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Wine with a Tasting Menu


Macarons&Mozart
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This may seem like a silly question to most posters on his list, but I am sort of a newbie "proper" wine-drinking, as with a tasting menu, etc.

On average, how many 'drinks' would one be served when ordering the wine parings that are offered with a tasting menu. If it is, say, 7 courses, it will of course not be 7 glasses of wine. ( :blink: ) If one adds up the amount of wine served, approx. how many "drinks" would this be equivalent to? In Vegas, Joel Robuchon opened up a new restaurant where he boasts a 17 course tasting. I would think the pours are rather tiny. (But still, that would be quite a few drinks.)

If tolerance for alcohol is low, would it be best to order by the bottle for better control? If I order the parings, it would be embarassing should I turn red and tipsy at the table, and wasteful if I throw away my servings of the wine.

Thanks!

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Well, it depends. Usually with a long tasting menu w/paired wines, you are given a small amount of wine with each course, not a full glass. (Although, I've been to some where they kept filling my glass :rolleyes: Also, tasting menus tend to be spread out over a significant amount of time, so consuming wine with the amount of food + time = you won't be smashed. Drink plenty of water, this also helps to keep you more sober. But do the wine pairing, really, over a bottle, because then you'll get a variety of wines and they'll match what you are eating. Oh, and don't be afraid to leave some wine behind in the glass. They'll bring you a new glass for the next pour.

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I usually find that restaurants serving wine pairings with their degustion menus will offer 6-7 wines equally about 1/2 a bottle. If you get along with the server or sommelier a glass or two more may show up :biggrin::smile:

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Stephen

Vancouver

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

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As malarkey suggested, absolutely opt for the paired wines to accompany the tasting menu. It is a sommelier's job to work with the kitchen to select not just good but also interesting wines to complement the nuances of each dish. Take advantage of his or her experience and hard work. You'll be rewarded with a much more fulfilling experience than any single bottle could deliver.

The typical portion control when pouring with a tasting menu should be about three ounces of each wine. Also, it is not at all unusual for one wine to cover two of the smaller courses. Let's say this brings us to six wines for a seven course tasting menu. Six glasses of three ounces each totals 18 ounces of wine -- the equivalent of about three-and-a-half "normal" five ounce pours. Spread out across a two or three hour meal, this should be enough to satisfy without leading to full-blown intoxication.

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The size of the pours will be titrated according to the number of courses.

You are not required to drink the entire serving, by the way---if asked explain that it wasn't that the didn't like it, but that you don't want to drink too much too quickly. If you find that you're reaching your limit and don't want to waste you can ask that subsquent pours be even smaller. On the other hand, particularly good places will often top up your pour if you've finished it before you're halfway through that course. You can obviously turn down that offer.

As pointed out up thread, do make sure do drink plenty of water: it will keep you from getting hammered, and will minimize your hangover (if any) the next AM.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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A number of restaurants that specialize in Tasting menus will split a pour between two people if you ask. Not only does that make the amount of wine more reasonable for those who wish not to overindulge, it also makes it more economical. Not all restaurants will do this and some only for regulars, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

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Similar comments to those above. I've experienced a degustation with wine pairings where the option was presented to have a full glass or half glass of each wine. Personally, I found a half glass to be just fine. If you are concerned about volume, you may be able to ask for smaller pours and be charged less.

We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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There's a marvellous trattoria/gostilna called Devetak in Friuli that does a tasting menu (actually two) with wine. They bring you the bottle with each course and leave you to help yourself. I like this approach. Particularly for dessert.

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This may seem like a silly question to most posters on his list, but I am sort of a newbie "proper" wine-drinking, as with a tasting menu, etc.

On average, how many 'drinks' would one be served when ordering the wine parings that are offered with a tasting menu.  If it is, say, 7 courses, it will of course not be 7 glasses of wine.  ( :blink: )  If one adds up the amount of wine served, approx. how many "drinks" would this be equivalent to?  In Vegas, Joel Robuchon opened up a new restaurant where he boasts a 17 course tasting.  I would think the pours are rather tiny.  (But still, that would be quite a few drinks.) 

If tolerance for alcohol is low, would it be best to order by the bottle for better control?  If I order the parings, it would be embarassing should I turn red and tipsy at the table, and wasteful if I throw away my servings of the wine. 

Thanks!

Most restaurants I have been to that serve tasting menus with wine "pairings" seem to serve a number of small pours (as you note)--the courses are not very big so one doesn't need much wine. Also there is often not a pairing with each and every dish--some wines go with more than one course etc and some dishes are a bit larger in sixe than others.

I have mixed feelings about tasting menus and attempting to pair wines with them. Few places (chefs and sommeliers) do these things really well. Also the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming. A bite or two of something and a sip or two of wine over and over is IMOP not enough time (or food and wine) to really enjoy either the food or the wine.

As to your question--if you were to indicate your concern to the sommelier at the start of the meal--he or she would be able to assuage your fears and see to it that you were not confronted with a quantity of wine that would overwhelm you. After all, they should be concerned that you have a pleasant experience--I know of no sommelier that is happy seeing someone get drunk on their recommendations!

In fact--I understand that Per Se offers non alcoholic beverages that pair well with the food.

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