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Croatian wine? (I’ll put aside for the moment that the first and forever only Croatian wine I tried, from a highly-touted producer, tasted like a racehorse took a gigantic whizz over a freshly-baked chocolate cake.) The LAST thing I want to do when I’m ordering (or bringing, as is usually the case) a wine with dinner is to take a risk, because if the wine turns out to be a dud, the entire experience is ruined also (been there done that).
So forget the Slavic wine, or the “sans soufre” California Melot (I have no friggen’ idea what “sans soufre” is but I do know that it’s unlikely to make a drinkable beverage out of a Cali Merlot) and just give me a JJ Prum, a Caymus, a reliable Burgundy Domaine from a reliable vintage, a KB, etc…
In context the comments don’t seem quite as dumb. But it is a little silly to bash a creative wine list precisely because it is not boring. Maybe he’d prefer the Olive Garden or Macaroni Grill? Nothing challenging there. This is precisely the sort of list that would entice me to go out and pay the restaurant markup.
Love a wine list which forces you to think, ask, and experiment. Hungry Cat in Hollywood had (haven’t been there in over a year) a list similar, and it paired beautifully with the food. But then again, I love chenin, savenierre, etc…
To each his own.
+1 for me too Greg.
Here in LA Slovenian wines (especially Movia) are quite the rage at a lot of seafood or pacific rim oriented places (stealing some thunder from the now almost passe Austrian Grüners which were the shit three years ago).
Thanks for getting that posted, Roberto. Got tired of fiddling with the img tag, that’s more like it!
Ah . . . , yes, inductive reasoning.
If you’ve got a good Slavic wine to suggest, I’m all ears (perhaps Tokaji if Hungarians are counted, which is not clear to me)… but be warned, each combination of grape and country gets only one shot to impress before it goes on my naughty list… (life is short and the gravitational attraction of Burgundy vis-a-vis my wallet is very strong indeed…)
Oh SNAP! A New York paper reviews the review in the Chonicle:
http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/wine_explorer/2010/03/if-a-san-fransisco-restaurant.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I think both the reviews of the original restaurant critique are spot on. It makes no sense to praise the restaurant for its eclectic menu, then trash the wine list for the same reason.
I’ve liked the wines I’ve had from Movia, whom Roberto mentions. But one thing to understand is that there are some producers down there that are doing highly idiosyncratic things and the fact that you may not like what one is doing says nothing about the next guy down the road.
Also, the fact that there is a single (or several) wines on a list that you don’t like doesn’t mean much when it is a list as varied as this. That’s why they have a wine guy/gal there to discuss the wines with you.
but be warned, each combination of grape and country gets only one shot to impress before it goes on my naughty list… (life is short and the gravitational attraction of Burgundy vis-a-vis my wallet is very strong indeed…)
Lucky for you that you like the first Burgundy you ever had, huh?
Nice post by Scott. But for the sake of clarity, my impression is that this is a blog that the Daily News hosts, but not actually part of the paper. Scott is a wine store owner (Discovery Wines).
If a large daily paper puts your words under their banner on a regular basis, does it matter how or where?
No, that disclaimer only refers to unknown or little-known wine regions, of which there are an endless number, and of which almost without exception have all proven to deserve their status, for my palate. I in fact did like the first Burgundy I tried, but if I had not, I would most certainly have tried at least a half-dozen more over the years before giving up entirely, simply because of its standing in the wine world.
Unlike retailers or critics, I, as a lowly consumer, do not get to try two dozen types of wine a day for free, so I must be more careful with my money and attention…
I like Michael bauer but his reviews often neglect the wine or do it short shrift. Fwiw I hear he likes to order August West wines when he sees them on the wine list
personally I like some creativity. Better than seeing some list put together by southern.
I like creative wines lists, interesting wines and innovative pairings, but deeming something “passe” because more people have heard of it is a shitty and pretentious way to approach wine. I’ve encountered a couple of sommeliers like this, and they were such tools that they didn’t even realize that they were driving more people away from the wines they liked than persuading people to experiment.
If a restaurant wants to throw some interesting new wines at me fine. Put them on a tasting list menu paired with food. Don’t hand me a wine list with wines from outer Mongolia and expect me to try one. Probably won’t happen. It’s hard enough with American wines that you think you might know, and then out comes this highly extracted, oaky, fruit bomb, pinot that destroys the salmon you ordered with it. The somm., a Parker/Laube protege, had told you it was a medium body wine!
I have no problem with giving a restaurant praise for putting white Greek wines on their wine lists, and then trashing them for picking shitty Greek wines. There are numerous wonderful Greek whites that pair beautifully with seafood. Keep the Greek wines on the list, just serve good ones!
Another big hangup of mine is the “Fake Wine List”. How many times have you gone into restaurant that gets the big write up for their wine lists and find that’s all that it is, a list? The list has five (5) Burgs on it, and you get “Oh, we’re out of that pinot tonight, would you consider the Beringer?” After, three tries the waiter finally tells you they are out of all Burgs". Then you look at a Bdx on the list, and the waiter says “Oh, I think we just sold the last of that wine, would you consider a Beringer merlot?” Too many writers get carried away with what’s on paper and never investigate to see what’s actually in the cellar! Yes, they have a 1,000 bottles of wine with 900 of them being different Beringer and Mondavi varieties!
That made me laugh, Gordon. Happens way to often.
My wife and I went to a so-called wine bar in the East Village last week.
Bottle order #1…waiter trudged back to table 10 minutes later “Sorry, out of that”
Bottle order #2…same deal.
#3…you guessed it.
It was now 20 some minutes into it.
Him: “would you like to order another?”
Me: “No, thanks. I think we will head to a wine bar that has some actual wine, not just a list of them”
And we left.
I am with you on that one T Bone. My parents and I went the Hungry Cat a year ago and were not familiar with any of the wines on the menu. They sent over the sommelier and when he heard what we were ordering he brought over the 3 bottles he thought would go best and poured us a sample of each. We got to taste and learn and he was so cute, that we loved every minute of our dining experience!