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Paulo in Philly

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Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Paulo in Philly » Thu May 18, 2006 12:02 pm

Great article from the San Francisco Chronicle that brings up a lot to chew on and giggle about - enjoy!

SOMMELIER SECRETS: How to tame the terror of ordering wine at a posh restaurant
Stephen Yafa, Special to The Chronicle

Thursday, May 11, 2006

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/05/11/WIGA1IKT271.DTL
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Randy Buckner

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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Randy Buckner » Thu May 18, 2006 12:19 pm

Thanks for the article, Paulo. I especially like Says Jardim: "I tell a customer who says, 'Why don't you carry this Parker 100-point wine?' that if I serve you a wine you don't like, I'll be right here to talk about it. But if I serve a wine that Parker loves and you don't like it, I won't be able to get him on the phone for you."
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Paulo in Philly » Thu May 18, 2006 12:27 pm

Randy Buckner wrote:Thanks for the article, Paulo. I especially like Says Jardim: "I tell a customer who says, 'Why don't you carry this Parker 100-point wine?' that if I serve you a wine you don't like, I'll be right here to talk about it. But if I serve a wine that Parker loves and you don't like it, I won't be able to get him on the phone for you."


I, LOVED that as well, Bucko! Also liked the Google Ad at the bottom of the article for "the Wine Spectoator Online - the only online guide you need to buy, drink, and enjoy wine!".....
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by James Dietz » Thu May 18, 2006 1:38 pm

uh... no?? :roll:

Who is that slim, handsome dude in the avatar? I don't recognize him.... :?:
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Paulo in Philly

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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Paulo in Philly » Thu May 18, 2006 1:43 pm

James Dietz wrote:uh... no?? :roll:

Who is that slim, handsome dude in the avatar? I don't recognize him.... :?:


Nah, just the court jester!!! :P
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Paul B. » Thu May 18, 2006 2:00 pm

"You've come to indulge, celebrate, or maybe to impress business clients. Whatever the occasion, you don't relish being clobbered into submission by a snooty sommelier."

A great read! I think, however, that the quote above says it all. Unless a customer is boorish and rude, I can't imagine what marketing advantage a snooty sommelier brings to any establishment. At its essence, wine is an agricultural product - a synthesis of soil, toil and sun - and knowing its earthy connections means that all pretensions are ultimately uncalled for. In most cases, snootiness reflects on the insecurity of the person engaging in it anyway.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by James Roscoe » Thu May 18, 2006 5:40 pm

This is a great article. (I always forget to check in on the Chronicle on Thursdays.) I wish more restaurants employed sommoliers or even cared about their wine lists. If you're on a budget it's a crapshoot.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Fri May 19, 2006 1:49 pm

Well, some of us are, certainly. Here's something that confused me:

""How many times have we all heard in the restaurant business, a person who says, 'I like my Chardonnays dry,' and I say, 'Really? Describe to me one you like,' and the first wine they name is the biggest butterball on my list! I could dip my bread in it,""

Since when has "dry" referred to how buttery a wine is? Until now, I have never seen it refer to anything other than residual sugar. What am I missing?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Paulo in Philly » Fri May 19, 2006 2:10 pm

Isaac wrote:
Since when has "dry" referred to how buttery a wine is? Until now, I have never seen it refer to anything other than residual sugar. What am I missing?


That is the point, Isaac. Maybe a more accurate description would be "I like my Chardonnays buttery, creamy, or oaky, as opposed to dry.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Fri May 19, 2006 4:39 pm

Then I still don't understand the point. Why can a buttery, oaky chardonnay not be dry? Why can a dry chardonnay not be buttery and oaky?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by David M. Bueker » Fri May 19, 2006 4:43 pm

I believe the point is that in a standard news article it is impossible to cover all the details that otherwise would be required by hard-core wine geeks. The picking apart of the dry/buttery is the kind of thing that gets male wine drinkers labeled as hopeless geeks or in fact...jerks.

No specific offense intended, but this thread is proving a bit of the point.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Fri May 19, 2006 4:58 pm

I can't say that I'm offended, but how is it that I'm a geek or a jerk for asking a question when I don't understand something? While you, presumably, are not, even though you add nothing to this discussion other than implied insult?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by David M. Bueker » Fri May 19, 2006 5:12 pm

Isaac wrote:I can't say that I'm offended, but how is it that I'm a geek or a jerk for asking a question when I don't understand something? While you, presumably, are not, even though you add nothing to this discussion other than implied insult?


Again that's why I put the last line in. You are not a jerk or a geek (although being on this site might make you a geek ;) ).

It's just discussions like this one that pick apart articles like the one in the Chronicle that make the non-wine drinking public think that wine drinkers are a bit...shall we say...extreme.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Paulo in Philly » Fri May 19, 2006 5:20 pm

Let's not make this discussion more than what it is.

The point is that all chardonnays ARE indeed dry. It is obvious. It would be if I asked for a WET glass of water. So when the sommelier asks for a name of a wine they like it is an overoaked "butterball" chardonnay. That is what the customer really likes - not a "dry" chardonnay. Obviously the customer out of naivite' used a wrong term. The sommelier was smart to ask for an example of what they really like, not what they asked for. I think, too, overoaked chardonnays can present a sweetness as they are also usually way too fruit forward. It just comes off contradictory.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Fri May 19, 2006 5:27 pm

Isaac wrote:Well, some of us are, certainly. Here's something that confused me:

""How many times have we all heard in the restaurant business, a person who says, 'I like my Chardonnays dry,' and I say, 'Really? Describe to me one you like,' and the first wine they name is the biggest butterball on my list! I could dip my bread in it,""

Since when has "dry" referred to how buttery a wine is? Until now, I have never seen it refer to anything other than residual sugar. What am I missing?


Isaac,

For the sake of clarity: dry is relative to acidity as much, or moreso, than residual sugar. A wine can be dry and have a measurable level of r.s. A buttery wine lacks the acidity and so the mouth feel is not dry.

Think lemon or tannin--acids are drying the palate. That's where "dry" comes from.

As for the argument that has almost started--don't count me in. I'm just trying to answer your question--technically.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Fri May 19, 2006 6:29 pm

Paulo Faustini wrote:
The point is that all chardonnays ARE indeed dry.

Except when they aren't, which is much of the time.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Fri May 19, 2006 6:35 pm

SFJoe wrote:
Paulo Faustini wrote:
The point is that all chardonnays ARE indeed dry.

Except when they aren't, which is much of the time.


You got that right, Joe.

Let us never forget the wonder of adding back grape juice to Chardonnay...some oak chips, some sweet juice, some high pH; ain't no dry to be found.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by SFJoe » Fri May 19, 2006 6:39 pm

Thomas wrote: Chardonnay...some oak chips, some sweet juice, some high pH

I especially like it when they manage to make the wine tannic from the oak and sweet at the same time. *There's* balance for you!
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Fri May 19, 2006 8:56 pm

Thomas wrote:Isaac,

For the sake of clarity: dry is relative to acidity as much, or moreso, than residual sugar. A wine can be dry and have a measurable level of r.s. A buttery wine lacks the acidity and so the mouth feel is not dry.

Think lemon or tannin--acids are drying the palate. That's where "dry" comes from.

As for the argument that has almost started--don't count me in. I'm just trying to answer your question--technically.
And I appreciate that, though I'm not convinced that you are correct. It seems to me that the term "dry" must come from fermenting until all of the sugar is gone, just as in more common usage something is dry when all of the liquid is gone, or, in my own area of somewhat greater expertise, an audio signal is dry when it has no effects added to it (and "wet" when it does).

None of that changes the fact that a wine can give the impression of sweetness with little or no RS. It just seems to me that it must still be dry (in geek terms, anyway!). It just seemed to me that the sommeliers were implying that their poor, stupid customers were so ignorant that they didn't know that a buttery, oaky wine wasn't dry.

Anyway, the answer seems to be that different people have differing definitions of what constitutes a dry wine. I can live with that, but I don't like it. When we use the same words in different ways in the same context, it makes it harder for us to communicate effectively.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sat May 20, 2006 8:54 am

Isaac wrote:
Thomas wrote:Isaac,

For the sake of clarity: dry is relative to acidity as much, or moreso, than residual sugar. A wine can be dry and have a measurable level of r.s. A buttery wine lacks the acidity and so the mouth feel is not dry.

Think lemon or tannin--acids are drying the palate. That's where "dry" comes from.

As for the argument that has almost started--don't count me in. I'm just trying to answer your question--technically.
And I appreciate that, though I'm not convinced that you are correct. It seems to me that the term "dry" must come from fermenting until all of the sugar is gone, just as in more common usage something is dry when all of the liquid is gone, or, in my own area of somewhat greater expertise, an audio signal is dry when it has no effects added to it (and "wet" when it does).

None of that changes the fact that a wine can give the impression of sweetness with little or no RS. It just seems to me that it must still be dry (in geek terms, anyway!). It just seemed to me that the sommeliers were implying that their poor, stupid customers were so ignorant that they didn't know that a buttery, oaky wine wasn't dry.

Anyway, the answer seems to be that different people have differing definitions of what constitutes a dry wine. I can live with that, but I don't like it. When we use the same words in different ways in the same context, it makes it harder for us to communicate effectively.


Isaace,

The perception may be different for different people, but the answer is not; it is technical.

If you could ferment all the sugar out (which is not as easy as consumers think) you are left with acids as the most prominent sensation in the mouth--acids dry out your palate, hence dry wine. But sometimes acids are so high that you couldn't drink the wine so it needs sugar to balance it. The wine can still be dry and contain residual sugar. Think Riesling and other cool climate aromatics.

And then there is Champagne. Except for Sauvage or Naturel, every class of Champagne contains quite a lot of sugar (Brut can be as much as 1.5-2%) Dry and Extra Dry are so sweet as to make the designations laughable.

To make matters more confusing, like those so-called dry Chardonnay wines. Producers know that consumers have a belief that drinking dry wine equates with being discerning or sophisticated. The producers also know that consumers have a collective taste for sweet and soft. So they put a lot of Chardonnay out there that is technically quite soft on the palate (low acidity) and with some r.s. and they call it dry wine. It isn't--technically.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Isaac » Sat May 20, 2006 10:34 am

Indeed, if I recall correctly, the chardonnay boom began when a California producer's fermentation stopped, and they were unable to get it started again. Not willing to pour out the entire lot, they bottled it and it sold like nothing before. Figuring it was the RS that made it a best-seller, they started making all of their chardonnay with more RS, and a star was born.

I agree that the answer is, or should be, technical, and I think we should all use terms the same way. But is the technical definition related to the acidity, or the amount of RS? Everything I've read prior to this discussion has said the latter.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sat May 20, 2006 11:09 am

Has anything you read prior to this discussion been a technical treatment of the matter?

Dry is not simply the opposite of sweet. There are other factors involved. Total grape acidity is what dries the palate (tartaric, malic, citric) plus tannic acids. I don't know how else to say it.

When acidity is low pH is usually high--each condition gives a softness to the palate and does not pucker or dry it out. Sugar has nothing to do with that, but if the low acid wine contains just above .5% sugar by volume and right next to it a high acid wine contains the same level of sugar, the former will likely be considered sweet by most palates while the latter will be considered dry.

If sugar were the only parameter to determine the dry-ness of wine, how much sugar by volume would that be?
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Thomas » Sat May 20, 2006 3:41 pm

Isaac,

I just thought of another example:

Regular drinking water is sugarless, but it doesn't taste dry the way wine does.

Regular drinking water is also pH neutral and not acidic.

Take 16 oz. of regular drinking water and add ten drops of lemon juice to it and taste. Then add another ten drops of lemon juice and taste. Keep adding ten drops of lemon juice and keep recording what the water is doing to your palate as the juice content rises.

When you have water that gives you a drastic pucker, add a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar. Keep adding a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar until the pucker goes away.
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Re: Are male wine drinkers... uh.... jerks?

by Harry Cantrell » Sat May 20, 2006 4:42 pm

Another point mentioned in the article was the poor defense of restaurant mark-ups. Something along the lines of...we need some special towels...we need to hire someone to polish the glasses...we break 100 a month. Now my math may not be the best, but a few bottles sold the first night of the month should take care of these issues. What about the rest of the month. Oh, one unspoken comment was..without these markups we might not be employed!
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