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There I was, sitting in a small, well-kept restaurant in a tourist town in the wine region of southern France. I was alone and wanted to have a small snack at noon. The menu: varied, region-specific, attractive; the wine list limited to a few "open wines", house wines, so to speak. Just right for the small meal: "Un quart de rouge en pichet" (which means: a "Viertele", please). The "Viertele" was served, but - the wine was as good as undrinkable. Not only was it a meaningless, cheap, mass-produced wine, it was served way too cold (obviously straight from the fridge), and was already oxidized. This is supposed to be a "house wine?" Normally a dispute with the landlady or landlord follows. This time, however, I sank deep into brooding, annoyed, depressed, without any understanding, because the same thing has happened to me many times, even in places where wine is part of the central gastronomic culture.

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