After posting a report last week about a recent meal at Marc Vetri’s Osteria, comments came rolling in – not about the restaurant or its food but about wine. Most of them came in response to a brief observation I’d made in the context of a discussion about the state of wine service at Osteria: “All stemware is seasoned.” Feedback quickly went from simply inquisitive to positively contentious. Rather than continuing the discussion there and leaving all the fun buried in the comments section of a restaurant profile, I promised to elevate the thread to its own post.
For those that may not already be familiar with the practice of seasoning wine glasses, here is a snippet from my own response to one of the earlier comments:
In a nutshell, seasoning is the practice of pouring a small amount of wine into a glass. The wine is swirled and the glass tipped, with the idea being to entirely coat the inside of the glass. The wine is then poured into the next glass and the process repeated until all necessary glasses have been "seasoned."
The intention is to maximize one's olfactory experience of the wine and to totally remove any remaining traces of residual odor or detergent from the glasses themselves. The biggest bone of contention for those not in favor of the practice seems to be that the ounce or so of wine used for seasoning is usually sacrificed.
Though seasoning has been practiced in restaurants in the New York and San Francisco markets for years now, it’s still a relatively new – and rare – phenomenon on the Philly dining scene.
Rather than delving at length into my own thoughts on the topic, I’d love to open up the floor to you, my readers. To get you started, here’s the comment from local restaurateur Tom Hudson, of Wilmington’s Domaine Hudson, which got this ball rolling.
"Seasoning" glasses is totally irrelevant if you do what we do, 1) invest in a brand new, high temp commercial dishwasher, 2) provide a fresh glass for each bottle (irregardless if it is a second bottle of the same wine) and 3) serve the wine at the proper temperature as well as [in] appropriate sized stemware.
Now it’s your turn. How many, if any, restaurants in your neck of the woods include stemware seasoning as part of their wine service? What are your thoughts on the practice? Let us know, whether good, bad or indifferent.