Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Are You Paying Attention?

So I turn on the news this morning, (at 4:45am as the hubby had to catch a 6 something flight and that damn alarm just works so freaking well) and the thing that everyone was talking about was….lipstick and if one politician was picking on another…really, there is nothing else in the whole world going on? Sigh….storms, healthcare, education, war and we are debating lipstick? After 10 minutes of titillation I was so over it, didn’t care who said it, how it was intended or how anyone took it….just felt like camouflage, look at this so you don’t pay attention to the stuff you should be paying attention to…blech.

Later on while at work I was helping a very nice woman that admitted she knew nothing about wine but wanted to get a gift for some friends that did, “No problem” I assured her, “we can help you”. We wandered about the store and talked extensively about what kind of wine might be fitting such a wine savvy couple, I of course suggested French wine and she was all for it….one problem, “I would like it to look pretty, I don’t really care what it tastes like”….now just what am I supposed to say to that? She is the customer so of course I want to give her what she is asking for but my mind kept drifting to the recipients of this, “gift” they were the ones that were going to drink the wine….they might care what it tastes like. Long story short she ended up spending $80.00 on a wood box and food items and $10.00 on the wine….sigh

Came home and after my way too short workout, (damn I am so outta shape) I plopped my sweaty, wheezy rump down on the couch and flipped on something other than the news. Settled on Top Design, some silly reality show on Bravo, I was sipping on my 2007 Chateau La Canorgue Rose, ($15.99) peeling the stuck-to-my-body workout shirt from my back and desperately trying to get comfortable when I heard one of the contestants say about the challenge, (re-designing a bomb shelter) “I think if we really had to live in one of these things it would be because of something crazy. Something like the Chinese sending over transformers to blow us up because they are still so pissed off about the Hiroshima bomb”……blink….blink….really? The Chinese? You know what girlie…that is crazy…..grumble.

Phone rings and it is the hubby from Virginia and he had two stories for me, one being that while he packed his sport jacket, tie and dress shirt for the meeting tomorrow he forgot his shoes….sweetest man in the whole world but I swear he forgets things like no one I have ever met. While I was picturing him wearing his fancy work clothes and flip flops he told me the other story. They were playing video poker in the sports bar across from the hotel and the question was, what was the first building built in DC by the government? The team rightly responded The White House and they were approached by the person running the trivia game and he asked. “Are The White House and the Capitol Building the same thing?”……is no one paying attention to anything…..

I looked to the internet for something inspiring and stumbled upon the Top 100 Restaurant Wines, a list of the top selling wines in restaurants across the US and as I let my eyes scroll down the list I began to glaze over. There was not one wine I would drink let alone a wine I would recommend, not one. I’m not saying these wines are bad but they in no way inspire greatness, hell they may not even inspire a second glass! Really boring, bitter with woodchip tannin and lacking any complexity, well no wonder there are droves of people that drink wine, “on occasion” or not at all….if that was all that I had tasted I wouldn’t drink wine either.

I came to this business thinking I didn’t like wine, (I was hired to enter names on the mailing list and assist with shipping) because of the few glasses I had been served at bars, wedding receptions and parties….I had no idea there were wines out there that would change in the glass, change in my mouth, coat my tongue with lovely sexy fruit and racy acids…..thankfully that changed for me but how do we get the message out to all those poor folks that have been stuck drinking the top 100?

Are the majority of restaurants out there not paying attention? Do people not care enough? I had a conversation with Randy the other day; he had been tasting through some, “famous” wines and found most of them to be flat, boring and bitter. He looked at me with the sweetest face and said, “These are famous wines, how can they be so…flat” to which I responded, “Mimi’s CafĂ©, Olive Garden, PF Chang’s and El Torito” all popular, famous even. They deliver mediocre food and people are fine with it….fine with it. Not thrilled, not geeked out but its fine….is that any different than the wines offered in most restaurants right now? Chain restaurants, chain wines…..hooray for us right?

Howz about we pay attention, put our foot down and say no to blanket stupidity and laziness, be it that of the news, history or pleasing our palates….bland and boring will just make us….bland and boring. I for one am NOT having it…I want more, want to taste real food, real wine and actually feel something rather than stuff myself with….medium, we should want real, sexy, complex, honest, pure and informed…..

Say no to mediocrity people….if the list at your favorite restaurant sucks, stop buying wine there, come see us at The Wine Country…we can help you! If enough of us BYOB maybe restaurants will start…..paying attention.

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