Gilman, who replaces sommelier Fred Price, comes to Picholine from New York's Gotham Bar & Grill, which has a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for its wine list of more than 500 selections. "My approach will be similar in terms of offering a broad selection geographically and the best producers in terms of price for quality," said Gilman, who was Gotham's wine director and beverage manager for a year and a half, following 14 years in the wine retail business.
Picholine, which serves up French and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, holds a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. The 200 selections currently on its wine list are dominated by French and California bottlings. Gilman plans to double the selection to 400, adding more Burgundy, Spanish, Italian (particularly from the 1995 to 1998 vintages) and boutique Australian wines, with an emphasis on value -- top producers he can sell for between $25 to $40 a bottle. "And we'll be active in the auction market, buying older Bordeaux and California Cabs," he added.
Gilman is also working on a complete overhaul of the restaurant's offerings of half-bottles and wines by the glass, a section of the market he feels is growing in importance. "We have eight or nine wines by the glass right now, and they are all the same quality level. We want to give [diners] the option of having a grand cru," he said. He aims to feature 15 wines that will be changed frequently.
As for half-bottles, Picholine's list will grow from about 15 to 30 in the next week. Eventually, Gilman hopes to have somewhere between 40 and 50, with selections such as E. Guigal from the Rhone and Napa's Von Strasser Cabernets. "Producers are recognizing that there are serious diners who will buy the great wines of the world if they can have them by the half-bottle," he commented.
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