Why bring wine to a restaurant?

Considering that restaurants mark up their wines so exorbitantly, is it any wonder more people want to bring their own wine to dinner these days? Some restaurants (such as the Painted Table) actually encourage it, some tolerate it, and some forbid it. If you'd like to bring your own wine, here are some polite rules of engagement: 1) Call ahead and ask the restaurant for its policy, 2) Expect to pay about $10 as a corkage fee, 3) Don't bring a bottle that's on the restaurant's wine list, and 4) Don't go to any restaurant that won't let you bring your own wine. It ain't Bordeaux, but it'll do The reason big red wines from Bordeaux have been so popular for hundreds of years is their complexity, owing to a blending of premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes. Camaraderie Cellars duplicates this winning formula at a fraction of the cost ($28) with its 1997 Gr⣥, an oddly named and accented but superbly crafted wine that's brimming with plum and blackberry flavors. Dennis, I've been thinking of doing one of those bike tours through wine country. Can you recommend one? ED, MUKILTEO Ed, No, I can't. And it's not because I'm not familiar with them. It's because the tours all take you to wineries. If there's anything more stupid than riding a bike after drinking alcohol, I can't think of it. Ed, my two passions are cycling and wine. But I never let them overlap. Cycling through Napa, for example, takes tremendous concentration and reflexes—qualities not enhanced by alcohol. DENNIS e-mail: wine@seattleweekly.com

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