HMGT 2402 – E553 
Wine List Analysis
Wine, by definition, is an alcoholic drink that is typically made using fermented grapes, in which it has a combination of fermentable sugars, high acidity, flavor, and liquid content, resulting in a complex beverage that plays an enormous role within the hospitality industry. As cost for beverages tends to be pricier than the cost of ingredients, and wine is made individually with countless variation in wine components, wine is a fascinating topic to learn and explore into, getting an idea and taste of the many wines that originate from various parts of the world. Wine is typically prevalent within the fine-dining restaurant business, where wine lists are provided as soon one enters the restaurant. However, one may not be too familiar with wines, without proper knowledge regarding the types of wines, it may be difficult to select which wine to pick alongside your meal at the restaurant. For this reason, I want to compare the wine list of various restaurants, and research on the wines individually to get a better view and understanding of the various wines that are more than just “red wines” and “white wines”.
Beginning at Café Boulud, a French fine-dining restaurant located at 20 East 76th street, Upper East Side in New York City that is owned and operated by a French celebrity chef and restaurateur, Daniel Boulud. This fine-dining restaurant will be compared to P.J Clarke’s, a casual-dining restaurant that strives to deliver “fresh food, frosty drinks and good, old-fashioned conversation”.
Café Boulud’s Prix Fixe Menu (as it was the only online menu shows their wines) lists their distinctive wines that are quite limited but simple, as “Sommelier Selections”, with their full wine list that is available adjacent to Café Boulud, Bar Pleiades. Prices can range from as low as $12, with the highest as $40. There are only 2 options that can be picked if one orders from the Prix Fixe menu. The options are: Domaine Estelle Muscadet Sèvre Et Maine, Loire 2016, and the Jean Francois Gras Côtes Du Rhône, Rhone 2016.
As for P.J Clarkes (more specifically, the Third Avenue location of New York City), the wine list (listed under “drinks” on the website) is very plentiful, straightforward, and organized by that the drinks are categorized, ranging from sparkling, both white and red wines, to beer beverages, compared to Café Boulud’s quite confusing wine list and options. P.J Clarke’s offer a selection of white and red wines ether “By The Glass” or “By The Bottle”. A first impression upon viewing the wine lists was that there is a plentiful amount of options for both red and white wines, alongside sparkling and rose beverages.
Comparing and contrasting Café Boulud’s wine list to P.J Clarke’s wine list, both lists are similar by that both are options for white and red wines, obviously. In addition, both wine lists have the full information on the wines by name, grape variety, origin, and vintage of the wines. However, how are both wine lists different from each other? For one, how the wines are categorized and organized. Café Boulud’s wine list (besides the wine list from Bar Pleiades, as they co-exist within The Surrey hotel) is simpler, but too limited in what specific red or white wine is available. Generally, it is quite confusing to know the full wine list without going to the wine list of Bar Pleiades. P.J Clarkes, on the other hand, is clearer towards the customer, and more organized as the types of beverages (including wine) are sorted by category, such as red wines being listed less than one category in the wine list.
In conclusion, wine beverages are very prevalent in the fine-dining restaurant scene, as there are many fascinating variations of wine that pairs well with select appetizers and entrees. From the grape variety, origin, and vintage, there are a vast amount of wines to taste for your dinner. However, without the proper knowledge regarding wines, one may be confused on how wine is categorized, how to tell if a wine is red or white, and what types of food pair well with said wine. In addition, how a wine list is presented to the customer is crucial to help the customer understand what wines are available to choose from and what type of wines are there. A long list or just a section of a menu, and what information is presented on the wine list is what makes a wine list a make-or-break towards newcomers to wine or wine-enthusiasts.
– Nickles, J. (2020). 2020 Certified Specialist of Wine Study Guide. Washington, DC: Society of Wine Educators .
– Café Boulud: Classic French Cuisine: Upper East Side, New York. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cafeboulud.com/nyc/
– P.J. Clarke’s Restaurant and Bar: Third Ave. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://pjclarkes.com/location/third-avenue/