Monday, February 10, 2020

Rant: Brave Restaurants & Their Wine Lists

Kudos to two courageous restaurants, A Tavola and Krasi, both which have taken a bold stance with their wine lists. They have chosen to restrict their wines to a single country, the country of their chosen cuisine.

Would you expect to find a Neapolitan pizza on the menu at a Sushi restaurant? No. Would you expect to find a cheeseburger on the menu of a Spanish tapas restaurant? No. In a similar vein, diners shouldn't expect that a restaurant, concentrating on a specific cuisine, will carry wines from all regions of the world. If a restaurant wants to specialize in the wines of a single country, it should be embraced for doing so. Diners should respect that decision and be willing to select wines from that list, even if they aren't familiar with those wines.

Restaurants which go this route spend lots of time carefully curating their wine list, selecting a diverse selection of wines which should appeal to all wine preferences. If a diner likes a certain flavor profile, the restaurant staff should be able to recommend wines which would appeal to that diner. A Tavola has an all-Italian wine list, and although it's relatively small, there's still plenty of diverse choices. Krasi has an all-Greek wine list, of over 150 selections, and there's definitely a wine for everyone.

This is a philosophical choice by the restaurant, an effort to promote a certain culinary tradition and region. We should respect such a choice. Such a wine list a great way to expand your palate, to broaden your vinous experiences. You might even find some new favorites, intriguing unique grapes or wine styles. You might not find some of these wines at any other restaurant, so you have the opportunity to explore something new. Personally, I was very excited to see the Greek wine list at Krasi, eager to sample wines new to me. And at A Tavola, I've already tasted a few wines new to me as well.

However, not all restaurants choose to limit their wine menu to a single country. I certainly understand the reasons why some do so, especially their desire to cater to the desires of their customers. It can be a financial decision, worries that some customers won't dine at their restaurant if they can't find the wines they commonly drink. Some people are too set in their ways, and want to be able to get their California Chardonnay no matter what restaurant where they dine. That is a valid concern to some degree, and as restaurants are businesses, they need to do what they can to survive. That is their choice, but it's not the only available choice.

We should to give our support to those restaurants brave enough to have a single-country wine list, to dine at such restaurants and enjoy their wine choices. We should be open to experiencing new wines, and not limit ourselves to the same old wines. Please dine at A Tavola and Krasi and thank them for the courage in presenting a single-country wine list.

Do you have any favorite restaurants with such a wine list limited to a single country?

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