Did the restaurant let me down or am I overreacting?


fivepoints1.jpgWe all have pet peeves. Those minor annoyances that for some reason or the other get under our skin. As a wine lover who goes to restaurants more for the wine list than the food, I’ve a pet peeve that annoys me no end. And that’s when the wine that I order from the menu is of a different vintage than what’s served. To me this is insulting – am I overreacting? Shiv Singh wants your opinion on whether he’s making much ado about nothing.

Just this past weekend, I lunched with a few friends at Five Points restaurant on the lower east side in Manhattan. It was a gloriously sunny Sunday. The Mediterranean food was inspired and tasty with excellent service. My char-grilled burger (which my lunch companions derided as a boring choice) was juicy and just the way I like it. I even liked the wine very much – a Seven Hills Riesling from Columbus Valley. But I was incredibly disappointed that instead of getting the 2007 which was listed on the menu I got the 2008.
Should I care? I enjoyed the 2008 and this was a new wine to me so it wasn’t as if I was missing the 2007. I was just disappointed that I didn’t get the wine I ordered and no one bothered to tell me that it was out of stock (I’m presuming it was out of stock). I wasn’t sure whether to complain about it or not. I chose not to, but obviously the issue is still bothering me. This isn’t the first time it’s happened. The first time was in a fancy restaurant in Delhi (I’ll spare the proprietor the embarrassment here) and since then its happened a couple of times both in Delhi and in New York.
Has this happened to you? Do you care? Am I over reacting? Should we be demanding more of the restaurants we frequent? Does it matter. You tell me.


  1. I think you should have gotten your point noted; even if it is not a complaint. I suspect the proprietor only wants to improve.
    What bothers me more is when extremely fancy restaurants do not have the wines listed on their menu. Olive, in Mumbai is a classic example – it typically has a 50% hit rate. Not only does Olive not have the wines on the menu, their waiters always end up suggesting one of the higher priced wines on the menu as a replacement. A classic cheap trick.

  2. Shiv,
    The restaurant should have informed you that the 2007 was not available and that they did have the 2008.
    This has happened to me at Sartoria ( an Italian restaurant in Vasant Vihar, New Delhi ) I had ordered a wine off the menu and when the waiter brought the bottle to open it , it was not the wine i ordered. I let them know that i had not ordered , and he let me know that the wine i ordered was not in stock.

  3. Yes, they should have said something and so should you have. With most “factory wines” the vintage really doesn’t matter, but with more serious wines vintage can make all the difference in the world – 1973 vs 1975 Petrus or 2004 vs 2006 Palouse “Black Pearl” Petite Sirah, for example. With the 2007 vs 2008 Seven Hills Riesling it probably didn’t matter. BTW, how was the Riesling with hamburger?

  4. Thank you for all the thoughts. You’re right not having the wine that’s on the wine list is an even bigger issue. I’m surprised restaurants sometimes are a little flippant about these issues sometimes. I suppose I should have said something as that’s the only way this changes. The issue is certainly the greatest with the more serious vintages but the point is still important.

  5. I think that is completely inappropriate, I think it’s their duty to inform you, because they are not serving you what you have ordered for and assumed you know nothing about wines.
    you obviously know that wine counts for its vintage and cannot be made and had overnight,
    Think it this way: if a particular wine from a particular vintage has been awarded some awards, would this award continue for the same variety of wine but different vintage, I mean every vintage is different resulting in a different wine features.
    So I believe you have under reacted about this….

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