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. A notable wine list, though, must do this and more.
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
If you want to create your own restaurant-style wine list then include the following wines.
Apothic Red Californian Winemaker’s Blend 2012
Tastes like a mix of chocolate truffle and Turkish Delight.
Primera Piedra Chilean Syrah
Smooth flavours of cherry, plum and cake spice.
Clefs du Pontif French Marsanne Viognier 2013
£8.99 Telegraph Wine
Peach, banana and vanilla icecream with a lemon ending – so not actually sweet tasting.
Chateau Le Bernet French Graves 2013
Floral, orange and apple flavours. Nice.
Spar French Sancerre 2013
Tastes like gooseberry amaretto.
Alsace Grand Cru Rosacker Riesling 2013
£16.99 The Wine Reserve
Slight spritz with orangey tang.
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© Paula Goddard 2014 www.paulagoddard.com