I’ve got to pre-order wines for a birthday dinner for 15 at the Wild Rabbit in the Cotswolds in a couple of weeks.
Here’s the list:
The mark-ups aren’t too awful but it’s not a very inspiring selection, particularly for the reds. I’d like to keep below £60/bottle although I’m tempted to go to £65 for the Crystallum chard.
What would you choose? We’re having canapés, smoked salmon (w beetroot and creme fraiche), beef fillet w red wine sauce, and mango/passionfruit pavlova. (the menu is lacking in imagination too although that’s partly to keep it crowd-pleasing)
We can bring our own but (a) not sure I can be bothered having put a lot of effort into the last one of these I did and (b) it’s £30 corkage which doesn’t look that different to the mark-up on most of these. I suppose I could supply 6 red to address the shortcomings there but order the rest off the list.
Edit: my comment about reasonable mark-ups does not apply to the Segla at £125. You can almost get a whole case for that!
Can you pay corkage and bring some reds? Agree re: Agnes; that’s the tempting bottle there.
If you’re supplying fizz it would surely be worth taking your own.
I’d be sorely tempted to supply my own throughout but if your friends are not that fussed about their wine the Soave would be my choice.
Platter’s Guide 2023 says of “The Blend” from Gabrielskloof, which would be a good match for the beef.
“Classic varieties, cab sauv, cab franc, malbec and petit verdot matured 18 mths in seasoned oak & released after 3 years, [the] 2019 90/100 plush blackberry fruit flavours & swirling spice, all trimmed . . . . with tannins necessary for ageing at a bargain price. What’s not to like?”
I would go for the Pieropan Soave and The Blend by Gabrielskloof.
Given you’re catering for 15, I would also take a a couple of magnums of The Society’s Champagne - would be cheaper even with corkage than the equivalent number of ESW or the Champagne on the list.
Never impressed when expensive/aspirational places have wine lists with multiple typos.
And I think I’d want to know a bit more about that Argentine red before I was prepared to part with £60 for it
(Agree re the Pieropan and Gabrielskloof btw.)
Honestly ? I would go for the two house bottles from La Mancha. Verdejo is a crowd pleaser - fruity / grapefruity / unoaked and the Grenache will be ripe and fruity and easy drinking, it might have seen a bit of oak for a few months. But depends on how snobby / knowledgeable your guests are I suppose.
The only reason I don’t necessarily recommend that is that I’d like to taste them first. I agree, both could be good crowd pleasers, but the slightly more generic denominations make me a bit dubious. Castilla la Mancha is also hotter and drier than Castilla y León, and doesn’t quite have the terroir for Garnacha that the Aragón or Navarra DOs (which are also very affordable) have.
Pay corkage @ £30 a bottle. Those markups are 2 to 3 x which is robbery - I appreciate that the restaurant needs to stay afloat but that is taking the p… especially the rubbish red wine selection.
And then… buy TWS ESW, Pierropan Soave from TWS, some Beaujolais, Baron de brane 2016 to finish. Which might cost the same as the restaurant list but you KNOW will be decent.
I went to a pretty good restaurant on Sunday night that had Beaume Greves…
Corkage at £30 a bottle!!! Such a cheek!!
Excessive mark-up on an uninspiring selection, but corkage at potentially more than a decent bottle? An difficult decision.
Do restaurants add a service charge to corkage, I wonder?
About 3x is fairly standard now isn’t it?
Next month is our 50th WA so I have booked a very good Mayfair resturant. I could not belive that on a Monday evenings they charge on corkage. For this wonderful evening I am taking for my wife 2021 Domaine Ott Bandol 2021 and for me Penfolds 389 2012. What a saving should be quite a night.
I was trying to keep my Yorkshire mouth shut …mwahahaha …
This enthusiastic discussion makes the most recent email from WS marketing “let our staff take the strain with their pick of great bottles to pour” particularly ill-timed. Their marketing seems very badly targeted.
I’ve never paid more than £32 for Segla which makes the markup on that one closer to 4x and it’s a bit of a cheek the way it’s listed making it look like it might be the Rauzan Segla first wine.
Re the corkage. If it’s £30 that’s actually still less than their markup on the more expensive wines.
Thank you all for excellent advice. The Segla mark-up is definitely outrageous and significantly more than most of the other bottles - pretty sharp practice, relying on people being duped by the name, presumably. Otherwise I think 2-3* mark-up is pretty reasonable, ripped-off Londoner that I am. But I am a bit narked by £30 corkage.
I think I’ll mix and match - TWS for the fizz and red, and either the Soave or the Chardonnay. They have helpfully said I can get the wine delivered straight to the venue, which is good as I was planning to go by train.
Will report back on the choice of red - Baron de Brane is a pretty good option, thank you @lapin_rouge.
I’ve got a feeling this one will.