Better than OK wine list

In the days of the Parker Board, I posted on noteworthy wine lists and had He who should be Forgotten add a sub-section to the BYOB forum.

Semi-commercial post - this local restaurant sells one wine of mine.

Henry & Marty is a local in Brunswick Maine. The wine list is noteworthy for being carefully chosen and very well priced. Nothing greatly original, no screaming steals, not a destination, but IMO they do an excellent job of complementing the very good food. The glasses range from $8 - 11. The pours look closer to 6 ounces than 5. 2015 Buehler RRV Chard at $11 was a good deal, 2013 Kunde Sonoma Cab at the same price even better.

Just me and Sally (she had one glass of Rose), so I didn’t get to the bottle list, but with more people I would have been happy with 2015 Vieux Lazaret Chateauneuf at $45, maybe even happier with two half bottles of the 2011 of the same wine at $34 each. $58 for 2015 Rombauer Chard sounds fair, not sure if 2015 Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc at $32 doesn’t sound fairer. I know very well that 2014 ZD Cab at $65 is a deal, and next time I go back I’ll plan for it.

If you’re in the neighborhood (anywhere north of Portland on the coast), this is a good place. They pay attention to what they are doing.

Dan Kravitz

Does an extra ounce really look that much different to the discerning eye? I don’t think I’d be able to tell.


They do to me. I am in the business. I ask that all of my salespeople practice pouring, so that when we conduct tastings, they pour an appropriate amount. If it’s a big, walk-around tasting with dozens or hundreds of wine and people, the default pour is one ounce (or 30ml for the rest of the world). For a large group and one bottle of something old or rare, 3/4 of an ounce. For side-by-side pairings of two wines with one course at a dinner, 2 ounces. I’ve never tested myself on full glass pour sizes, but am quite confident that I can tell the difference between 4, 5 and 6 ounces. I assume that virtually all restaurants pouring anything but plonk know exactly how much they offer in a glass and train the staff to pour the right amount.

Dan Kravitz

Dan, check out Vinland the next time you’re in Portland. They have a very eclectic wine list full of obscure wines…but it looks well thought out and has many interesting wines. Mark up looks about $15 on a $40 bottle which I was really pleased with. It also helps that the chef has worked at Noma & w/ Dario Cecchini in the past. I’ll check this place out the next time I’m in Brunswick. Thanks for the recommendations.

Over the years, looking at most restaurant wine lists depresses me…which is not how I want to feel when going out to dinner. My expectations start near rock bottom and a quick scan usually leads me to beer and/or liquor. There are few exceptions and I usually have to know in advance about the list…or learn that a legit wine geek is calling the shots. (i.e.: “Our wine guy really knows his stuff…we offer 6 types of Yellow Tail…ever try Sweet Red Roo?”).

I’m not ITB and probably can’t reliably gauge pour size…but my understanding is that BTG is a huge source of profits so I’d expect careful training and volume tracking…pretty much everywhere. Extra points to the operation if they allow tastes before buying a glass.


Rombauer chard? Are we sure $58 is fair :slight_smile:

I’m sure we’re not unreasonable types, and recognise there must be enough margin to pay a reasonable % of overheads, capital being tied up, plus profit.

The main gripe is that many restaurants (at least over here) want to charge the same % markup on wine as they do for the food ingredients, ignoring the cost involved in preparing those ingredients into an appetising dish, vs. the rather more basic costs of getting wine into a glass. Not surprising as few restaurateurs will have gone into the trade to celebrate their love of wine, with food as a side interest to generate additional profit. Instead the reverse is usually true, that they’ll break-even at best on the food, expecting wines, soft drinks, coffee, spirits/liqueurs etc. to generate the profits. I’m not prepared to subsidise this model.

Dan did you ever go to the Kingston House in NH? It was like having a local Bern’s a few exits away.
If I had know they would sell what was left of their cellar I would have gone there every weekend.

To Robert M yers

I understand that for some, liking Rombauer Chardonnay is like liking Gallo Chablis Blanc. I happen to like it; very far from my favorite, but I like it. IIRC it’s about forty bucks in a store.
While I can be a big critic of restaurant pricing, the way the world works I consider any price below double retail pretty fair. That makes Rombauer Chard at $58 least pretty fair. That makes $65 ZD Cab a bargain (I find ZD an excellent and overlooked producer in general).

To Ian Sutton,

I agree with you completely, which is why my choice of restaurants is sadly limited. If the food’s really good, I almost always want wine with it, even if there are good craft beers available. If the wine on offer is really mediocre and/or overpriced, I look for another restaurant, or eat at home. Thankfully I no longer see restaurants where the wine choice is ‘red, white or rose’. However in most restaurants I can usually find at least an adequate glass (hello Kendall - Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Chardonnay… all two million+ cases of you) at a price I’m willing to pay.

to Peter Panzica,

To my regret, I never even knew of the place while it was open.

Dan Kravitz

Fair point Dan Kravitz, I meant to joke about you posting a wine hunter on a chard that takes a lot of heat in these parts. I honestly appreciate you doing so though we need more palates and open minds, not less. While rombauer is not my style of chard, I should know too as I drink cdp on occasion and mostly afraid to post on it. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the recommendation, Dan – I’ll make it a point to drop in when I’m on my way up to Winthrop. This used to be almost on the regular route we took, before there was a Sabattus exit off the turnpike.

Sounds like a good place.