Need rec: for 3 Bottles for 5 STAR RESTAURANT
Going to PROVIDENCE in LA (2 michelin stars) with a group of 10.
We are not going to be doing the tasting menu, so I was going to bring 3 really nice bottles of wine.
The Gents most likely will be going with meat dishes, and the Ladies will most likely be going with seafood.
All the appetizers and amuse bouche's are seafood.
Please recommend something I can pick up at BEVMO.
Their Somm is a great guy and won't try and rip you off or anything like that.
Just give him some clues i.e. describe the kinds of wines you and your guests like to drink, how much you're willing to spend and ask him what he would drink within those parameters.
I would avoid the BTG program; not a good deal since restaurants mark up those prices significantly and with a group of 10 people you'll get better value by the bottle.
the btg approach might make sense if the wife is the only person who will be drinking the Riesling and if she is only likely to drink one or two glasses.
my social groups do not contain enough Riesling drinkers to finish a bottle.
(sad for me, because i enjoy a good Riesling, but will not order a bottle just for myself)
broncophil, You may not like this reply; we apologize.
Until we read your request, we had not heard of BEVMO. We went to the site and looked at the offerings. Our take, for what it's worth: go with the Providence wine list.
Frankly, we could see very few wines on the BEVMO site that we would pay the BEVMO price for. We knew -- because we have sampled -- many of the wines in several of the categories, and they tended to be wines that we had no inclination to sample a second time. (The Renwood Sierra Foothill Barbera is a keeper, though, a good bargain for its $9 price.) We found nothing at BEVMO that we would be inclined to take to a "5-star" (Michelin 2 star) restaurant.
If the restaurant is that good, there is a high probability that the sommelier there is reliable. Sommoliers at top restaurants do not get their positions by giving bad advice. Throw yourself on the mercy of the sommolier; boost your status in the eyes of your fellow diners by having the savvy to ask the sommolier's recommendation; the chances are, the sommolier will recommend a wine you had not anticipated. It is very rare, in such situations, that the sommolier will recommend the most expensive wine; they do not get props for that, and it tends to reduce the size of the tip. The somollier wants you back, and wants you to commend his (or her) good taste to your friends; you have that going in your favor. Then, take the somollier's advice, and (though you may pay a tidy sum for the wine), in all probability, you will have an excellent wine experience.
Enjoy the meal. It is a wonderful experience to dine in a top restaurant; let it wash over you like the wave on a tropical beach; and take the time to savor the wine that the sommolier recommends. Almost certainly, it will be a good one.
As a sommelier, I can't agree enough with Politeness. Most of us geeks want to get you the best wine possible for both your meal and budget. That's all.
There will always be the random somm. who is a discredit to our field and tries to scam the newbs. You can avoid this by directly asking, "We're looking for interesting, flexible reds and whites in the X dollar range. What would you yourself drink in that price range and why?".
I love questions like that. It gets me thinking, talking and teaching, which is what sommeliers love to do. I'm apt to spend more time with a table like that rather than one who opts for the big money, big name bottle.
Hope your dinner and wine are both wonderful! Let us know how it all works out.
Politeness provides plenty of good advice. You stated above that you were willing to spend up to $100 per bottle at a wine shop and pay the $30 corkage fee. Accordingly, if you can find wines you like on the list in this range or lower, you may be within your comfort zone. Also while you could give the sommolier carte blanche to suggest any wine on the list, there is nothing wrong with asking the sommolier for suggestions in a particular price range if you want to stay within a certain budget. If you find this awkward, simply pointing to a selection on the list at a price within your comfort zone and asking for suggestions in that price range is another way to achieve the same result. The sommolier will know all the possible wines at various price levels that will be good matches for the food. Tell the sommolier that your wife's favorite wine is Reisling. The sommolier will take this into account and either recommend a nice Riesling or something similar that he thinks your wife might like.
If the bottle of Jordon Cabernet you recieved as a house-warming gift has special meaning to you, bring it for the meat-eaters. This might be particularly true if the person that gave it to you is in your dinner group as it allows you to enjoy the gift with the person who put the time and thought into buying it. I would normally adhere to the unwritten rule of etiquette (Scott M mentions this above) that you should not bring a wine on the restaurant's list. However, I would bend the rule for a special bottle that had meaning to me, particularly if I was also ordering something else from the restaurant's list. (Providence does not post its wine list on-line, so you have no way to know if it is on their list other than calling in advance.)
Another point, as you have 10 people in your dinner party. keep in mind that a standard 750 ml wine bottle is equal to about 25 ounces, and thus six 4 ounce glasses (small) or four 6 ounce glasses (more typical). Accordingly, I usually count on five glasses of wine per bottle. Accordingly, if, as you say, half of your group are wine drinkers, the three bottles provides three glasses per person, roughly. As I recall, Providence has a very good wine by the glass selection, so if you get to the point where another bottle does not make sense, the b-t-g selections might help out.
Regarding your comment above that you are a wine "newbie", don't sweat it - everyone on chowhound (and even the sommolier at Providence) were wine newbies at one time. Wine appreciation is a fun hobby that is conducive to good times with good friends and good food. It should never be intimidating or stressful.
If you still want recommendations for byo, let us know.
Sounds like you should have a great evening regardless of your approach.
Also, if you're in Orange County, you can go to Wine Exchange in Orange or Wine Country in Signal Hill/Long Beach. Better wine selection and a better chance at some good wines with age on them.
Wine Exchange, for instance, lists a 2001 Zilliken riesling kabinett for $25 that's probably drinking quite nicely. Wine Country has a Copain pinot noir Kiser en Haut pinot for $55. They also have Copain syrahs.
Depends what you're eating.
out of curiosity, why are you bringing wine?
if i recall correctly, the corkage fees per bottle at providence are pretty high.
are you hoping to find something at bevmo that is more special than what you'll find on the wine list at providence?
if you're hoping to save money, be sure to really do the analysis. . . .
What would you like to spend per bottle?
Are you happy with a mix of white and red wine for the three bottles or do you want three bottles of a single wine?
(By the way, you might find a local shop that would have better choices than BEVMO depending on your location.)
Truth be told, I'm a wine newbie.. but I do enjoy it.. About half the people in my group order wine when dining, but normally just take the recommendation of the waiter..
I can spend up to $100 per bottle.. I have always thought that the restaurants charge 300% -
My friend gave me a bottle of JORDAN VINEYARDS 2000 CAB / sonoma county as a house warming, I was going to bring that as one of the bottles..
My wifes fav is a RIESLING, so that would have been the 2nd bottle.
I never really thought of looking a local places, because frankly, I dont see many.. I'm in orange county CA.