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Everything posted by ChampagneRiddler

  1. Currently, I believe Drew is at Woodfire Grill... C.R.
  2. Sounds simply extraordinary... Squab "a point" with cinnamon cream sounds absolutely divine.. C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  3. Well, I live in Atlanta, and I admit I wasn't sure what "Banh Xeo" was, but now that I've googled it, I have to say I'm ready to hit Buford Highway... C.R.
  4. ChampagneRiddler

    pHat Wines

    I've never seen pH values ever printed on any wine label, and I'm doubtful the average consumer really understands the significance of even alcohol percentage which actually IS on every label.. C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  5. Well, you're all clearly missing out if you haven't enjoyed wines from Harrison Vineyards... I've had the wonderful fortune of having two separate wine dinners with the delightful winemaker Lyndsey Harrison of Harrison Vineyards- I think her production is some 3,000 cases/year, and her best wines are her Pritchard Hill cabernets and chardonnays. She also produces a wonderful zinfandel she calls "Zebra Zinfandel." I was fortunate enough to host a dinner with her in 2003 at Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, whre we were nearly mobbed, and then again this year at Blais, the now defunct Trio/El Bulli/French Laundry inspired resto. Lyndsey, however, might not be the known as a boutique winemaker in the near future... She's originally from New Zealand and just purchased a lot of acreage in Central Otago where she plans on making Pinot Noir, Riesling, and I think Gewurztraminer. Cheers, C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  6. Well, "Petrol," or more like "Diesel" is the aroma I get from great German and Alsatian Rieslings.. I anticipate the aroma, and believe me, it's not a drawback in the slightest. What's more peculier to me is the absence of that aroma in most California and Washington rieslings. They have, in some cases, almost no bouquet at all! As far as I know, only Riesling has this peculier bouquet- I NEVER get it from anything else, and certainly never from a Gewurztraminer nor Auxerrois (the aromas from those two particular grapes are worth analyzing here at some point)... I will also add that a lot of Australian Rieslings carry the same wonderful aromas as its Alsatian and German cousins... C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  7. I'm amazed that a 1995 Flowers Pinot Noir wold be judged more tannic than a... 1999 Crozes-Hermitage! No way... Wow.... Really?? C.R. aka "Greg Koetting" P.S.- I'm enamored with a Saint-Joseph by E. Guigal from 1999 which was dark, brooding, and yet maybe more polished than perhaps some California Pinot Noirs...
  8. Oh, and congratulations to JeffyBoy for being so 'au courant' with the hip, new liqueur back in the day! C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  9. No shit? 18 years ago, for real? Hah! That's funny... I couldn't even pretend to know a thing about that stuff.. All I know is that you can make two drinks- a Golden Cadillac and a Harvey Wallbanger (which is nothing but a screwdriver with a drizzle of Galliano, maybe?).. Good googling, dear Gifted Gourmet! C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  10. Galliano... Every old school bar has a bottle. And like yours, it, too is about 18 years old... and perhaps about 2/3 full! Which begs the idea- was the whole world's supply of Galliano made in one batch about 18 years (or more) ago??? Heh heh.. C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  11. The Sangiovese Rosso is particularly good- silky and sexy..! And, fairly reasonably priced... C.R. aka "ChampagneRiddler"
  12. First, thanks for the warm welcome to eGullet! I am really looking forward to participating in the forums, although I will likely spend more time here in the beverages section.. I have found this entire site just an amazing resource for all things edible and imbibable (sp?), and I'm sure I can spend many, many hours researching the site for tons of useful information! Regarding the math, the issues with half bottles vs. by the glass and even half glass, I would say that I will remember from my dining experience that even though I selected a wonderful half bottle of wine, my experience at that restaurant would have been even better if I had had a series of different wines to go with the tasting menu. I had ordered a cabernet, most likely as impulse as I wasn't 100% sure what I was considering for dinner. Of course, that was my first mistake. But the wine by the glass program didn't seem to have as much breadth as many restaurants now offer. There were some dozen wines by the glass, but nothing immediately appealed to me for whatever reason. 6 reds and 6 whites... zzzz! So, my experience was immediately shortened from what it could have potentially been. So, my argument is that some restaurants would be doing a better service by offering more by the glass instead of offering half bottles, particularly those that offer tasting menus. However, one point that may not have been mentioned is that certain pricier wines (think Quintessa) become a little more accessible by having availability in the half bottle format. As far as the math goes- I can see you expended a lot of energy trying to show just how far one could go to screw the customer price-wise. Don't worry, we all know.. There are restaurants in Atlanta that I know charge a 400% markup easily. But, honestly, those are fairly rare places. However, as a former restaurant wine director, my goals were pretty well defined by my principals. One restaurant asked for a liberal cost allowance of 38% for wine, but a stricter 19% for liquor, and 24% for beer. The last restaurant simply asked for a 29% total beverage cost of sales, proportioned as I saw fit. So, I elected to make wine the most accessible at the latter restaurant, but be careful about ordering that Hangar One martini. One interesting point that was only implicitly mentioned is that pretty much no one ever pays the same amount for the same bottle of wine. Wholesale, that is.. and that's where the fun begins! In BOTH restaurants, I wanted to create a list that was as global as I could afford, and I wanted to place special emphasis on smaller producers and overlooked wine producing areas. And yes, even unusual varietals. So, the big boys didn't get as much representation as they would have liked. That put the onus upon me to really choose carefully, know the product inside and out, and to be able to train the staff to (hopefully) carry the same enthusiasm as I have for the wines. I didn't want to create the flashiest list around full of trendy wines, but to really highlight some classics. Putting the list together was fun, and my pricing was fairly linear, although some products got a special boost, and others were priced to sell. It really depended on a few elements of whether it was an unusually good find (like a few bottles of '94 Stag's Leap Petite Syrah), or if it were something closer to the heart like Harrison Vineyards "Zebra Zinfandel." Or, of course, if it was limited (not necessarily allocated!). I also wanted to try to create a wine list with as broad of a flavor spectrum as possible, especially since we offered mostly tasting menus for the last restaurant. And, I'll also mention that even with the half glass program, and as many as 50 wines by the glass, seldom did we have waste. The reason is simply that with a tasting menu, I had the freedom to choose the pre-selected wines, and the important ability to change if necessary. I'm not saying waste doesn't occur, but it can be minimalized by careful handling of the product. If you can translate the product into something that is meaningful, then, the product is more likely to be treated with respect. Also, I tried to keep a good majority of the bottles on the list in a 'glass-able' price range, so the list could change literally everyday. Keeping it all in fun... C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  13. I have written a few wine lists in Atlanta and I've found that generally everyone thinks that half-bottles of wine will sell well better than they really do. Restaurant owners and managers often point out that single diners are more likely to order half bottles if given an option, as well as those couples who really only want about a glass each. Well, I recently went to a brand new restaurant in Atlanta to dine and ordered a half bottle of '99 Miner Cabernet- I ordered it because I was dining alone and the wines offered by the glass were pretty dull. It really was convenient to have that half bottle option, if, however, they got a little more money from me than I had probably planned to spend. But, I happen to really like Miner wines and I wanted to treat myself. The only problem was that the wine was corked. A stinker.. phhthh! But, a new bottle was presented after speaking to the maitre d' and all was well again. I do wonder, though, if there might be a higher incidence of spoiled wine in half-bottle formats. I would have preferred, instead, to have more options by the glass as I had ordered the tasting menu and was interested in having wine accompany each course. The last wine list I wrote was in a restaurant that specialized in tasting menus and I offered some 45-50 wines by the glass, and HALF-glass, feeling that having more options to go with smaller courses would be a lot of fun, and I hope it was. But for my lonesome little dinner, all I had was one half bottle, albeit a tasty bottle of wine, that accompanied too many divergent flavors and courses. C.R. aka "Greg Koetting"
  14. Is this the same Pyrat XO that is also known as "Planter's Gold?" If so, I absolutely LOVE this rum... The bouquet is extraordinary and very perfumed; fruity even. Personally I would have it neat and in a snifter.. Cheers! C.R.
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