We have around 80 wines on the list not including Champagne, sparkling and dessert wines, and I like to include types of wine from around the globe that really show off the best wine offerings and grape varieties. Today I pulled off a sales report from the last four months to see what is moving and what is not moving. It is never a surprise to me to see that the ‘big brand names’ of wine outsell all the others by a mile. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Rioja from Spain and Merlot from Chile all just fly off the bar and it is only with careful advice and recommendation that we can sell the more exotic wines.
For instance, Chilean Merlot out sold a delicious blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon from Tuscany by 14:1. The only way to show guests what is out there is to re-assure them that going away from what they know about is very rewarding and can be a real revalation. In fact, what I do is to suggest that they order the bottle that I recommend and should they not like it I will drink it! This always works and I never get to drink the wine. I really like it when I am asked for advice on what wine to choose and I don’t think that this is a sign of ignorance at all. Far from it, I have chosen and tasted all the wines and I should be able to recommend something to suit the food and the mood. Why drink something you drink a lot of at home?
I work very closely with a number of wine merchants, none more so that Patrick Pigny from Great Western Wine in Bath. Patrick, a very knowledgeable and charming Frenchman, and the rest of Great Western Wine work hard to find wines from small hard working producers around the globe who do not want to sacrifice quality for quantity and sell they wine to supermarkets.
We have picked out some new wines to try and offer by the glass over the bar and also a Ribera del Duero from Spain, another Italian, two Portuguese wines and a Chateau Neuf de Pape style blend from California. These wines will be in the cellar and on the list within the next two weeks. So please do not feel embarrassed about asking for help for the wine list – it is good for my ego.