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Senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec has been with Wine Spectator since 1997. She tastes New Zealand wines and California Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc and "other" whites.
MaryAnn Worobiec

A Spanish White with a Tapas Lunch

Bodegas y Viñedos Shaya Verdejo Rueda Old Vines 2009

MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: March 11, 2011

Zuzu is a lively tapas restaurant in downtown Napa, popular with my friends for its tasty dishes and festive vibe at night. During the day, it’s much quieter in the restaurant, but the food is just as delicious. It’s a great spot to catch up with a colleague for lunch, which is what I did recently.

I sometimes find tapas tricky to order—figuring out the formula of ordering enough small plates, picking enough varied flavors, and satisfying everyone at the table. This time I left the ordering up to my companion, and instead focused on the wine list. I was looking for a Spanish white, and was happy to see the Bodegas y Viñedos Shaya Verdejo Rueda Old Vines 2009 on the list for $9 a glass. Verdejo is indigenous to the Rueda region of Spain, and I know it as a very food-friendly wine, typically medium-bodied with crisp acidity and interesting mineral notes.

This version was lovely, with citrus notes and terrific peppery, minerally details, a medium body (as expected) and a nice juicy acidity. I rated it 87 points, non-blind. It was a great match with all of the plates we enjoyed, especially the tortilla Española, a rich and creamy potato and sweet onion omelet.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Bodegas y Viñedos Shaya Verdejo Rueda Old Vines 2009 (88, $15).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Verdejo whites from Spain.

Joshua Martin
Austin, TX —  March 17, 2011 10:52am ET
Once again we are faced the issue of markup at a restaurant. If the orignal retail price of the bottle was $15, and even if the restaurant did pay retail, ZuZu is coming dangerously close to a 300% markup of the wine- assuming 4 glasses per bottle. The author states she was "...happy to see the (wine) at $9 a glass." I hope she was happy to see that the wine was on the list, not the price! I understand some cost for wine service must be borne by the customer, but when the markup is excessive, it smacks of using alcohol revenues to support the restaurant side of the house.

As a reader and wine drinker of more modest means, this really sticks in my craw as, a matter of principle. It makes me think twice about drinking wine with my meal since it will become a substantial cost to my bill- one not borne by the restaurant. price should be directly proportional to the cost of presentation.

I know I have the choice to patronize (or not) those establishments I deem offenders. I may still eat there, but I may not drink- a loss for both parties.
Russell Quong
Sunnyvale, CA, USA —  March 19, 2011 4:53pm ET
Joshua, I also abhor over-priced wines at restaurants, and bring my own wine and paying corkage if that is the lesser of two (evil) charges. But, I don't understand calculating markup solely as a ratio. That seems simplistic to me for lower priced bottles and wines by the glass. Taking an extreme example, if a wine were $4 / bottle retail (say Yellow Tail), and it was $5 a glass, that would be a 500% markup. If a 150% markup is good, that means you are expecting this for $1.50 a glass!?

There is a fixed cost (rent, labor, stemware, dishwashing) to all items, so a better price model is:
price = fixedCost + (markupRatio * purchasePrice)

The fixedCost at Zuzu might be say $3, so the markupRatio in this example for a $15 wine is more like 160% (if they bought at retail) or 240% (if they get it at 2/3 of retail). Not nearly so bad.

For more expensive bottles, the fixed cost becomes less of a factor, so almost all the price is due the markupRatio.

BTW I've been to Zuzu and thought it had fabulous food at a great price.

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