Restaurant Wine Pairings

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MBerto
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Restaurant Wine Pairings

#1 Post by MBerto » December 2nd, 2018, 7:02 pm

What are everyone's thoughts on restaurants which offer long tasting menus, and optional wine pairings for each course? I'm specifically interested in higher end places where bottle/corkage/BTG options can be limited and/or comparable in price. I have my own but will not stir the pot just yet. Thanks.
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J a y H a c k
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#2 Post by J a y H a c k » December 3rd, 2018, 7:02 am

I think I ordered them once 25 years ago in Banff, but these days I think they are an excuse to dump third rate wines to make the distributor happy. If I get a menu showing the pairings, I look at the wines and there is rarely even one that interests me. If the menu does not show the wines, then that seals the deal for sure - if they are afraid to tell me what the pairings are, They must be pretty bad.
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#3 Post by Dan Hammer » December 3rd, 2018, 7:17 am

I was lucky just once in my life doing a wine pairing. It was at Carter House in Eureka California in 2001.

I attended a dinner at a top rated place in San Francisco in the early 2000's, along with 12 other frequent flyers. The cost to pair wines was about $50 per person. I told the Somm I'd rather buy bottles, and gave him a budget of 13 x $50. I told him every course didn't need a specific wine paired. I suggested some wines could double with 2 dishes. We got much better wine value out of our meal doing this.

Matt, I'd look for wine from the list to maximize your value for the same cost. Is BYO and option?

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MBerto
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#4 Post by MBerto » December 3rd, 2018, 7:50 am

I don't have a specific place in mind. My situation is often thus: I'm traveling, typically only with a carry-on which means bringing from my cellar isn't an option. I could buy locally, but while that may provide some financial relief, that's rolling the dice on selection and quality and the goal isn't saving money. So that leaves list, BTG, or the pairing menu, and at most of these places the menu is so varied that committing to a single bottle for the whole thing seems a bit imprudent. That said I'm absolutely on board with the "far more ink has been spilled on the 'what's a good food/wine pairing' topic" than is ever necessary and you should just drink what you like.
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Carlos Delpin
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#5 Post by Carlos Delpin » December 3rd, 2018, 8:07 am

I’ve had great success in Europe and limited success in USA. If it is a large group the idea of a budget per person and buying of the list sounds great. If alone or small group then limited options. Something i’ve Done is to incorporate beer or cocktails into the match.

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George Hejna
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#6 Post by George Hejna » December 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm

Almost always never. I would rather buy what I know I like to drink. When there is an interesting pairing or bottle they are pouring I ask the Som for a glass and have never been told no. Some times it comes at no charge. Best of both worlds IMO

Last time I tried a pairing it was at Noma and it was a disaster. Never again.

Like Carlos said I do like if they do a cocktail pairing, I will usually try that.

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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#7 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum » December 4th, 2018, 2:28 pm

Like others, I almost always avoid the pairings for reasons above and also because so often somms think they have to be hip and cool about those pairings, so they end up being weird. I have never encountered a tasting menu that wasn't at least adequately served by a bottle of champagne and/or Riesling of limited sweetness and a glass of red.

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MBerto
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#8 Post by MBerto » December 4th, 2018, 2:54 pm

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote:
December 4th, 2018, 2:28 pm
Like others, I almost always avoid the pairings for reasons above and also because so often somms think they have to be hip and cool about those pairings, so they end up being weird.
YES absolutely! I recently did one which included an orange wine (far from a sure thing, somms!), and a sweet wine macerated with walnuts then fortified with walnut liqueur. Also a Columbia valley sparkler, which wasn't awful but there's no reason to stretch for good sparkling wine.
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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#9 Post by Scott Jameson » December 5th, 2018, 6:10 am

George Hejna wrote:
December 3rd, 2018, 2:29 pm
Last time I tried a pairing it was at Noma and it was a disaster. Never again.
We had an amazing pairing when we were at Noma several years ago. 8 wines from Champagne, including 2 still wines. They paired very well with the many varied courses and greatly added to what was one of the best dining experiences we've ever enjoyed.

I'll add we had a very nice pairing at Le Bernardin a few years ago. It got off to a great start when the first wine served was Krug MV champagne.gif

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Re: Restaurant Wine Pairings

#10 Post by Ron Slye » December 5th, 2018, 7:07 am

I found that when I was new to wine I really liked the wine pairings. I don't know whether that was because they were more rare and more carefully curated then, or whether my taste has (d)evolved. These days when I have done a pairing I have been disappointed. Sometimes I don't get the pairing, or the wine is just ok but nothing amazing. When I look at the price and think of the bottle I could have had (or the one I could brought from my cellar), that makes me more disappointed. I tend to do a nice white by the glass, then buy (or provide) a bottle of red (though of course it depends on what I am ordering).

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