wines, the only significant difference is that the Merlot is almost certainly American and the Bordeaux is French (California Bordeaux being, like California Burgundy, a non-existent creature). So effectively the dumbass customer is asking, "Which is better, domestic or French?". although he probably wasn't smart enough to realise that, and that may have been funny.

Beef is not to lamb as merlot is to Bordeaux. Beef and lamb are two entirely separate er ... categories. There is no overlap. Merlot is the name of a grape and Bordeaux is the name of a city and of a grape growing and winemaking region (in France). Merlot may come from California, or Long Island. It may also come from Chile or other parts of Latin America and it may come from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Italy. It may of course come from France and it may come identified as "merlot" on a bottle from France. There's a lot of merlot bottled in the Languedoc and labeled as "merlot". So effectively the customer is saying he's clueless, although he has managed to learn two words that often appear on wine labels.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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"Which is better, a Merlot or a Bordeaux?"

The reason I thought this was funny is cuz Bordeaux is Merlot really. Remember that other Merlot thread? Everything needs to be quantified and compared. Numerical scores, good better best.... I do not know. Since I am the girl in the store I have to be nice. I soften my voice and try to jam the education in where it doesn't hurt. But now I am not sure why that was funny. But I laughed. I just gave a postwoman Moscato- she asked for plum wine. But I think she will be back for Moscato. She wanted something with a nice "patell". I think Moscato has beautiful patell.

over it

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There is no category error to me, they are both red wines

Bordeaux is a region producing both red and white wines.

Category error, basic definition: "A category error occurs when someone acts as though some object had properties which it does not or cannot have. The reason why it cannot have those properties is because the properties belong to objects in some other category or class."

Though I still find the category error in question entertaining, I am now finding the attempt to explain why it's not funny to be much more amusing!

Yeah, I know Bordeaux produces red & white wines, I've been there and tasted them, but I was shortening the discussion (or perhaps not) by assuming that we were talking about red wines. So OK Mr Dumbass in the store may not have known that but I figured most people on this board do. Yes Bordeaux is a place and Merlot is a grape (and allegedly a little blackbird, but I digress) but both terms are used to categorise wine, and Bordeaux is principally associated with red wine. Although the grape principally associated with Bordeaux is the Cabernet Sauvignon if you go to Pomerol and St Emilion the Merlot is the major grape. So to compare and contrast a "Bordeaux" with a "Merlot" is still not a category error, although possibly not the smartest move. So Bux tells me Merlot is grown around the world. Shock horror, how could I not have known that! But in a New York wine store (unless Steven has been a-roving recently) most Merlots there (labelled as such) are likely to be domestic.

As for the origin of this thread, well I guess you really had to be there. Although Carema thinks its funny

cuz Bordeaux is Merlot really
. Some work possibly needed there.
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"Which is better, a Merlot or a Bordeaux?"

The reason I thought this was funny is cuz Bordeaux is Merlot really. Remember that other Merlot thread?

bordeaux, to me, is cab sauv with some merlot and a few others. i wouldn't say bordeaux = merlot.

but, regardless, it was funny. we really can't help those who don't see the humor in it, and those who choose to poke holes in the validity of it all. :biggrin:

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As for the origin of this thread, well I guess you really had to be there. Although Carema thinks its funny
cuz Bordeaux is Merlot really
. Some work possibly needed there.

Cabernet S was not even a figment of the imagined bordeaux sky until the Dutch drained the swamp that was the Medoc in the 1800s. Historically, and in percentage of plantings, "the little blackbird" dominates. But in the end it is just wine I guess.

over it

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bordeaux, to me, is cab sauv with some merlot and a few others.

Petrus -- which many would say represents the pinnacle of Bordeaux -- is almost 100% merlot. Chateau Pavie, which I think just got 100 points from Parker for 2000, is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and only 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I believe Monbousquet has the same proportions. You might be surprised at how many Bordeaux wines are 50% merlot or more. Recently had very nice Chateau Magnol (Haut Medoc) which is 50% merlot and 50% cabernet.

Bordeaux is a region. If you say "a Bordeaux" or the like, it means any wine from that region. It can be red, white (sauvignon blanc and semillon), mostly cabernet, mostly merlot -- whatever the regulations allow. A lot of people will say "Bordeaux" as shorthand for "red Bordeaux," in which case it is going to consist 100% of any or all of the following: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, and malbec. But I think it's theoretically possible to produce a 100% malbec in Bordeaux if you really want to, and still call it Bordeaux. Someone who knows more about the regulations could say for sure.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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bordeaux, to me, is cab sauv with some merlot and a few others.

Petrus -- which many would say represents the pinnacle of Bordeaux -- is almost 100% merlot. Chateau Pavie, which I think just got 100 points from Parker for 2000, is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and only 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I believe Monbousquet has the same proportions. You might be surprised at how many Bordeaux wines are 50% merlot or more. Recently had very nice Chateau Magnol (Haut Medoc) which is 50% merlot and 50% cabernet.

indeed. however, when i think "bordeaux", i think cab sauv, merlot, and a few others.

again, to put that statement in context, i generally think cab sauv more than i think merlot when i think bordeaux. or something like that anyway. perhaps an authority can tell me what i think.

Edited by tommy (log)
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funniest thing overheard at a wine shop:

Petrus -- which many would say represents the pinnacle of Bordeaux -- is almost 100% merlot. Chateau Pavie, which I think just got 100 points from Parker for 2000, is 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and only 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I believe Monbousquet has the same proportions. You might be surprised at how many Bordeaux wines are 50% merlot or more. Recently had very nice Chateau Magnol (Haut Medoc) which is 50% merlot and 50% cabernet.

Bordeaux is a region. If you say "a Bordeaux" or the like, it means any wine from that region. It can be red, white (sauvignon blanc and semillon), mostly cabernet, mostly merlot -- whatever the regulations allow. A lot of people will say "Bordeaux" as shorthand for "red Bordeaux," in which case it is going to consist 100% of any or all of the following: cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, petit verdot, and malbec. But I think it's theoretically possible to produce a 100% malbec in Bordeaux if you really want to, and still call it Bordeaux. Someone who knows more about the regulations could say for sure.

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Petrus -- which many would say represents the pinnacle of Bordeaux --

That's kind of like saying Miles Davis represents the pinnacle of Jazz or Picasso that of Modernism. Not that they're not good, but the extent to which they've become a sign for something more than the thing itself is sort of sad.

Yes, Petrus' reputation is such that it sells for vastly more than it's worth - but that alone makes it kind of a fool's juice. Same goes for Opus One. Today, dare I say, both are more myth than wine. I often found the guys who stormed in for their bottles of O1 and Petrus to be the funniest of the lot and au contraire rather quite enjoyed the opportunity to share the little knowledge I'd gleaned with people who might be curious.

Edited by lissome (log)

Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons: That is all there is to distinguish us from the other Animals.

-Beaumarchais

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"I'm looking for the biggest, fattest, roundest, most buttery chardonnay that you have."  - me, a few years ago.  :blink:

And he was at the Mustang Ranch.

(Where's that rim-shot?)

A waiter pouring red and white at a wedding:

"Would you like chardonnay or cabaret?

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i generally think cab sauv more than i think merlot when i think bordeaux

Nobody is denying that you think so, but it's factually incorrect to identify Bordeaux wines as being primarily cabernet sauvignon. Some Bordeaux wines are likely to be cabernet-dominant (those from Medoc, Margaux, Pauillac, Ste. Estephe, St. Julien), and some aren't (Pomerol, St. Emilion, Graves, Pessac-Leognan). Some of the most prestigious Bordeaux wines are cabernet-dominant (Latour, Mouton, Lafite), and some aren't (Petrus, Cheval Blanc, Haut-Brion). Overall, there is more merlot being grown in Bordeaux than cabernet sauvignon.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Petrus -- which many would say represents the pinnacle of Bordeaux --

That's kind of like saying Miles Davis represents the pinnacle of Jazz or Picasso that of Modernism. Not that they're not good, but the extent to which they've become a sign for something more than the thing itself is sort of sad.

And saying Bordeaux equals mostly cabernet sauvignon plus a little merlot and others is like saying modernism equals mostly Matisse plus a little Picasso, Cezanne, and Miro. Bordeaux simply is not about varietal wines. Trying to define it as such is like trying to define modernism by the work of any one of its leading artists. It so happens that one of the most famous, expensive, sought-after Bordeaux wines is almost 100% merlot. Whether it's good or deserves its place in the pantheon is beside the point. And it so happens that more merlot is grown in Bordeaux than cabernet sauvignon. That's also beside the point, because Bordeaux isn't California and it's not particularly helpful to think about its wines in Californian terms. Most bottles of Bordeaux don't even tell you what the variety breakdown inside is. It's not considered important to how the end-product is presented, except perhaps when marketing to Americans.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Most bottles of Bordeaux don't even tell you what the variety breakdown inside is. It's not considered important to how the end-product is presented, except perhaps when marketing to Americans.

Not only does it not tell you it is illegal to tell you, the rules governing AOC see to that, although the rules may have been changed slightly recently,

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In the US, there's sometimes a label on the back -- maybe it comes from the importer? -- that gives a description of the wine, explains that it's hazardous to your health, and I think sometimes lists the grape proportions.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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