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Does Wine Taste Better When You're Dining Out?


PressDemocrat.com posted a piece today by Bonnie Walker that explores why wine might taste better when you're out on the town. It's certainly worth a read if you've ever wondered how much of your wine tasting adventures were influenced by your surroundings.

Bonnie's article lists certain tings that finer restaurants are able to do to that aren't as easy for us to do playing along at home - among them maintaining optimal storage conditions, and paying special attention to how glassware is treated. Presumably, these things could make a wine ultimately taste better in the restaurant than the same wine that was stored above your fridge and then drunk from a plastic Burger King cup.

What I really liked about the article was how it finished:

"Finally, we get to what is a subjective reason that wine served at a restaurant might taste better than the same wine served at home. That might be simply because we're out, relaxed, not working to put a meal on the table or distracted by TV.

If the wine is being shared by friends, so much the better. Even if it's just a relative perception that the wine is better, that's always something to count as pleasure added."

Ahhh - the old "Lubricant for Life" hypothesis!

I buy into that, because I think that wine tasting fundamentally has subjective qualities to it that cannot be totally ignored when evaluating whether or not you will like a wine.

How about you?

Cheers!

(images: seagrassdublin.com)

4 comments:

Gabriella Opaz said...

I would say that it depends. There are times when I come home and am craving a glass of wine to simply wind down, relax and chill out. And believe you me, it tastes heavenly, a cup of liquid gold. So Therefore, I might say that anytime I am in a social and relaxed setting, restaurant or otherwise, I tend to appreciate the wine more, because yes, wine is subjective.

Like your "zen" post emphasized, when we're relaxed, focused and conscious, we tend to suck more out of the experience.

Arthur, winesooth.com said...

I tend to be very particular about my tasting setting and environment and I store wines in a well controlled environment.

However, certain wines taste and smell very different in my indoor, climate controlled tasting environment than they do out on my patio. The latter is probably closer to the environment of most winery tasting rooms (humidity and temperature) while restaurants (which probably are more like my tasting environment).

The point of all this is that while mindset can have a lot to do with enjoyment of a wine, when I practice a controlled and deductive tasting and assessment methodology and the same wine tastes different in different environments the cause is less subjectivity and more physics and chemistry.

Kathy said...

Kathy, winetrailtraveler.com

I did a wine tasting at a tasting room in Virginia, where the staff member mentioned that he sometimes talks with someone who says that the wine is not as good at home as it was in the tasting room. This particular tasting room was somewhat rustic, so I don't think it was the atmosphere. The staff consultant went on to say that the difference most likely was due to the difference in temperature of the wine. Even 5 degrees can make a difference. (Of course, he was assuming that the wine was not left in a hot car.lol)

While atmosphere will not make a faulty wine good, the atmosphere can add to the experience.

Mark Koppen said...

I don't think there's any way we as human beings can separate the act of tasting wine from the environment it happens in - and why would we want to? We don't pop open a bottle in a blank white lab room when we want to enjoy it - whether it's at home or away somewhere, the idea is relaxation, enjoyment, and as Robert Mondavi used to say, "the gracious life." Yet another reason that the wine critics are often hard to relate to.