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Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

sebi: i'm not hating on you. i said it's admirable that you do it that way. that's great for you and great for your customers.

my contention that it is perfectly reasonable for some shop owners to charge a corkage. just as i think it's reasonable for restaurants to charge corkage.

i wish every wine bar didn't charge corkage and wish every restaurant didn't, but it's a pretty standard and common practice and shouldn't be viewed as unreasonable.

and further, most bars that i go to waive it for regulars.

in fact, the place that i go to most, i talk to the owner quite a bit. he says he only really charges it half of the time. the biggest determinant on whether he charges the corkage is the customers attitude.

Apr 04, 2008
waffleman in Wine

Corkage fee at retail shop/winebar

things in this world cost. there is no getting around it. ultimately everything has a price.

there isn't a universal rule that should be applied to everything, because everybody's situation is different and everybody's goals are different.

the fact to the matter is - you probably neither want to nor can't have the staff at BevMo, Costco or Trader Joes open that bottle you just bought for you to enjoy in their store, because they are not licensed to do so.

if you'd like to take that bottle out to the Bevmo parking lot and enjoy it out there, you run the risk of being fined for public intoxication - unless you are in Las Vegas there just aren't that many places in the country for you to drink in public.

and if you visit the little wine bar/store and the store owner has gone through the process of applying for the on-site alcohol license, the food and health permit, and buying those bar stools, dishwashers and stemware. he should have the right, if he chooses, to recapture his investment. the poster down below "sebi" chooses not to do so. that's very admirable of him and maybe he has other avenues help pay the rent. maybe his retail prices are higher than normal. who knows. all i know is that everybody deserves the opportunity to get paid.

Apr 04, 2008
waffleman in Wine

What was your New Year's Eve champagne?

I believe you get the prize - nice job.

Jan 15, 2008
waffleman in Wine

Wine Spectator alternatives?

Gambero Rosso for Italian Wine.

Nov 25, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Case for wine in checked luggage?

If you are really serious about it, Pelican makes a rugged wine shipper. It's a special order type thing. It's not on the website, but you can call them up and they can help you out.

there's this product called wine skin that is functional enough.

Oct 09, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Origin of best QPR Wines

Austrian Gruner in the liter bottles are a pretty smoking deal. Most around $10 - $14 per bottle.

Cotes du Rhone are a pretty good deal.

Spanish whites are pretty cool.

Sep 26, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Salon Champagne

If you can do it at a restaurant for $260 the DO IT!

You would do yourself a big favor by buying a handful of bottles and stowing them away for a few years.

Just a couple weeks ago I popped open a bottle of 85 Salon. Undeniably one of the top three Champagnes I've had in my life.

Sep 25, 2007
waffleman in Wine

2005 German Riesling - Worth the Megabucks?!

egon muller is the exception and not the norm and they are generally higher priced than most other german riesling.

most other 2005 german riesling sell for comparable prices to other regular and off vintages.

Aug 16, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Have you researched your local "boutique" wine store?

the premise of my point is, all things being equal, regardless of what the wine costs anywhere else, did you receive $15 of value from that bottle of wine?

so then i ask in a semi related situation, Schlossgut Diel wine used to be represented by a small importer in the US. You could buy a bottle of auslese for around $40-$45 retail, the kabinett for under $20. Couple years ago Terry Thiese picked up the winery and the same auselese now retails at $70-$80 and the kabinett around $30. We are all just making Thiese rich, and that's fine, the wine is damn good. But do you feel ripped off in the same way?

No? So it's okay for the evil conglomerate, big guy importer to make a buck but not your local mom and pop wine merchant?

Aug 15, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Have you researched your local "boutique" wine store?

Sometimes you just have to step back and say, "it's not that big of a deal".

Take a different perspective, when you are buying wine, you hope to buy a good tasting palatable beverage that will give you a little relaxation and maybe, on a good night, you get lucky with your spouse. Instead of thinking you got cheated because you could have spent $10 less dollars on the same wine. Just ask yourself if you got $15 dollars worth of value. $3 per glass.

help the small guy out. that's what america runs on.

Aug 15, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Extraordinary Champagne for Birthday Present

On the ecletic side. If you can find it...:

Jacques Selosse Substance (around $200)
1990 Bruno Paillard NPU [Nec Plus Ultra] (under $200)
1976 Diebolt-Vallois (around $140)

Bang for the buck. It's all there.

Aug 14, 2007
waffleman in Wine

True Champagne...incomperable?

while i don't have any hard statistics to help argue the point, one would assume that as a wine style there are perhaps hundreds of producers in Champagne that make Champagne. Outside of perhapes Penedes, Spain, there probably isn't another region in the world that focuses on sparkling wine.

take away the largest five US sparkling wine producers and, you are left with but a comparative handful of wineries that make sparkling. Most other wineries and winemakes dibble and dabble in it as something fun or ecletic. so the odds are in the favor of Champagne to make the best. And I agree that they do.

but, i would guess, if you were to blind taste some German or Austrian Sekt wines, maybe something like a Brundlmayer Sekt wine or Gysler Sekt, you would really be surprised at the quality.

Aug 14, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Help me evaluate my party wine plan

I have been around many of these types of events where the host has the intention of "pairing" wine to food. I will throw some caution into the wind for you. I have a small event business and I meet many people that want to do the same thing that you are describing. I tell them all the same thing.

People don't like to follow rules and there are many barriers and prejudices that you have to break down. To start, many newbie Guys don't like champagne. Think it is for sissies, don't like the bubbles, blah, blah, blah. So no matter how great that oyster appetizer sound with the that fabulous Champagne you are pouring, the Guy will ask for the red wine. "What do you mean I can't have any red wine?" And even if you have menu cards with instructions, people will gravitate towards what they feel comfortable with.

If this is a celebration, I wouldn't recommend that you be stingy with the alcohol. The pouring of the alcohol and serving of the apps will never be efficient enough to keep people's glasses filled and happy unless you had at least 12 - 14 servers. If there is waste, there is waste. I think you would be better served by letting the liquor flow and the guests having a great time.

Lastly, if there are only 12 wine-heads in the house, maybe your better approach is to have some "under the table" wine for them as it appears you are most intrested in appeasing them.

Apr 26, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Wine pairing for Gorgonzola pizza?

walk away from the red side. try it with an auslese.

Apr 02, 2007
waffleman in Wine

April in Paris...any suggestions?

Le Coq de la Maison Blanche
37 Boulebard Jean Jaures
Saint Ouen 93400
01 40 11 01 23

if you are into wine and, specifically, white burgundy, this place is not to be missed.
1996 J.F. Coche Dury Corton Charlemagne 550 euro.

Just Do It, Baby.

Apr 02, 2007
waffleman in France

Sparkling vs Still

i recall having a bottle of this not too long ago. very nice stony minerality with herbal undertones, crisp and medium to fuller bodied. probaly pair well with a shell fish type appetizer or by itself.

Mar 25, 2007
waffleman in Wine

What white wine would be good with a variety of apps?

truth to the matter, if you are serving many people in varied levels of wine saaviness (just assuming this as you only want to spend $10 a bottle) - keep the onus on the wine and don't get too caught up in the food / wine pairing perfectly. a flavorful well balanced wine will go a lot further than pulling out an ecletic never heard of wine that matches well.

serve what is common and will please many, instead of going on a limb and trying to hit a home run with something that might work perfectly with couscous or seafood thingys.

additionally, you are probably in the minority when you say that the second glass of wine tastes sour. maybe there are deep, recessed pits in you taste buds, but I would venture to guess that most people don't experience the same sensation. most people don't think that, in general, the first glass tastes okay, but the second glass tastes sour. at least, i have never had that sensation nor has anybody else i have known. if the wine is bad, it is bad from the gitgo.

keep it simple and save yourself the headaches. go to costco, unload on a six pack of $10 chardonnay and another six pack of $10 sauv blanc and two cases of beer. you'll be in good shape.

Mar 23, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Another bringing wine to a restaurnt question, please

legally, if you bought a bottle at a restaurant, the restaurant normally has an on-premise alcohol license meaning they have a license to sell you alcohol for consumption on the premises. very rarely do restaurants have on and off - premise sale licenses. accordingly, if you bought a bottle off the list and the restaurant did not have an off sale license, you technically would not be able to take the bottle home. in most cases, the wait staff and bartenders don't really understand the licensing and legality and would just put it in a bag for you.

in the case of a byo bottle, unless the law restricts byo, you can do anything you want with bottle. personal property.

personally, unless i was walking or taxing, i would not want to run the risk of having an open container in the car even if it were in the trunk.

Mar 22, 2007
waffleman in Wine

oregon wines - columbia river gorge specifically

Check out Syncline. Really nice folks. Really nice Rhone style wines. I don't think they are too far from the Dalles.

Mar 20, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Wine pairing... with hot dogs?

This is actually more complex than you would think. The reason being is that there are so many condiments and stuff that you can dress a hot dog that would completely change the flavor profile your meal.

For example, plain pork byproduct hot dog steamed, boiled or nuked with just bun and dog. Nice, fresh and flavorful. I think I try something like Heidi Schrock Muscat.

Same dog, but butterflied and grilled or just grilled on the bbq. I think I try a basic fruit forward merlot or zin. If merlot, nothing too earthy or tannic. Like garden variety Napa Valley merlot. I'm thinking Rombauer or Whitehall lane. Zin, I'd probably do something that is lower on the alcohol....maybe something away from Amador County.

Add some ketchup and mustard and onion and it's different again. A little sweet, a little spicy. I think I vote for Aussie shirazy. Thorn Clarke Shotfire Ridge works for me here.

Do it with the Sauerkraut and it's all riesling for me. A halbtrocken or a off-dry kabinett. Even a fruity one would be nice. Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett Trocken I think would be really cool.

Chili Cheese Dog. Most people would probably say zin. I say beer, but I can honestly say that I have done this with a 2001 Cask 23. It may not have been the perfect food wine match, but I really enjoyed the dog and I really enjoyed the wine.

Ultimately, though, when you are having a hot dog night, it's really more about the wine than the dog.

Mar 20, 2007
waffleman in Wine

What's your favorite champagne? And a book review. [Moved from Not About Food]

I would encourage you and all to branch out and try the smaller producers than to stick with the big houses. It's like sticking to Mondavi and Beringer for still wine. Sure, you'll get a safe consistent champagne, but there is more exciting stuff out there to be found. Check out Claude Carre, Fleurry or Paul Bara.

Mar 11, 2007
waffleman in Wine

BYOB at Gary Danko?

There really isn't a "standard" markup. Restaurants do what is right for themselves. You should expect see a higher markup and to pay more at a restaurant like Mina or Danko and less at a Macaroni Grill. Even so, most saavy restaurants don't use a categorical margin or markup. You start off with a basic markup and then adjust to market - it's like that in most any business.

For example, on the Mina list, just taking a peek. The 2003 Phelps Insignia is $595. That wine is about $80 wholesale. That wine is $350 at Danko. You probably have a bunch of silly midwesterners stay at the St. Francis hotel, drop by Mina, see the 2003 Insignia (thinking it was the WS WOY) and jump all over it.

There is a cost associated with maintaining a cellar and a sommelier staff - and guess what? the consumer pays that cost. Restaurant people aren't in the business just to feed you and not make a profit.

Would like recommendations on inexpensive Chardonnays

Talbott Kalihart - around $10-12
La Noble Chardonnay - around $8 - 9
Louis Latour Grand Ardeche - around $10

Mar 04, 2007
waffleman in Wine


the name of the enotecca is

Vinoteca 900
Piazza della Coppella 47

very charming place. i asked the enotecca owner to recommend a nice restaurant around there and he suggested

Ristorante Lagana
Via della Orso 44

the meal there was simple and fabulous and the service sincere. not fancy but just good food.

Mar 02, 2007
waffleman in Italy

Michael Mina mediocre experience

Point of my post is that MM and FL are different types of restaurants - and the comparison is unfair. A more appropriate comparison to FL is to the Ritz or Masa's or something along that line. Or for Mina to compare to perhaps, Danko (probably disrespecting Danko here) or Jardinere.

I too was not impressed at Mina nor any of his others that I have been to - more flair than substance and service always tends to be needed to be kicked up several notches.

Michael Mina mediocre experience

Michael Mina and French Laundry are in completely different leagues and they have different atmospheres and levels of execution. It is not fair to the French Laundry for you to expect Mina to give you the same experience. FL has honed it and earned it. Mina is an relatively new restaurant that is currently more glitz than substance IMO.

If you have been to and enjoyed FL, you know should know that immediately walking into Mina that it is a different type of place and it won't be an FL experience. Moreover, I don't think anybody at Mina would claim that it is a FL experience. It's a Mina experience in the big city. Lastly, you have paid a lot more for your meal at FL, close to a grand for the two of you. You were probably out several hundred dollars at Mina (both cases less wine).

Wine sent from France as a gift

take the label off and write "Vinegar" on the bottle with a marker.

Feb 15, 2007
waffleman in Wine

Need a really good wine store in SF

Many of the wines on the WS TOP100 are unattainable in any significant quantity. Even so, if you got a hold of some of them, remember the criteria for being on the Top 100. The criteria takes many things into consideration and current drinkability is generally not one of them.

For example, 01 Casanova di Neri is the number one wine. I have not had the opportunity to taste, but most brunello are best in 10-15 years. You've got 03 Bordeaux on the list like Leoville Barton, Ducru, Pichon Baron, Leoville Poyferre. Shouldn't really touch those for another 10+ years. You won't be able to find more than a bottle or two of Kosta Browne, Sea Smoke, Alban, Quilceda Creek. Even something like #67 $12 Tres Picos Garnacha, you will have difficulty finding.

If you are supplying a wedding, think flavor profile more than "name". Something easy on the palate that all guests will find appealing and drinkable. If you agree with me here, then Costco will do you right. If you want something less common, check out Vintage Wine Merchants in San Jose.

Sunday Supper, mid Feb: Wine Ideas Needed

2005 Nigl Gruner Veltliner Privat or most other GruVe from Krems or Wachau would probably be pretty enticing with the chicken.

Feb 10, 2007
waffleman in Wine

wine importers

Rudiwiest imports a great german wine portfolio. They are at

JJ Prum, Von Buhl, Gunderloch, Schaefer Frohlich and Robert Weil are among those in their portfolio.

Feb 10, 2007
waffleman in Wine