A recent article by Alfonso Cevola excoriated some new trendy wine lists for neglecting classic great wines not on trend. Chianti was one of the regions on Mr. Cevola’s mind. While the tone of the article may have been somewhat too aggressive against the trend to create new exploratory lists I do agree that certain fashionable lists have lost sight of great and truly important regions that remain good value.
While by no means ‘cheap’, Flaccianello is fair value for the quality of the wine and the consistency and transparency year to year. It is one of the greatest expressions of Sangiovese in the world and priced equivalent to many fairly mediocre Napa Cabs and Bordeaux reds.
The central theme of Cevola’s article is that trend-lists miss the core purpose of dining out: seamless service that facilitates the camaraderie of dining with others. For me, a bad wine list is one that puts ego, philosophy or trend first over the experience of the guest. It is the hospitality industry after all. Focusing on the guest takes tremendous effort, time, repetition and humility. You have to understand all your customers and their varying preferences, link that up with your food and your business model, and understand the context of each meal. This is why great service is both so rare and so inspiring and professional when encountered.
Flaccianello is not a trendy wine. It is simply one of the great classic super Tuscans from one of Italy’s best estates. It’s amazing with steak. The 2012, though young, is open and delicious – offering potent structure with deeply pure and concentrated fruit. It’s the kind of wine that belongs on many wine lists at restaurants where any form of red meat and bitter vegetables is involved.
Excellent to Excellent+
$126 + tax at BCLDB (older vintages are around for $105-$110)