Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...
Dear Dr. Vinny,
On a restaurant wine list, should the names of specific cuvées be listed in quotations? For example, Charles Smith Washington “The Velvet Devil” 2015?
—B.L., Bedford, Pa.
The real question is, how did it take nearly 13 years for me to get a question that combines two of my favorite subjects: wine and grammar?
Here at Wine Spectator (and trust me when I say that our teams of tasters and copy editors have spent a lot of time thinking about this), we don't find it necessary to use quotation marks for a wine’s proprietary name. The “problem” with "quotation marks" is that when they are used “unnecessarily” they can start to sound a little "sarcastic." We’d render that wine's name as: Charles Smith Merlot Washington The Velvet Devil 2015, no quotation marks necessary.
But to get the lowdown on advice on how to organize a wine list, I checked in with Wine Spectator tasting coordinator Gillian Sciaretta, who also runs our Restaurant Awards program. She reads thousands of wine lists a year. Sciaretta says the most important thing consistency. “If you have several verticals or different sections, for example, organize them all the same way (alphabetically, by price or vintage, etc.)," she says. "Also, make sure you provide all necessary information for each wine selection: producer name, appellation, the name of the cuvée if applicable (in this case that would be The Velvet Devil), vintage and price.”
She also adds that because wine is already complex, if the details aren't clear, it’s harder for diners to make good decisions. Good advice.
Speaking of Wine Spectator's Restaurant Awards program, we’re taking applications for next year’s awards right now!
Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.