I went to one of those nationally known chain restraints that seem to be typically popular and wildly successful that specializes in a western motif with an abundance of beef on the menu. For me, prime rib is hard to beat if it is even moderately well prepared. And of course, if you’re going to have a slab of medium-rare steer, you’ve got to have a solid red wine equal to the task of standing up to it.
I had eyed a bottle of Kendal-Jackson Collage in a couple stores, but never broke down and purchased one for some reason. So what better way to find out if you like a wine enough to buy a whole bottle than to have a glass in a restaurant? So I ordered a glass of the KJ Cabernet-Shiraz Collage (they also make a Cabernet-Merlot Collage as well) and paid $6.50 for it. Of course I had no idea what year I was ordering as it wasn’t listed.
The wine came in a typically undersized glass such that if you attempted to swirl it, you’d end up with a mouthful in your lap. And of course it was not merely at *room temp (which is way to warm anyway) but was actually warm as if it had been sitting near a heat lamp or something. I asked our waitress how long the wine had been opened and of course she was clueless.
Attempting to sniff without swirling there was, I think, a hint of a bouquet though I’m not sure…In the mouth it was lifeless, dull and again, way too warm. That on top of a piece of meat that was so tough my steak knife was having difficulty getting through it, made it a less than memorable experience except for the fact that my girlfriend was across the table for me. She makes everything memorable.
The bottom line is, this was certainly not a fair evaluation of the wine and I’ll just have to buy a fresh bottle which I could for only a few bucks more than the small glass cost me at the restaurant. Let’s face it, in this kind of restaurant you have to expect such service and quality when it comes to wine. Caveat emptor!
*The "room temp" rule of thumb re: the proper serving temperature of red wine is misleading. The rule goes back to the days of old when room temp was typically around 55 degrees. So if get a red wine that is truly "room temp" (around 70 degrees) it is much too warm.