About The Author:

"Roger, The Wine Guy" is Roger Yazell, CWS. He is a member of the International Wine Guild and has had a long time admiration of wine. After careers in broadcasting, advertising and marketing account management, he explored his love of wine in hospitality, wholesale and retail sales. The intent of Roger's Grapevine is to share stories, history and information that will add to the reader's love, enjoyment and appreciation of wine and sake'.

Questions, requests for topics and comments are always welcome via email: rogerthewineguy@gmail.com.

(Note: The Wine Guy is currently undergoing chemotherapy and this blog will be on hiatus for the duration and into a recovery period. The Wine Guy is planning to celebrate his recovery with a trip to the two wine producing regions in Argentina and that should provide for some interesting new blogs. Meanwhile please enjoy the archives and feel free to email in the interim.)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Exploring Restaurant Wine Lists Is A Good Idea!

There are a number of sources through which the average consumer tastes a new wine. Wine tasting events at a winery operated tasting room or sponsored by a seller of wine are always a great source because they usually involve someone with good (although probably biased) knowledge and information regarding the wines being poured. Social events, particularly with friends and acquaintances, are also a common exposure to new wines. Year in and year, however, the most frequently mentioned source by regular wine consumers for experiencing new wines is while dining in a restaurant.

While restaurant wine lists and the thought of seeking wine advice might intimidate some, it’s often one of the best places for the average consumer to seek out and try new wines. The key qualifier is, of course, selecting a restaurant that chooses its wine lists carefully and spends time educating and exposing its staff to the offerings available. Most good establishments do just that.
In addition, the average server’s income is directly dependent on seeing that you enjoy your dining experience. A good server is going to be candid and cautious in guiding you to a wine selection if you are as equally candid about your desires, expectations and, of course, budget.

Summertime is a particularly good time to exercise your sense of exploration while dining out. During the warmer summer months, especially in off-peak dining nights, many restaurants offer incentives and discounts on both wine-by-the-glass and by the bottle to address the natural decline in volume. One of my regular sources for pizza, Grimaldi’s, offers one night each week in June where bottles are discounted 50% and the prices approach regular retail. (For a discussion of restaurant wine pricing, visit the archives and review my blog on wine pricing from 9/10/09). This promotion never fails to get me exploring the wine list or seeking a recommendation from my server.

Tasting events, trade shows, winery visits and industry samples remain the top sources for The Wine Guy for most of the new wines I sample and write about. However, I regularly take advantage of the opportunity to sample a new wine in the restaurants I visit. Here are just a few of the recent wines I’ve tried during a restaurant outing:

Jean Luc Colombo La Violette Viognier @ The Stonehouse, San Ysidro Ranch, Ca.
(See recent blog, Good Friends, Good Food & Good Wine Make for a Great Evening 6/8/10)

Stolpman Estate Syrah @ Emilio’s Restaurante, Santa Barbara, Ca.

Skouras St. George Nemea @ The Greek At The Harbor, Ventura, Ca.

Yves Breussin Val De Loire Vouvrey Sec @ Petit Valentein, Santa Barbara, Ca.
(See photo with server Justin above)

Margerum Santa Ynez Valley M5 @ Los Olivos Café, Los Olivos, Ca.

San Antonio Heritage Paso Robles Red Rhone Blend @ Magddaelena, Los Angeles

I wouldn’t have missed the experience of any one of the above wines and a few have since been added to my on-hand collection at home. The moral of my story: don’t be afraid to venture forth and enjoy something new when you’re dining out. With a little help, the odds are, you’ll be adding some new wines to your list of enjoyable favorites.


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