I'm totally with him on some points. For example, why are some restaurants stingy about giving you a taste of a particular wine when you're trying to decide which one to order? I mean, especially if the wine is sold by the glass, offering a small taste seems like a no-brainer.
And obviously, up-selling (pushing the customer toward the most expensive wine regardless of whether it's the best choice for the meal) is counterproductive.
No more obscene markups? Right on! (Though I still find myself paying eight or nine bucks per glass of certain wines that I know I could get for only $10 or $15 per bottle in the liquor store. Note to newbies: a bottle holds around five glasses.)
I don't agree on one thing Haskel says, though. Under the title "The wine list should mirror the theme of the restaurant," he opines: "I know I am in a restaurant that has not taken the wine list seriously, when the food menu is; for example Roman, and the wine selections are from Chile, New Zealand, and France."
Look, it may just be that our wine options are limited in Tennessee, but sometimes the best pairing available is not from the same country that inspired the food. And Nashville is unlikely to ever get a New Zealand or Australian restaurant, so should restaurants eschew wines from from those regions?
Haskel does concede that "menus that have international scope allow for an international wine list." So a menu must be global if a restaurant wants the ability to browse the best wines from around the world? I wonder if Haskel is displaying bias toward European wines.
What do you think restaurants need to work on when it comes to wine?