We were in Aspen the other weekend (yes, we have a tough life). Since it was my first time there (but not Jordan’s), we decided to get a sitter for a night and head out to enjoy one of Aspen’s renowned and fancy restaurants. The restaurant we went to, which will remain anonymous, had one of those great one-hundred plus page long wine lists. Not surprisingly, both Jordan and I have strong opinions on what wine bottles to order, so it was extremely frustrating that like virtually every restaurant out there, this restaurant only provided one wine list to our table. Frankly, it’s really boring for each of us to sit around while the other one spends ten minutes perusing the wine list.
The Wine List
Let’s compare the wine list to the menu. Can you imagine walking into a restaurant and the restaurant provides only one menu per table? How ridiculous would it be if only one person at the table knew what was on the menu and had to be forced to either pick each diner’s meal, or give his or her thoughts first on what everyone else should eat before sharing that one menu with the rest of the table? That, however, is exactly what it is like when only one wine list is provided per table. Now you may think, perhaps restaurants know that a table often shares one bottle of wine. Doesn’t that provide a reason to only give one wine list per table? Here’s the problem with that thought. Sometimes the table wants two bottles. Sometimes the table wants to order by the glass, and how often do people want the exact same wines by the glass? And, let’s say you go to a restaurant where people share the meal – think of a pizza restaurant. They still provide a menu to each person, even if it’s likely they’ll all share a joint meal.
Restaurants, please give each of us adults a wine list!
Women DO Know Something About Wine
Unfortunately, the fact that the restaurant we went to only provided one copy of the 100 page long wine list was not as disappointing as our sommelier. For our second bottle, we asked the sommelier for his suggestions. As I mentioned earlier, both of us have pretty strong opinions on wine, and when we talk with a sommelier about his or her wine list, we both have plenty of questions and thoughts. However, the sommelier seemed insistent on only speaking to Jordan. Even when I asked a question, the sommelier would look at Jordan to respond. Grrrrrrrr.
How sexist is this? We both consider ourselves fairly knowledgeable about wine. Why should the sommelier assume it is the man as opposed to the woman who will make the decision? As a general matter, studies show that women make more purchasing decisions for the household than men do. Why wouldn’t this be true for wine? And, statistically, on average, a woman’s sense of smell is slightly better than a man’s sense of smell. So, if only one person is going to smell and taste the wine to see if it has a fault, shouldn’t the default be that the woman will taste it as opposed to the man? (And, the sommelier doesn’t even have to worry about a default person – he or she can just ask the table who wants to taste.) With the two of us, either of us would be happy to be the first the taster. That said, if we’re unsure if the wine bottle has a fault, we know that more often than not, I am more likely to spot the fault on the initial smell and taste than Jordan.
So restaurants, when you seat us, please give us two wine lists just like you give us two menus. It’s not that hard. And sommeliers, please don’t automatically assume that the man as opposed to the woman is the one making the ultimate decision – whether on what wine to purchase or if that wine tastes right. We do live in the 21st century, after all. Thanks.
- Featured Image – Wine: Palazzo Preca
- Aspen: Colorado.com
- Wine List: The Sommelier Update
- Woman and Wine: Bo&Ko