Recently one of my colleagues shared with me a story.
Actually, “story” might be a stretch… let’s call it an anecdote; just one of many on the battlefield that is the restaurant floor.
He had approached a couple sitting window-side, browsing through the wine-list/bible.
The gentleman was interested in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (CnP), and asked my colleague specifically about Chateau Rayas.
(I confess I do not remember which vintage he had recommended).
My colleague’s response was:
If you know anything about Chateauneuf-du-Pape, then you must try the Chateau Rayas
When he shared this with me, I had to laugh, mainly for two reasons:
- The Chateau Rayas wines we had listed ranged from AU$700 – $1000
- Chateau Rayas is infamous for their wines made from 100% Grenache, rather than a blend of varieties as CnP is legally permitted to do
For some reason this anecdote stuck to me – for sure it was a testament to my colleague’s sales prowess, maximising revenue while delivering quality, but there was a different reason why this particular story resonated with me…
Eventually it struck me that it had something to do with playing favourites.
We all have preferences. Sometimes these preferences are strong, so much so that we stick with them to the exclusion of all other alternatives:
- Your like your steak medium-rare, no more, no less
- You like two sugars in your coffee, not one, not three
- You will only drink Chardonnay (white wines)
- You will only drink Cabernet (red wines)
And so on.
What my colleague’s story highlighted to me is this:
If you have tasted the pinnacle of what your preference is, what else do you have to look forward to?
That guest may have their mind blown beyond their wildest dreams with that bottle of Chateau Rayas, but after finishing the bottle they would be ruined – no other example of CnP could ever sate their appetite.
(It was a spectacular wine; my colleague share with me a taste he had prepared prior to serving)
Perhaps that is an overstatement… or maybe not – even if they taste other examples of CnP in the future, they would unavoidably compare it with the Chateau Rayas they had enjoyed that evening overlooking the harbour.
Whether your perception is objective or subjective, the result is the same – once you have tasted the best, all others pale in comparison.
Leave The Comfort Zone
That was the only part of the interaction my colleague shared with me, so my assumptions could be completely off.
Maybe they started off with a Champagne and finished with a dessert wine, which would we a well-rounded experience.
My point is, if they could only be satisfied with a CnP, my colleague or myself would do our best to accommodate them.
But if ever the day came that they had tasted the best of the best, and there was nothing on our list to match it, then disappointment is inevitable.
How to avoid disappointment? By keeping an open mind.
There’s no CnP on the list that’s interesting? Fine, maybe there’s a Grenache or Syrah from the New World that could arouse you.
Try something other than what you always have, and maybe you will find a new favourite.
Read more: What Should I Drink Next?