by Michael Parker
Him: “So, tell me about your pinots, ah..what’s your name?”
Me: (one) (two) (three) “Michael.”
I always answer this question after a conspicuous hesitation, to send a signal that I don’t like giving my name. Diners don’t need to know servers’ names.
Him: “Ah. Michael. Nice to meet you.” He extends his hand for a shake.
This blows my mind. I am not a car salesman. I am selling you a wine off this list. I’m not at your table to build a relationship. Now I need to remember to wash my hands. Of course he didn’t give his name.
Him: “Yes Pinots.”
Me: “Pinot Gris, Grigio, Blanc?”
Him: “Noir. Do you have Silver Oak?”
Me: “Oh. I didn’t know about their Pinot Noir.”
Him: “The Cab.”
Me: “Oh. Do you mean the softer one, from Alexander Valley? The one that/”
Him: “You have that?”
Him: “So how about your Pinots. Do they have acid?”
Me: “Sorry. I worked in a winery. Sometimes technical words slip out.”
Him: He points to the list. “How’s this one?”
Me: “The Burgundy from Joillot? Old world style. Earthy.”
Him: “What’s earthy?”
Me: “Well, you can literally discern the dirt, the soil that produced the grapes. French winemakers there aim to–”
Him: “Does it have acid?”
Me: “Yes, but balanced. Are you trying–”
Him: “Ah. Sonoma. Sonoma’s good. This is from Sonoma?”
Me: “Sonoma Coast, a far broader area than–”
Him: “How’s this Russian River one?”
Me: “Estate bottled, 5 years old, ready to drink. I sold–”
Him: “How’s this Atalon?”
Me: “That Merlot is sold out. Sorry. Are you looking for a style that’s–”
Him: “Well, all this talk about acid. I need to know about the acids in the wine.”
At this point I have the feeling I’m being watched. True. His lady’s eyes are fixed on me. It’s as if she has bet money I’m going to get flustered. I’m a pro. She will lose this bet.
Him: “Have you had this Russian River one?”
Me: “No, but I sold that one the other night and the customer loved/”
Him: “I’ll take that one. What the hell.”
A few minutes pass. I’m serving the Pinot Noir he ordered.
Him: “Is this a proper cab glass, Michael?”
Me: “Yes, Sir.”