What, no Merlot or Chardonnay? This is the cry of Mitch Frank, writing in Wine Spectator, who's fed up with sommeliers who populate their selfish wine lists with nothing but esoteric "goodies for geeks". What's so wrong with wine lists of yore that offered breadth and depth, mingling the classics and the comforts along with the new hot things?
For Frank, many of these geeky wine lists (though he doesn't name names) are more about serving the sommelier and what s/he likes rather than what the customer wants. He states, "Many sommeliers would rather offer a list with less than 40 wines that says, 'Look at what I know!'"
Frank's conclusion? "Give me a big, old wine list stuffed with reliable fan favorites any day. Yeah, I'll have to flip through a lot of pages to find what I'm looking for. But I'll also know I'm someplace where the wine director cares about his customers." Ouch. That is colder than a bottle of no-sulfur extended skin contact Jura Savagnin straight out of an ice bucket in Antarctica.
When you go out to eat, do you want to be challenged/excited by the discoveries and particular passions of a sommelier? Or do you take pleasure in knowing what you want will be available without having to experiment with the unknown?