2012 Redux: Corkage, What Restaurants Get Wrong, What Needs to Change

Palate Press has selected our top ten stories from 2012 and will publish a 2012 Redux article each weekday until January 4, 2013. These stories highlight our featured columnists, widely recognized contributors, and most popular works published through the year. The Palate Press editorial board hopes you enjoy these highlights as we look forward to bringing you the best stories for your palate in 2013.

[box] Editor’s Note: $50 to open a bottle of wine? Monthly columnist Evan Dawson tries to broker a deal between restaurants and consumers, and elicits some interesting comments from both sides of the debate. –Tom Mansell, Science Editor[/box]

I defy you to check out the wine list at the white-hot LA restaurant Sotto and not salivate.  (That is, unless you’re Steve Cuozzo, the easily and proudly stultified critic for the New York Post. Steve would find this horribly snobbish and over his head. Fortunately, you’re not Steve.  This is a wine list put together with a beautiful mission: to pair seamlessly with the cuisine, to offer new explorations for diners, to inspire new understanding of Italian wine.

(Full disclosure: Sotto’s Wine Director, Jeremy Parzen, is a good friend. But only because I first respected his wine knowledge and blogging.)

Now, imagine dining at Sotto with a group of friends. You peruse the wine list—and then you notice your friend smirking as he pulls a bottle out of a brown paper bag. He didn’t warn you that he was going to bring his own and pay the corkage fee. That might be annoying enough, but then you notice that the bottle is Two Buck Chuck.

This has actually happened. Now try to imagine how people like Parzen feel; these are people who have spent many hours carefully building a wine list that is special. And a customer brings TBC.


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