Most of the time when I dine out, it’s tough to find a great wine buy for, say, under $40. And most of the time, I have to spend $60 to $100 to reach up to a very good wine.
Now, I’m all for making the restaurant owner happy (and the sommelier, if they have one). But maybe the restaurant owner should try to make me happy too.
I have a diabolical idea. What if restaurants that are serious about wine challenged themselves to offer one or two red and white wines that were truly great offers? And, if possible, for less than $40. Great wines at great prices! And announced them with a separate card on the table or the front page of the wine list.
Prove to us that their enthusiasm and knowledge of wine is so extensive and so passionate that they’ve given us, their customers, a brilliant wine-buying opportunity.
Not loss leaders to reduce their overstocked inventory or to move a wine that they bought on a special deal, but careful, smart selections--a great-tasting wine from a new winery or a great wine from a legendary producer.
Also, it would be great to provide patrons with information on the wine--region, producer, vintage, you name it. So the special wine selection now becomes a part of the patron’s wine education and mealtime discussion.
Some attentive restaurateurs do have wine lovers in mind. At 411 West, an Italian restaurant in Chapel Hill, N.C., for example, the entire wine list is offered at half price on Monday nights. That means you can drink La Rasina Brunello di Montalcino 2001, rated 94 points on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale, for only $51. That makes me happy!
If more restaurants were like 411 West, or if some industry leaders would adopt my suggestion, I think you would see a lot more fine wine being enjoyed. More importantly, it’s a great way to get a smile and a big "thank you" from the diner on their way out the door. No doubt they will look forward to coming back again and again.
I’d love to hear from a restaurant owner or sommelier who would take me up on this challenge, and let me know the results.
Ben Milano — Plainview, NY — December 6, 2006 2:00pm ET
Andrew Schaufflervircsik — Clarkdale, AZ — December 6, 2006 3:24pm ET
John B Vlahos — Cupertino Ca. — December 6, 2006 3:47pm ET
Jeremy Matouk — Port of Spain, Trinidad — December 6, 2006 5:38pm ET
Colin Haggerty — La Jolla, California — December 6, 2006 10:08pm ET
Ben Milano — Plainview, NY — December 7, 2006 2:58am ET
Jim Clarke — New York, NY — December 7, 2006 10:59am ET
Bryan Bucari — Baton Rouge, LA — December 7, 2006 11:15am ET
Robert Johnston — Washington DC — December 7, 2006 11:31am ET
Louis-ann Gonzalez — Chapel Hill, NC — December 7, 2006 3:52pm ET
Arshavir Kouladjian — Los Angeles, California — December 7, 2006 6:07pm ET
Burk Kessinger — Lexington, Ky — December 7, 2006 7:43pm ET
Tim Webb — high point nc — December 8, 2006 11:26am ET
Jason Carey — willow, ny usa — December 8, 2006 3:43pm ET
Ben Milano — Plainview, NY — December 8, 2006 7:38pm ET
Paula Woolsey — Jerome, Arizona — December 8, 2006 11:09pm ET
Andy Cross — December 9, 2006 11:03am ET
Jeffrey Fitzgerald — Chicago — December 9, 2006 3:34pm ET
Greg Wescoat — Navarre FL — December 10, 2006 12:05pm ET
Larry Schaffer — Central Coast — December 11, 2006 1:39pm ET
Dawna Eastman-gallo — golden colorado — December 11, 2006 5:05pm ET
Quek Li Fei — Singapore — July 29, 2007 9:54pm ET
Paul Osborne — San Luis Obispo, CA — November 17, 2007 6:28pm ET
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