Wednesday, August 8, 2012

To Obscure or Not Too Obscure: that is the Question

 There has been a recent kerfuffle between between Steve Cuozzo, a NY Post food writer and Eric Asimov, a NY Times wine writer, on the idea of an obscure restaurant wine list. The concept of a wine list and these articles got me to thinking...

My feeling on the subject is as follows; in the 6+ years of selling obscure wines (and 20 years drinking them), I like them, but I don't always choose to drink them. I have also learned that the majority of the "wine public" definitely do not drink them. But that most assuredly does not stop me from seeking them out and getting excited when I come across good ones. And I am all for a challenging wine list...

but I do also believe that some of the Sommeliers that take this obscure concept too far are playing "wine pocket pool," if anyone remembers that expression. Yes, a mainstream and unthoughtful wine list is status quo and a dull list also shows a certain laziness that I find deplorable (read: do the work), but a 100 SKU list with nothing recognizable to the average drinker can also be lame.

Ultimately I know both of these guys are looking to sell papers and/or garner online hits but come on, there is a happy medium. 

My belief is that there can be a captivating wine list with both obscure and known; some Saint Pourcain as well as a little Bordeaux. Just be thoughtful and do your homework, and then most importantly, train your staff.

What say you?

Here are the two article links for those of you that missed them:

Steve Cuozzo, on wine lists that are so avante garde that no one knows any of the wines, here: NY Post

Eric Asimov, rebuttle of sorts saying you must fearful of wine unless you fill your list with obscure, here: NY Times

No comments:

Post a Comment