The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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Page 95 of 124

october 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  95 I know it's a steakhouse, but what is the true percentage of red to white served each evening? Ninety-five percent of the wine we serve is red. Let me make another educated guess. Your number-one seller is big Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? And big California Chardonnay is your best white wine seller? Great guess, Fred, right on the money! We also have a great selection of Pinot Noirs and more than 75 Italian wines. Twenty-five percent of our sales are non-California. What is the average price point of a bottle of wine sold here? Is it in excess of $100? I would say closer to $150 on average. Do you serve all the wine, or does the staff participate? I serve the majority of the wines and try to get to every table. When we are really busy the staff serves wine as well. We want to make sure that the customer doesn't have to wait for wine service. Do you have a staff training program? We meet once a month to go over our monthly prix fixe menu which has wine pairings. I will pull a bottle of something new from the cellar and do a blind tasting. I like to ask what they would pair it with as part of the tasting. How many seats do you have and how many covers a night do you do on average? We have a maximum seating of 180, and on a busy night we serve between 250 and 300 guests. We are open for dinner only. How important is glassware for your diners? Clean glassware is my muse. I check every glass before I place it on the table. We feature two shapes—a classic Bordeaux and Burgundy. And of course, Champagne! What does Alex drink on his night off? Honestly, Riesling. What is it with you somms? I get Riesling more than half the time when I ask that question. There's such a vast array of wines, regions, and styles all coming from a single grape. It just fascinates me. It's reasonably priced as well. Well, we're going to drink Pinot Noir today. Here is the Patz & Hall 2014 Pisoni Vineyard. This wine is spectacular from two of my favorite people! This wine has so much big, ripe black fruit. I love the ripeness the Santa Lucia Highlands produces. Incredible balance and a big finish. The first time I ever went wine tasting was at Pisoni. What about locals who dine here? We have a fair number, but what is local here? San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Cruz, Campbell, Sunnyvale? We have a great clientele from throughout the Silicon Valley. Do you see any other varieties challenging the mighty Cabernet in the future? We are doing well with Syrah. Personally, I love Barolo. Ladies and gentlemen, when they order, how different is it? Interesting question. I have really, pardon the expression, beefed up the half-bottle selections. We have enjoyed success with two halves instead of one full bottle. That's terrific—think of the number of marriages you may have saved. You get a great wine and counseling! What about the world of wine needs fixing? People who use movies to influence their taste in wine. Merlot is not bad; we love it. Some movies have given wine a bad rap; please, go out and try it yourself! Dame and Seronick tasted the Patz & Hall 2014 Pisoni Vineyard. "Merlot is not bad; we love it. Some movies have given wine a bad rap; please, go out and try it yourself!"

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