Monday, August 07, 2006

March Madness

My husband’s family was in town this weekend and that inevitably means that I am in charge of what the whole gang drinks with dinner. It took me years to earn the job but I suppose they couldn’t fight it anymore when I chose wine as not only my hobby but my career.

Although sometimes being in the wine business means that picking out wine for a varying degree of palates on your weekend can feel like work, I cheerfully accept the responsibility. After all, if you can have control over one thing when the in-laws are in town it might as well be alcoholic intake.

If you have ever been the “go-to person” when it comes to navigating a wine list for a crowd of people you are acutely aware of the many road blocks, from dinner orders and personal likes and dislikes to how much to order and exactly how much to spend per bottle. That is precisely why I make every effort to get the wine list in my hands well prior to dinner.

Generally speaking this is not a difficult feat. Many restaurants now post their wine lists online (although you should be wary of out of date lists) and others are more than happy to fax or e-mail the list to you. That is why I was shocked to find out that March, a highly regarded restaurant in Manhattan, refused to send me the list ahead of time because it is “too extensive” and it is their “policy”.

Policy shmolicy. What harm could possibly come from sending your wine list out to a discerning customer who is going to spend lots of money at your restaurant later that evening (I mentioned that I was dining there with a party of 11)? Does it come down to possessiveness or just plain laziness? I will only say that in this case the wine list was approximately 12 pages. Pretty extensive, huh?

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