Cold Wine and Warm Beer in Siberia (repaired!)
There is an interesting story behind that tantalizing glass of Zhiguli beer I just posted. Food in the dining car was quite edible, though some of the descriptions were a bit unnerving: “The bread/bun wheat and rye of industrial production”. While meals are given free to sleeping car passengers they were pretty meager; best to supplement these with some additional food for purchase. Beer and wine were available (beer was warm and the red wine was cold), with wine at a steep price. A bottle of Cabernet from Argentina was 3000 Rubles while a 500 ml can of Baltica 3 was 200 Rubles. I was at first taken aback at such a price for a bottle of wine but soon reconsidered. This was my pleasure trip and if I wanted to spend $45 on a bottle of cheap wine, I should definitely do it. But I was determined to set the dining car staff right and to keep beer cold and red wine at room temperature. When I explained this to the dining car staff, at first they were surprised and a bit confused; however, upon overhearing this conversation (in my very bad Russian) two Russians dining next to me confirmed that I was telling them the correct approach. The next day, the wine was indeed served at room temperature and the beer was in the fridge and served ice cold. By the way, below is that $45 bottle of very ordinary red wine from Argentina. But if you are in Siberia and crave some dry wine....it's the only game in town!