Seems like no matter what channel we tune into lately, we've spotted a character or two drinking wine. Which is something you'd think we'd applaud -- if the wine-related antics on the particular handful of shows we stumbled upon hadn't ranged from mildly annoying to downright depressing.
But before we unleash a rant on the decidedly less-than-classy side of wine drinking on TV, some good news: Wine's increasing presence on network and cable television shows alike means it's finally shedding its reputation as a beverage consumed principally by middle-aged white guys wearing elbow-patched blazers. Plus, we can't help but toast the fact that this new generation of wine-loving characters appears to enjoy quaffing red, white, pink and -- most encouraging of all -- bubbly, in nearly equal proportions. So if society's tendency to mimic the alcohol-guzzling behavior of characters they identify with continues to hold up (remember back in the '90s when you couldn't swing a Fendi baguette without hitting someone sipping a Cosmopolitan?), this bump in both wine-drinking frequency and variety is basically positive. After all, we are nothing if not in favor of encouraging the world to drink more (and better) wine. The downside? Some of the wine world's most enduring stereotypes continue to be reinforced by what we'll refer to as some "less than evolved" television players. Here's what we'd like to see a lot less of when it comes to wine drinking on the small screen:
5. The Dangers of Over Serving This gripe speaks to a disturbing pattern we've observed in scenes depicting wine ordered at restaurants or served at home: pours so generous they threaten to spill over the rim of the glass. Clearly, no one could ever accuse us of shying away from a generous serving of our favorite beverage. But more of a good thing isn't always, well...a good thing. Filling 'er up -- in the case of a wine glass, anyway -- makes it nearly impossible for anyone to perform even the most perfunctory of wine-drinking steps, namely tilting the glass to observe its coloring, never mind swirling the glass to release the wine's aroma, for fear of relieving said glass of its contents. Basic wine-service (whether in your house or in public) guidelines suggest pouring no higher than three-quarters of the way to the top of the glass.
4. Reckless Consumption What, exactly, is up with so many characters drinking while holding their wineglass by the bowl and not the stem? If we'd seen this behavior just once or twice, we'd probably have blown it off as a chance occurrence. Instead, more times than not, these wine-loving characters apparently are so smitten by what's in their glasses that they prefer to cuddle up to them, gripping and caressing the stemware in the most comical ways imaginable. You might think this is a nit -- but in truth, failing to hold the glass by the stem has some tangible, albeit liquid, fallout. For starters, it's gonna be kinda tough for these folks to tilt or swirl the glass (as mentioned above) if they're not using the stem. Second, cuddling the bowl hastens warming of the wine's temperature -- which we acknowledge can be a good thing in the case of over-chilled whites, but with reds? Not so much.
3. Kill the Rabbit, Already For reasons that continue to boggle our minds, after roughly 400 years of using traditional corkscrews to successfully open wine, someone apparently got really, really fed up. This highly-annoyed (and dare we say, less than adept) someone invented the Rabbit, a device that promises users the ability to free corks from their bottles "within three seconds flat." Um, so the maximum three minutes of effort required to use a standard wine key just too egregious? We urge these television oenophiles -- and you, too -- to keep it classic (and in our opinion, classy) by purchasing the Waiter's Friend corkscrew, which requires at most a case-worth of bottle-opening practice to become an expert. Another bonus? You can spend the $30 you save by not buying the Rabbit on a bottle of something delish.
2. Actually, Don't Pop That Bottle We've all seen this one: overzealous sit-com partiers "festively" opening a bottle of bubbly with an eardrum-shattering "pop!" and a spray of foam that rivals a post-Super Bowl-winning locker-room celebration. Granted, these showboating techniques could be chalked up to personal preference, but not when you consider how failing to use a towel and pointing the bottle away from guests when removing that ninety-pounds-of-pressure-fueled cork could literally result in a case of "it's all fun and games until somebody gets their eye put out."
1. Pretentious Liaisons This television-based wine behavior was thisclose to being a "do" in our book...until it became most assuredly a "don't." The scene began auspiciously enough with a well-heeled couple crossing the threshold of Manhattan's legendary Le Cirque restaurant. Things looked even more promising when the female half of the duo advised viewers that she and her husband had "decided to share a recent wine auction purchase with their closest friends," the subsequent presentation of which revealed any wine collector's equivalent of a unicorn: a bottle of 1983 Chateau Margaux. Then the entire episode went to the left, in a major way. The woman had the temerity to simultaneously insult and undermine the wine steward (butchering the pronunciation of "sommelier" in the process) by lecturing him on the proper way to serve the bottle to her guests. We've got nothing but love for drinkers who embrace working with a somm to enhance their dining experience, but do us a favor, TV winos? Focus on enjoying the wine, not telling the wine professionals how to do their jobs.
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