Growing trend for seasonal wine lists

Wine lists at innovative restaurants are becoming ever more seasonal in nature, reflecting both the time of year and what’s on the menu.

10 Cases

Wines of the day at The 10 Cases in Covent Garden are scrawled on sheets of brown paper and crossed out when they run out

In London, at wine-centric venues like The 10 Cases, The Quality Chop House, Sager + Wilde and Noble Rot, what’s in your glass is considered equally as important as what’s on your plate.

The emergence and now dominance of casual dining venues in the capital has ushered in a new wave of micro wine lists, some fitting on a single page, to match their venue’s similarly minimalist food offering.

It’s interesting that wine lists have been able to get away with being fixed rather than fluid for so long, but things are starting to change.

Michael Sager believes in small wine lists with personality

Michael Sager believes in small wine lists with personality

“It’s important to have ever changing content, like an art gallery. You’re the gatekeeper so you decide what you want to put on show,” Michael Sager of Sager + Wilde told db.

“There’s so much beauty in a concise list if it’s done right. There’s not a single wine I wouldn’t want to order now and definitely no fillers. There are only so many wines you can truly care about at one time,” he added.

Ian Campbell of The 10 Cases in Covent Garden takes a foodie approach to his wine selection, only ever buying ten cases of each of the wines he lists to keep his ever-evolving offering fresh and exciting.

In the US, Taylor Parsons, wine director at République in West Hollywood stocks over 2,000 wines but only ever shows diners a cherry-picked page of 75 labels that changes daily based on the restaurant’s daily market menu.

At the bottom of the page it states that the list changes daily and advises diners to speak to the sommelier if they have something specific in mind they’d like to drink.

“We really want people to get out of the mode of ‘I only drink this one thing. We try to force their hand with cues,” Parson told Punch magazine. “It’s an important statement to not have three or four Cabernets on the list. We still have them, but the cue is that you should be drinking other stuff.

République in West Hollywood has a daily changing one-page wine list

République in West Hollywood has a daily changing one-page wine list

“I don’t understand why a wine list needs to list every single thing on the menu. There is still a lot of ‘bigger is better’ thinking out there,” he added.

Sabra Lewis, wine director at Günter Seeger in New York has devised a carte du jour of 100 wines from an 800-bottle inventory, which she selects based on the dishes on Seeger’s daily changing tasting menu.

The aim is for the carte du jour to stand alone as a complete offering, with whites and light reds headlining during the summer months and heavier reds populating the list in winter.

Given the level of innovation and ever-evolving menus crafted from seasonal ingredients at many of the globe’s most exciting restaurants today, a static wine bible that remains unchanged will no longer fly.

Sommeliers are being forced to wake up to the fact that their wine choices should reflect both the time of year and the ingredients being used by the chef at the time.

The seasonal wine trend is also growing in the off-trade. Last month, Bordeaux born, London-based Charlotte Calvet launched an online wine retailer inspired by the fashion world’s use of seasonal collections.

Called Garmence, the online ‘wine studio’ is divided into Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter ‘capsule collections’. With small seasonal collections, Calvet is aiming to simplify the often perplexing task of choosing from reams of similar looking wines online.

An in-depth look at innovative wine lists in London appears in the August issue of the drinks business, out now.

One Response to “Growing trend for seasonal wine lists”

  1. Brett Jones says:

    Theo Randall’s restaurant in the Intercontinental Hotel offers a good seasonal wine list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters