Making Room for Wine in Restaurant Reviews

jamesonWine is a critical component of any great dinner. But how much does it matter in the context of a restaurant review?

Jameson Fink, a Seattle-based wine blogger and friend, recently asked me to tackle that topic on his Wine Without Worry podcast: You can find our freewheeling discussion – complete with egg nog, baseball card and noodle soup digressions — here.

Since I’m in no rush to listen to my recorded voice, I can’t quote myself precisely, but I tend to believe mentioning wine in a restaurant review is a good thing – in moderation. A wine list can reveal a great deal about a restaurant’s philosophies: You don’t need to pick up a fork to figure out the difference between a restaurant serving only California Cabernets and a restaurant showcasing three biodynamic bottles from Slovenia. And a wine list is also a good indicator of a restaurant’s thoughtfulness, since there’s nothing less guest-centric than a collection of costly, name-brand wines which have nothing to do with the food. Continue reading

Dispatch from Greenville: Putting Every State on the Wine List

sipThe wine list at Sip, Greenville’s impressive new rooftop lounge, would be intimidating under the best of the circumstances: The dozens and dozens of wines offered by the glass are identified only by varietal and place of origin, giving little guidance to the drinker who just wants something floral and light. But the situation’s nearly untenable on the weekend nights, when the attractive patio fills with revelers – most of whom are drinking beer and liquor.

The most common wine order during the hours when the service staff can’t talk guests through their choices is “just give me a Riesling,” High Street Hospitality beverage director Chad Musick admits.

During its first summer, the six-month old bar sold 20,000 glasses of wine. But Musick says he plans to tweak the list just as soon as the opening craziness subsides: His list of edits includes ramping up the domestic selection.

Sip now serves a single wine from North Carolina and no wines from Virginia. Continue reading