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Sommeliers, wine lists and pricing (split from Ontario board)

There's also wonderful Pinot Gris' out there. I'm not a believer in "this grape variety sucks" but rather the winemakers treatment of that varietal (ie vineyard management, growing conditions, winemaking practices etc...) There are many talented sommeliers in the GTA-just ask questions and you'll get answers!

SWS

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  1. i dont know if i agree that sommeliers dont set prices. there are many instances of owners that are not in the know and rely far too much on the sommelier for all the answers. i know for a fact that is just the way it is. yes, pinot gris is lovely. thats my point, gris is a late harvester and the acids drop rapidly just before harvest and that results in an oily, albeit muted, treasure when handled with care. i agree that terroni has a good list.. MS john Szabo visits weekly to advise and teach staff. lucky buggers

    10 Replies
    1. re: linalool

      It is no secret that alcohol is where a huge chunk of profits lie for any restaurant-to say that there are too many owners "not in the know" doesn't make any sense (especially where their profits are). Those GTA restauranteurs that aren't "in the know" won't be in business for long.

      Sommeliers may suggest a markup to an owner based on what he/she thinks the bottle will sell at, but ultimately, the owner sets the bottom line, lets not be naive here. Trust me, I know how the industry works as well ; ) I would say that most sommeliers who obviously love wine want people to be able to enjoy bottles at reasonable prices.

      I don't know what you mean by "that's my point, gris is a late harvester and the acids drop rapidly etc" when the subject line in your original poster says "Why does everyone drink pinot grigio?" You made no original point extolling the virtues of this grape whatsoever.

      SWS

      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        first off, i know of a few esteemed restaurants that hand over the reins of ordering/inventory/pricing/formatting entirely to the sommelier. dont be upset at me, its just a fact. and please, trust me as well. i think you know full well where i am coming from with regards to gris/grigio. in its latter incarnation it is insipid and dull. why do sommeliers insist on keeping them on their lists? it is the sommeliers who decide the selections, is it not? then why do we still see it on lists if it agreed that it is, for the most part, garbage. guests just order it over and over and over and the 'sommelier' sits idly by. intercept and introduce alternatives. when a guest is confused they will gravitate to anything they recognize. grow a pair and take it off your lists and do the actual work of a sommelier and touch as many guests as possible and slowly shift guests perceptions. its too easy to sit back and say tha guests order pinot grigio because itswhat they know or because its fun to pronounce or whatever. stop smelling your own farrts and get in there and show 'em something.

        1. re: linalool

          Could you give us examples of all these TO restaurants with their abundance of pinot grigio on their lists? And, eating out and choosing a wine is up to the guest. A sommelier is there to guide-not TELL people what to drink.

          And oh, actually smelling ones farts can test your abilities in discerning the sulphur content of wines-you should try it!

          SWS

          1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

            yes, a guest decides based on what is available to them. pinot grigio or ??? by the glass are offerings are generally an afterthought, imo. or else they are selected by 'sommeliers' who just dont have a clue. six months does not make a sommelier, by the way. actually carving out a PURPOSEFUL list/program takes time and experience.

            1. re: linalool

              Could you answer my question and tell the Ontario board what restaurants in Toronto highlight Pinot Grigio and are apparently causing you some serious rageahol?

              You mentioned you liked Terroni's list and Oasi, so have you tried the others mentioned above? I suggest you do-and soon.

              And no 6 months does not a sommelier make-the program through CAPS and George Brown College is one year as is the WSET certification (if you do it in one shot). But then again, you could be in the wine business for 30 years and still feel like you know nothing-in fact, its all a matter of perspective and humility.

              God, I need a bottle of wine now.

              SWS

          2. re: linalool

            can we get back to discussing wine lists in actual restaurants? a discussion of mythical sommeliers and what they do or don't do may be interesting to some, but perhaps could be taken to the 'not about food' board. unless you want to venture an opinion of a specific restaurant/sommelier that can help steer us towards good parings.

            1. re: Kasia

              yes, youre right. i dont want to create all sorts of enemies so soon out of the gate. back to oasis list. so rare to find an assured, unapologetic list. especially the portuguese offerings. as far as pairing, i think we will (hoopefully) see more dessert/vin doux natural/fortified wines being served with the main meal. if you apply the same philosophy with say foie gras/sauternes, why not? so underappreciated and such opportunity for intriguing matches.

        2. re: linalool

          And I'm assuming what you meant by "it doesn't have life" is a reference to ageability. Why can't someone enjoy a wine just because its not meant to be aged? There are many wines that are meant to be drunk young. God, if the world had to wait to drink 10+ year old wines, well, I think we'd have anarchy on our hands.

          With a few exceptions, many restaurants in the GTA have limited capital and cellar space to store wines-especially ones that would be deemed "age worthy". The other factor to consider is that some sommeliers will suggest a higher mark up on pedestrian wines in order to force people to check out other offerings that wouldn't normally be considered. If you engage in a conversation with any of the talented sommeliers in the GTA, they may even surprise you by steering you towards a cheaper bottle than you otherwise would have purchased!

          SWS

            1. re: linalool

              I find this topic amusing.
              To all of the Wine snobs.
              I do like Pino Grigio, as I prefer "tasteless" wines.
              Having said this, many years ago DH and I took the George Brown wine tasting course, and fortunately we were on our way to Japan, so were unable to take the exam which we would have failed.
              I can't find the quality of Pino Grigio in Toronto that is available in Italy, and am always open to suggestions for other dry tasteless wines,
              A couple of months back I very much enjoyed a dry white recommended at Zucca.
              Went to the LCBO, and they told me that they did not have it on their list.