While some of these wines exist, we're not talking only about natural wine anymore. We're talking about, generically, wines we don't like. And the "hipster sommeliers" who recommend them.
Is there a more pejorative word you can print in the newspaper than "hipster?" I've heard people call themselves a punk, redneck, drama queen, bitch, queer, nigg ... I could go on and get booted from Google's search results. But I've never heard anyone describe themselves as a "hipster."
So let's forget the pejoratives and get to the main question:
At which restaurants do sommeliers recommend bad wine?
NAME THEM BELOW
Newsweek writer Bruce Palling did name four restaurants to avoid because of their wine lists: two each in London and Paris. Nice, from a U.S. publication: blame Europe. But Palling chickened out when giving an actual anecdote, refusing to name the Paris restaurant where the wine he was served "usually verged on the disgusting." You're no help, Bruce. Also, "usually?" You mean you had more than one disgusting wine, and went back for more?
Let's list some actual restaurants where the sommelier recommended bad wine, that you actually tasted and was bad -- especially if a staffer resisted taking it back.
I'll start. The last time I went to Delfina in San Francisco, I ordered a white wine that looked and smelled oxidized. I asked if it was OK, and the server said it was. A little while later I insisted the wine was oxidized, and they took it back. But they should never have served it in the first place.
The most recent corked wine I was served was at Chino in San Francisco. We had a little discussion (I was with a food critic and almost went to "do you know who we are?'), but they did eventually replace it.
I can't remember the last time a sommelier recommended a wine that I thought was bad, that she wouldn't replace. It has happened, but not in the last year. However, I'm probably more comfortable sending a wine back than most people.* Which is why the comments on this post can be of great value, with your help.*
(* Once in Tahiti, I sent back two bottles of corked Chablis. When I sent back the second the head sommelier came out and said, "Sir, I am French and that Chablis is a beautiful wine." I said, "Sir, I'm American and that may be true, but this bottle is corked. Smell it." He muttered something about how Americans grow up drinking Coca Cola, and Chablis is more subtle than California Chardonnay. But he smelled and then took it back. Take that, Snidely Sommelier.)
Your turn. Name some names. Are these sommeliers who recommend undrinkable wines apocryphal? If not, let's do the drinking public a service and compile a list.