The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2014

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Page 107 of 136

november 2014  /  the tasting panel  /  107 I dined here in the first month. It was absolutely sensational. And I really enjoyed the wine list. I really like what you've done with the selection. And the wines are a great value! Well, it's certainly not a mainstream list. The thought was to select wines that have a bistro/enoteca feel to them. A lot of different varietals from around the world that we believe are great examples of their region. We are really looking for wines with a great acid balance and not overly oaked. We also are watching the alcohol levels. On our visit we really enjoyed the value. When you are dining in San Francisco the term "value" doesn't come up a lot. But I was surprised when I got the bill. It was more than reasonable when compared to the dining experience. I'm happy to hear that. Our wine mark-ups are usually two times, two and a half maximum, of wholesale. You can always get a great bottle for a great price. We also feature two-and-a- half-ounce pours if you feel like getting adventurous! I can't help but compare this to Alioto's on Fisherman's Wharf. It's a great restaurant that has a long history. It is very classical in all its elements. I am really having a great time here because we are completely the opposite. Contemporary cuisine, cool décor and a wine list pushing the boundaries. Nunie, I think you're having fun! Who'd have thought at 65 it would happen! Frankly, I'm having a ball. This will be a wine lover's destination. You're in the Mission, a very hip district of the city. What is the clientele like? We have a great variety of guests coming through the door. It's a real mix but we have a great late evening push from younger diners who work in the tech world. So, do you have a floor sommelier? Yes we do. His name is Chevis Scott. He's in the Court of Master Sommelier program. We do the staff training together. Great news, I think our floor service days are done. So let's have a glass of wine to celebrate. Today, I brought Planeta 2007 Merlot. The wine that put Sicily on the map. It's very international in style. It's chocolaty with rich, ripe aromas. Very modern. This wine would be a real challenge in a blind tasting! What's up next for the wine list? I know you love German wines. True. But I really want to bring more of a sense of Italy to the selection. With the winter season and fall menu's com- ing into play, I'm shopping for some classics to match the menu—rustic, Old World, earthy. So what is your guilty pleasure? Italy, of course. And the great vineyard of Rabaja in Barbaresco. Giacomo Conterno and other great producers who make magic come out of every bottle. Very traditional winemaking. We were talking about Chianti and your search for the perfect wine for the list. The vineyards there are not contiguous so the producer really becomes important. There are some great vineyards, but the winemaking is what makes the difference here. Far different from Barbaresco. Tell me, how many restaurants have you got left in you, old friend? Zero, zero and zero. Make sure to print that! Nunzio and Fred taste Planeta 2007 Merlot from Sicily. Nunzio Alioto, MS (right) with Fred Dame, MS is VP/Prestige Accounts for American Wine & Spirits of CA (a division of SWS).

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