trying to build a wine list
So I am helping out some friends who own a really good BBQ Restaurant. Right now the wines kinds suck.. I have got them more exposure and the big thing is a better wine selection,
Rules $6 a bottle
This is what I have come up with so far
Beringer white merllot 08
Barefoot Cellars Resling
Jacobs Creek Shiraz-Cab 07 (Just because I like blends)
Trouble I'm having is with a cab.
Look don't flame me ..I actually love this place and am trying to help.
There are smarter people on this board and I was just trying to leverage that.
I would at some inexpensive Granachas from Spain or some Malbecs from Argentina.
Like this one: http://www.lawineco.com/2009-vila-malbec-reserva-w-11024.html
Or this one: http://www.shopperswines.com/?iVar=1292
Chris, if I assume the sauce is served on the side, then zinfandel and cabernet are also nice with pork, lamb, and beef.
For a smoked BBQ chicken or turkey, chardonnay is great. I also like a marsanne for bbq poultry but you probably won't find as good a selection as with chardonnay.
But if the meats are served slathered in sauce then you just have to line your wines up and taste each wine with each meat & sauce combo to find the best matches.
You might also suggest your friend feature a BBQ and wine pairing event from time to time, this could bring in some new clientele and be very news-worthy in food circles in your area. Please report back the combos you end up liking the best.
So many questions, so little time . . . but after 35 years in the wine trade, I hope I can narrow it down.
First, WHERE is the restaurant? I don't want the address, but rather what state -- and, if in California, what city?
SECOND, is the "$6/bottle" you quote the wholesale price limit per bottle? the retail price? or the wine list price?
THIRD, what sort of alcoholic beverage license does the establishment have?
Just don't do anything boring.
Consumers have so many choices that if the wine is awful, folks won't come back. Take the time to choose the right wines, especially if this will be a newly opened spot. First impressions and hip "X-factor" are everything -- you'll want and need the buzz.
See what great BBQ restaurants are serving first, and
use that as a starting point.
Choosing wines without tasting them with your menu items
would be a mistake. Don't succumb to pressure that you have to have a Cab or a this or a that when those wines may not go with BBQ. Only a few wines actually work.
Don't carry more than a half-dozen wines if this is a new place, and keep the inventory lean.
Consider beer too, because your price is so tight.
Of the recommendations so far, Garnacha/Grenache is the only one I've seen that would work with BBQ, provided the price works.
Don't think you're going to find many red wines at a price point that will work for you, but red wine at a lower price point doesn't work with BBQ anyway (usually). Just had some Garnacha/Grenache last night with spicy food, and it went surprisingly well.
re: maria lorraine
"Choosing wines without tasting them with your menu items
would be a mistake..."
Amen, that's the bottom line.
"Consider beer too,..."
Definitely... try a couple high-quality wheat beers... Konig-Ludwig is a benchmark for me. There's alot of great wheat micro-brews in the US too. Wheat beer tends to accompany higher-spiced and smoked foods better than other richer beer varieties.
"...because your price is so tight..."
why a $6 bottle cost limit? A what price will your friends retail the wine? Are they serving by the glass or carafe or bottle or?? Seems like you could push that cost factor up a bit since it's a "really good restaurant".
I've not had that particular beer, but it's in the dubbel trappist ale style category. Here's a ratings list of beers in that style: http://www.ratebeer.com/beerstyles/ab...
In order to generate business within the beer afficionado community you might host a beer and bbq tasting at the restaurant if that's permitted by local beverage laws.... develop a reputation for having beer and wine pairings that really match the excellent bbq and take it to the next level in flavor and add $$$ to the bottom line in the process.
I found out the hard way many years ago to ask for help when picking the beverage list.
Hopefully you have at least 3 distributors for your area. Comp the sales people a complete range of what is on the menu. Ask for their recommendations to be evaluated on the restaurants day off. Put at least a couple hours between each distributor. Keep copious notes. And I would recommend at least 3 of the tasters be female customers.
And your profit margins are much better off with wine than beer. At least here in Florida.
The problem you will have is one of volume. No company is going to deliver ONE case of wine to an establishment at a cost of $72/case. Most companies have a three case or $xxx minimum to deliver; some, 5 cases or $xxx.
So, in order to facilitate your buying, I would stick to ONE of the larger wholesalers from which to purchase all of your wine. That's not an ideal situation, but no BBQ joint is going to seel LOTS of wine, and if they do, you can always expand. But I'd certainly start small. Have the owners call Southern Wines & Spirits, Young's Market, and Henry Wine Group. Ask each of them to have a sales rep come by to drop off a book.
1) Decide on how many wines in total they want to carry. I'd start small; you can always add more wines later if and when sales begin to increase.
2) Don't limit yourself to one winery (which may indeed be what the reps will suggest), nor to one country -- though, in Oceanside, there may be something to sticking with California. Look to Spain, South America, California,
3) Go through each book, and look for Garnacha (Grenache), Cabernet (if you must), Malbec, rosé or blush, Riesling or Chenin with a slight degree or rs, and a Chardonnay or white blend for people who fear Rieslings. Keep the price point at $72/case or less wholesale.
4) When finished, see which of the three companies offer you the most options. Have that rep return, with some samples.
I second the Malbec idea... we drink lots of it, and it's often inexpensive and highly drinkable. It's not for a snoody wine tasting, but it's almost never terrible. :)
Since you asked for an inexpensive Cab, how about this one: http://www.totalwine.com/eng/product/...
This site lists it at 7.50 a bottle, but I routinely see it for 6 or less (It's $5.25 here)...
re: maria lorraine
<Will those wines not clash with the restaurant's BBQ?>
Imho they probably will. Cabernets in general don't go very well with barbecue. Neither do Malbecs. too much tannin to compliment the sauces. Zinfandels (red, not white) Grenache/Garnacha, and Rhone blends tend to work better with this kind of food. And off-dry Rieslings.
Following zin1953's advice is always worth the effort. Came into work three hours early to use the computer to research your querry. And the end result is that there is no ready answer. Then I thought of getting a slab of ribs ($1.79/lb) and doing my own test. But then came the variables. Rub or sauce. Causurina, live oak, red mangrove, or citrus for wood. A short grill time on propane or low and slow Que.
Tack on my own bias. Vinho verde, lambrusco, or rioja all chilled.
Please have your friends add a representative sample of some of the wines and beers available on their web site.
So I would follow zin1953's method and let the corks fly!!
With all that spicy heat you need wines that emphasize FRUIT - to cleanse the palate between bites.
Hence, not tannic and not oaky either.
Whites and light reds and for sure.
dry Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Beaujolais, Grenache,
And work on the beer list while you're at it.
You are 100% correct. We worked with Dave Dyer from the Stone Brewing Co. Rep in our area and came up with some really strong beer pairings. Learned more about beer in 2 hours from this guy than my whole life.
Stones Cali -belgique is the perfect beer for spicy food like smoked spicy hot wings...even spicy Thai.
It's sad our wine rep kinda sucks ...but I totally agree with you.