Guest: "What is Txakolina?"
Server: "It's a Spanish white wine. It just means farm."
Sometimes sommeliers, servers, or bartenders don't know the answer, so they make something up! What have you overheard at restaurants or wine bars that made you do a double take?
I love this. It's always fun to see these instances from both sides of the equation. Some of my personal favorite moments have been from guests that are ordering for the table and telling other guests about the wine they ordered and think they know. Here's one that still stands out.
A few years ago (at a different restaurant than where I currently work) a gentlemen was informing the clients he was entertaining how Burgundy is the region but Cabernet is the grape, and the French invented it so they do it best. If you like Napa Cab you'll love it... just going on and on about this Cabernet blend from Burgundy and how in another 100 years maybe we'll make Cabernet as good as they do in Burgundy. I was already pouring by the time he said this so there wasn't really any going back or offering a different bottle. They quickly switched to Napa Cab for the next round, I didn't really feel like entertaining a "better producer" from Burgundy that would be more full bodied even though they asked. Some things just aren't worth it.
On the flip side, same restaurant, a server rushes over with a ticket for a white he "sold" to the table. This was a white Burgundy that we had run as a special BTG just a few weeks prior, that was now only BTB. I was so excited he remembered it and used it! This was the same server who sold the most glasses the weekend I decided to run that BTG special. So while we're on our way to the cellar of course I have to ask how the conversation went, what did he tell them, etc. "Well they were looking for something not too dry, not too sweet, so I figured this one's a Riesling blend so it would be perfect." I thought this one would be a lot harder to talk my way out of but it turns out the guests knew they wanted white Burgundy and just kinda agreed when he told them it was a Riesling blend because they knew they would like it anyway, they trusted the list and the Somm. But how did he win the sales contest on that wine?
Poor guy got his Burgundy and Bordeaux crossed and didn’t realize it until it was too late. I’m sure he went home, looked at his wine shelf full of famous Chateau and kicked himself. Kinda unfortunate.
The best part is he never did realize it. They liked the wine, it just obviously wasn’t what they expected so we switched gears after that and chalked it up to anything else I could so he never had to be corrected. I just wish I had been the one to take the order and have the conversation but this was a big restaurant so that wasn’t always possible. Maybe he would have settled on the right thing but depending how he asked maybe I wouldn’t have picked up on his error. I don’t mind it though, in the grand scheme of things. If all of these wealthy people knew what they were talking about they wouldn’t need us.