There was a wonderful eatery in Old Pasadena called “Pop”, and they’d specialize in (drum roll) sparkling wines and champagnes. They seemed to do quite well with “mouse*” crowd. The story here was: sometime back, under different ownership, they were open Wednesday through Sunday. I asked the then bartender/sommelier Raphael what they did with the opened bottles of sparkling wine after closing on Sunday? He said they poured it all out in the sink. Having grown up in a waste-not-want-not household, I shook and quivered at such a thought. We made a deal on the spot that I could come in on any Sunday night and for $15 (friends included) drink what otherwise would be thrown away.
As mentioned, Pop has long out of business, but it got me to think about the wine that is sitting in your favorite restaurant’s refrigerator: how long has it been sitting there? As far as sparkling wines go (remember, it can only be called champagne if the grapes were grown in the region of Champagne, France), there should still be a “pop” when your server takes off the stopper. If you aren’t sure, simply grab a utensil and see if you can stir up some bubbles. White wines and red will stay fresh a day or two longer, but here is my tried and true suggestion (and not once have I had a “no” or a roll of the eyes}. Simply ask the server when the bottle was opened, and if they aren’t sure, ask for a fresh bottle. The mark-up on wines by the glass is in the restaurants favor; all you are doing is evening the odds. There are a handful of restaurants that sell splits of sparkling wines which gives you about a glass and a half from a split. I don’t recommend splits of sparkling wine, though, as they come with screw tops instead of corks. Sparkling wine with a screw top? Dom Perignon would turn over in his grave. If you’re looking for wine by the glass, check out the Parkway Grill or Flemings in Pasadena. I promise that there will be no eye rolling and they do rotate their wines by the glass program often. Check out my latest video reel on Youtube I talk about the difference between corks and screw tops!!
Peter Dills Youtube Channel.