Judging a restaurant on their food will only ever give you half the story. A competent wine list is just as important as the menu as it not only matches the food but also the expectations of the diners. It should also describe the wines in enough detail so that the paying customer can make an informed choice.
Not only should it contain wines that match many types of food, it should also contain wines from less well-known and fashionable regions – the best of Austrian, English, Israeli and Algerian wines would be notable choices. A note-worthy wine list would also offer adaptable, good-value house wines to provide an alternative to higher-priced more specialised wines.
A good wine list will have a selection of wines available by the glass or half-bottle. This allows a customer to enjoy one or more appropriate wine styles with their meal. Often overlooked, good wine available in small measures is worthy of note.
Champagnes are included on the majority of lists – customers expect to see them but often the bottle price stops a purchase. A notable wine list will offer Champagne but also sparkling alternatives such as vintage Cavas, and sparkling wines from southern England or the Franciacorta region of Italy which are often more reasonably priced and more fully flavoured.
PG Wine Reviews
Linda Mora Argentinean Torrontes 2013
£4.99 Co-op (down from £6.99 until February 25)
Light and refreshing floral flavours. Expect orange blossom and pear. Very nice.
Cono Sur Chilean Bicicleta Sauvignon Blanc 2013
£5.99 Co-op (down from £6.99 until February 25)
Crisp apple and melon flavours. Good match to a Chinese takeaway.
Caliente Rojo Spanish Tempranillo Merlot 2012
Juicy blackberry and blueberry flavours with a dry edge of cocoa. Slurpable stuff.
La Terrasse de la Garde, Graves 2009
A big, meaty red that tastes, well, meaty. Plus some cocoa, sloe and plum.
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Paula Goddard 2014 www.paulagoddard.com