Wine From a Rubber Teat

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Ok, I saw this over at Dr. Vino’s wine blog and had to post something here. The full story is here. For those who don’t want to click the links, basically there is a fondue restaurant in France that serves wine in baby bottles. This model is being brought over to New York City for a new restaurant concept there at “La Cave des Fondus”. I mostly had to comment on this because I have actually been to the French version of this – way back in 2001 when I was living in England.

To get into the establishment one merely had to walk down a few steps and seat oneself at a picnic bench style table. When I went there with my friend I had just finished a full day of walking the city and needed sustenance badly. For anyone who has been to Paris, getting real sustenance at a reasonable price can be quite difficult. This place was cheap, so it fit the bill. Three things went wrong:

1. I didn’t realize how disgusting it is to get all your calories for a day of walking from melted cheese and stale bread cubes.

2. About 5 minutes after my friend and I sat down, a group of about 20 insanely raucus Italian tourists walked in. I am not stuck up about people having fun nor do I like silent restaurants. But these people were screaming at the top of their lungs, so much so that the restaurant owner had to ask them to be quite at least 5 times.

3. The wine came served in baby bottles.

I don’t know about you, but drinking wine from a rubber teat was not my idea of a healthy way to consume liquids. Although Freud may have been proud to see a literalization of regression, I couldn’t help thinking about how many other mouths had sucked on that particular teat.

Now, seven years later, I found out that someone thought this was such a good idea that they should bring it to New York City. I know that NYC has a reputation for new and strange experiments, but unless the proprietors also offer diapers and bonnets at the door, I’m not quite sure how this makes any sense. I also just found out there was a reason for this strange French practice: namely that the French only tax wine served in glasses, so serving it in baby bottles avoids the tax and adds a nice touch of French irony. In America the only irony in “La Cave des Fondus” is that its ‘hommage’ to a Paris institution is an un-ironic restaurant where Americans can act like babies. And, that, my friends is how irony becomes parody.

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