When I go out for a dinner here in the States I often bring my own very special bottle of wine, and I am charged a wine cork fee, usually $10-$30 per bottle of wine. I am thinking about bringing something really special to open the first night we go to dinner on our first night in Rome. Kind of a kick-off to a very great trip. Is this something people often do in Italy? at the nicer resturants, or am I going to look like a total loser! :)
Why transport a bottle of wine from the US, having to worry about fluid regulations, etc. when you are going to Italy? I hear they might make wine there... ;)
Most wines in Italy are not that expensive in restaurants. If you purchase vino della casa it is very inexpensive. Why would you bring a bottle from the states???? I don't get it????? Italian wines are great!!!
I guess because I have this very special 15 year old bottle of wine I have been saving for a special occasion, I travel to Napa Valley often and always bring back a few bottles in my suitcase, I have done it so many times. I know they have good wine in Italy, I just wanted to bring a vintage bottle of mine, rather than pay a gross amount of money for an aged bottle of Italian Brunello.
I would go very slow in this area, Jake. This was discussed some time again. I have never seen it done(which means almost nothing) but from my experience I would not attempt it. The Italians and Spanish take a great deal of pride in their wines and wines they serve. While a house wine in the US is always a cheap wine, the house wine in Italy is often a very superior wine and may be connected to a local winery. And they will often brag that they serve the best house wine. Wine in Italy is a very important part of the meal and not something that you order on the side.
If you just show up with a bottle of wine that you want opened, I could see the restaurant being very insulted that you had to bring you own wine and a California wine -- no less. And the last thing you want is a very insulted Italian waiter.
I suggest that you pick a hotel with rooftop garden -- there are many -- pick up antipasta plate somewhere and open you bottle as the sun is setting over the roof tops of Rome. Far better setting for special bottle of wine than any restaurant and you will not have an Italian waiter glaring at you.
Frank that is about the best advice I have seen thank you
Jake, you're missing a bet if you drag a Napa Valley wine to Italy and pay corkage (which I've never heard of in Italy). Do a little research on Italian wines and splurge on a good bottle there. Brunellos are but one top flight variety and from Tuscany.
Keep in mind, if you try a good quality Italian wine, you'll likely have a new special favorite that will remind you of your trip for many years. You can enjoy your memories of Napa lots of other times.
What make and model is this 15 year old wine?
I'd give it a little taste and re-cork it before putting that much effort in it.
Frank is entirely right. Italians are nearly xenophobic about wine. Best enjoy that outsider bottle in a non-restaurant environment.
I have to relate that one dinner we had in Rome, at a little out of the way restaurant that only locals went to, had a house wine that was an excellent Spumante. The best I have ever tasted. This WAS the house wine! The food, though also excellent and inexpensive, didn't matter after that. We made it our nightly restaurant, just for the wine, made locally, which was just slightly above the cost of bottled water with fizz.
Thank god the hotel room was only 600 yards away.
But, Francis, 600 years is still a long way when you are on your hands and knees. But I doubt if you notice the pain.
hav'nt you watched the true story movie "Bottle Shock" american, californian wines are the best in the world, infact the bottle that won that famous contest is in the smithsonian museum today! :)
I dont think I will be bringing the wine, thanks for the advice.
On a Sunday in Taormina a few years ago we were having lunch at our favourite restaurant (Il Giardino) and a large family party arrived. A table had been readied for their arrival and it seemed they were celebrating the baptism of the latest baby, who was much fussed over by everyone in the restaurant. The family seemed to be friends of the restaurant owners, and when they (the family) produced many bottles of sparkling and still wine for corkage no one looked askance, but I had the feeling it was arranged before hand with the restaurant.
for many people, even in the states they are shocked to hear that you can bring your own wine into resturants. In fact many resturants around the Twin Cities are now dropping there cork fees! which is great news for me. I wont go to a resturant if it charges more than $20 per bottle cork fee. Some places here are charging $30!! crazy. but I have noticed a trend to dropping corkage. maybe its the bad economy and they are trying to bring people in.
In my city, Bring Your Own Wine restaurants abound and there is never a corkage charge. Most of them are of the "casual" and/or ethnic genre, but there actually are a couple of quite "fine dining" places, too, that permit BYO wine. Obviously, these restaurants do not have liquor licences but a special licence that allows bringing one's own. These are a great boon to all of us Montrealers who adore going out for dinner but who decline to pay $50 for a not-very-good bottle of wine from Chile.
good advice all, but one of the things to remember about wine pricing.
Here in the US, it is not uncommon for the price of a wine off the restaurant's wine list to be double the price you could buy it for at a wine shop. In Italy, we have noticed that the markup is not that much. We have been pleasantly surprised to find just a small markup at most places and in some spots the prices were about the same.
I don't think BYOW would go over very well here, especially in Rome. I've never tried it, but I agree that the wines here don't cost anywhere what they cost in the US and the house wine is usually just fine if you don't want to spend more than a few euros (waaay less than the 10-30 dollar cork fee you mention.)
However, if you feel it is worth hauling your wine all the way to Italy, could you do a kind of picnic somewhere special, like Villa Borghese or the Gianicolo hill, bring some good prosciutto, cheese, bread, and then pop open your bottle there.
We usually take a split of port with us, bubble wrapped and zip-locked, only because we do like a little to wind down at night and we never know if we'll have time to look for a nice local evening sip on our first day of traveling. Wine I would not bother transporting though. Its going to get jostled a lot by the baggage handlers and exposed to all kinds of temperature extremes (it gets pretty darn cold up at altitude). A special bottle may be something less than special after the rough treatment getting it there. Maybe have it the night before you leave to start off your trip. One of our winery friends says to not even open a bottle after shipping it for at least a couple of months to let it settle down again, she can be a bit extreme though.
We commonly will find a nice bottle of local wine and some cheeses and breads to enjoy with it for the late afternoons when we start to relax after being out all day and to get us ready for our dinner. Almost all the enotecas we found would provide advice on what we might like and many offered tastes.
Interesting question. I would actually call the restaurant and check. Carrying that special of a bottle may be a risk (to the bottle!). I can understand where you are coming from, but there are so many amazing wines to try that you should be able to find something memorable when you are here. Definitely research it before though. And I think this was mentioned but as a rule wine is not marked up in restaurants as much as it is in the US in general. That may not hold true for really fancy places but many fine dining restaurants are usually just a few euro above retail - and some can be lower if you are in a particular region (for example in Massa Marittima near Bolgheri some of the big names that go for over 100 euro a bottle in Florence in wine shops were less in the restaurants there).