|A glass of wine with your lunch, Mr. Fonzarelli?
They had Coca-Cola with lunch. Both of them. A bottle of Coke each, at a place with a reasonable by-the-glass list with selections as cheap as $10. (If that sounds expensive, the burger is $16.) And they were having at least a 2-course meal, with an appetizer and main course.
What is it with people like this?
You're in wine country on vacation, you're there for the wine, you're tasting wine every day, you're having a wine-friendly meal ... what better time to have a glass of wine?
I notice this on airplanes a lot. Americans will have a small bottle of wine before their meal -- they'll even pay for it -- but when the food comes, they have a Coke. Or orange juice.
I write for trade magazines sometimes so I know this phenomenon exists. A lot of wine writers proclaim from Mt. Olympus, "Wine is meant to go with food," when in fact a lot of Americans drink it as a cocktail, either to unwind after work, to enjoy with friends at a party, or whenever they want a drink. The upshot of that for the wine industry is, the types of wine people like to have without food are different: lower acid, less tannin, possibly more fruit-flavored. I get that. I understand why people enjoy wine without food.
What I don't understand at all is why these same people then don't have wine with food when they have a perfect opportunity. Have they never tried it? Do they think food gets in the way of the wine's flavors?
You can't spend any time around the wine hospitality industry without being told that wine goes with food. You certainly can't spend 8 days in Napa Valley -- yes, even Napa, where a lot of the Cabs are better without food -- without hearing the "wine with food" mantra.
I suppose I should have leaned over and said, "Excuse me, why are you having Coke with your lunch?" Because I don't know, and I'd like to, and instead I have to write this blog post, and hope somebody can explain it to me.
Help me out here: Why do people who like wine, not like it with food?