A whine about wine

I was in a flashy place with a lady a while back, and allowed myself to be seduced by the bottle of real french red wine on the table. It wasn’t a bad drop and hadn’t been sitting at room temperature for too long, so I gave the man the nod and sat there with my lips smacking in anticipation.

He wandered off, bottle in hand, and that was the last I saw of him for fifteen minutes or so. When the main course arrived and I still didn’t have anything to drink I gave the waitress a hard time, and sent her off in pursuit.

It transpired that my nice Merlot was being ‘woken up’ - which means that they stand it in a bucket of iced water until it’s undrinkably cold. I went mental! You can’t do that!

They told me it was standard practise, on the instructions of an owner who considered himself to be an expert. Tosser! I tried to get them to make him come and explain himself, but they wouldn’t.

I mentioned this to a buddy a while later and he told me about his only visit to a certain Taipei restaurant that makes a big deal of having so much wine. Apparently their cellar is refrigerated!

It’s fair enough that wine-drinking is not really part of the local culture, so I can understand a certain amount of ignorance. But this is bloody ridiculous. These idiots apparently don’t see any need to know the first thing about what they’re doing. Bunch of pretentious wankers if you ask me.

Just to remind you of the extent of local knowledge about wine; most of my students and friends think that they have actually tasted champange when in fact all they have downed is some horrible grape-flavoured soft drink. I’m sure you are aware of the crap I’m talking about. Always cracks me up.

Yeah, it’s actually tasty, and I suppose since it says “champagne” on the bottle they have no reason to suspect it’s grape pop. It rather shocked me that so many children drank “champagne” regularly until I clued in…

What about ice in the red wine?

We were guests at our students’ parents’ home awhile back. Gorgeous, lovely home with tasteful decor and delightful furnishings…

We brought wine as a gift. A nice bottle of Nederburg Baronne (a Cabernet, if I recall correctly). They served it in exquisite wine glasses… with ice cubes! I kept my mouth shut, but i couldn’t believe it… these classy cultured (or so I thought) people who have traveled the world and eaten in the finest restaurants serve their red wine with ICE CUBES! I don’t think any less of them as people, but how can you travel the world and still do that?

Or maybe that’s standard and I’m the hick who’s no idea what’s going on. Does anyone else do this?

“Cellars” need to be temperature controlled because we’re almost subtropical here. Proper caves, even the the hot south of France, are typically pretty damn chilly. But sticking the wine in iced water sounds bad – why didn’t they just put some ice cubes into your glass like they do with beer?

The Garden, an Italian Restaurant on Tun Hua S Rd. near Hsin Yi b[/b] , seem to know what they are doing with wine. Their stock is kept in temperature and humidity controlled cabinets. Outside of hotels here, I haven’t seen that anywhere else. Another good ‘wine restaurant’ is Cafe Soweiso, behind the small Sherwood. These people really know wine. But, as always here, you’ve gotta pay.

Red wine prices are a continual frustration for me. I naively hoped that WTO membership might bring down the prices. Costco is still the best for

Yeah, I know that - but not at 4 degrees celsius!

All the Nederburg I have drunk has been Pinotage - where can I get a bottle in Taipei ? (I mean of the Pinotage)

Sorry. Wish I could be of more help, but I get all of mine in Pu-tze and Chiayi. Surely if you pop into one of the many generic “mom and pop” liquor stores in Taipei, you’ll eventually find some… but be sure to buy lots, 'cuz (at least down here) they seem to constantly try new things and not re-order very often.

Those Nan Fei Ren really make a decent wine, don’t they?

The best deal on wine I have found is Costco. They have 3 litre wine boxs.
Hardeys either Chardonnay or cabernet/shiraz(I think). They are 5 hundred & something NT each which works out at about NT150 per “bottle”. For a reasonable Aussie quaffing wine that’s good value.

BTW .The wine boxs are not in the wine section but next to the vegetable section.

It’s not fecking fruit juice we’re talking about here Scuba; it’s wine. :wink:

Off topic, I made that trip to Costco and besides the excellent (by local standards) butchery where I secured some lovely lamb, beef and pork, I also picked up a South African Chardonnay for 300 or so.

Well worth the trip, although we dispensed with a small fortune.

Did I mention that I assasinated a Costco grilled chicken, bought for a mere NT$118, when I got home.

I agree. Scuba’s not talking about grand cru here, Alleycat. For everyday drinking, the Costco boxes are very good value and perfectly drinkable. It doesn’t pretend to be great wine, but its really not too bad, IMO.

i know. In SA, we call those boxes Bonteheuwel briefcases. Bonteheuwel being a not-so-affluent Cape Town suburb known for it’s pay-day, every Friday, drinking.

I admit that its(Hardeys Box) not top notch plonk but its as good as the NT350 french reds. I recommend a bar of cadburys fruit & nut or a bag of extra cheesy doritos to bring out the full potential of this wine.

Every bottle we have had at Cosi o Cosi has been served in the appropriate manner. yummy pizza and tiramisu are good too!
Another good place for wine is a store on Dongxing Rd. between Bade and Nanjing. The store is called Emperor (maybe - that is what the bag says) and is on the east side of Dongxing. They have a good selection of value wines and some nice bank-busters. The couple that run the store is very friendly and knowledgeable. They usually have a couple of bottles open for tasting. They also have an ok selection of Tequila.
I have to put in a word for Costco too. Good wines and reliable. I have never opened a 400NT bottle of vinegar bought from Costco. (cannot say the same for Wellcome - even buying labels that were ok from other places - do they store them in ovens or something??)

Not far off the mark there, Monkbucket. Imported wine sits in containers on the docks until its picked up for delivery. Don’t know what temperatures reach in a sealed container in full sun, but it must get pretty damn hot.

You have to drink red wine at around 16 to 18 degrees celsius… If it is older than a couple of years, it’s best to pour the wine into a wide-brimmed decanter ( like a milk jug ) for about one hour before drinking it…

I found a really good South African “French” wine, vintage 1993, at my local supermarket. It has a full-blooded color, you couldn’t mistake it for the fake kool-aid shit that the scumbags keep importing from France and elsewhere. If you want to know how to recognize fake wine: just look through the glass of the bottle, and if the wine looks too transparent, then you know the shit is kool-aid, ready-mix sugar-water…

A true story: did anyone see that French wine they were selling recently at the Welcome stores: [i]“Chateau Condom”[/i]… I am not lying. I saw this label with my own eyes: two bottles side by side, really… Please someone tell me that they saw this unbelievable stuff too!!!


Condom is a town in the Armagnac region of France - I’ve been there and had the obligatory photo taken by the road sign. Most of their wine gets distilled into rather good brandy, and the real crap gets exported to people who don’t know any better. (eg Taiwan, UK)


How much was that South African wine you bought?


The Big Babou

That’s a gross generalisation, surely. Last time I was there, people seemed to know far more about wine than here. In fact, the UK consumes more champagne than the French do. Still, quantity alone doesn’t bring sophistication; look no further than the vast quantities of crap beer consumed in Australia and America.

Ai Mai in Chingmei has a KWV Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 for 400 or so. Welcome in Shida has a KWV Roodeberg for about the same.