Archive for April, 2012

Damnit Can Can, Think of the Mission!

April 12, 2012

Richmond is lucky to have its own Brasserie. Can Can is lovely, the zinc bar is fun to hang out at, it’s a great pick up joint, the baguettes are good, food is solid…The wine list?  The selections are top notch, esoteric yet crowd pleasing, adventurous in covering lesser known regions and traditional by representing the classics.

There is one thing that Can Can could do better, get rid of their ridiculous wine list markups!

Here is how a restaurant markup generally works (and we all expect to pay a bit more as compared to a retail wine shop) a bottle is purchased at wholesale cost from a distributor (at the same price a retail shop would buy it-Virginia law) then a restaurant marks it up by 3 times.  This markup is accepted because you are paying for that wine to be stored and served.  Richmond has an added  dining tax of 11%. You also pay for restaurant ambience and wine markups help substantiate food costs.

Can Can’s markup is 4 to 5 times the normally accepted average.  This should be unacceptable, hardly even New York City or D.C. tack on that much to wines.

Here are some examples from their online list…

2010 Marcillac “Lo Sang Del Pais” fer servadou (Phillipe Teulier)….34

One of my favorites, I can buy it retail for 12 bucks.  I bet wholesale is around $8.  8 x 3 = 24.

2010 Côtes-du-Rhône Domaine Roger Perrin……42

Entry level, basic lip smacking beauty from Roger Perrin, you can find it for $15 at multiple retail spots.  Probably wholesales for $10.  10 x 3 = 30.

2008 Crozes-Hermitage “Les Galets” Domaine des Haute Chassis……70

Elegant and spicy red from the northern Rhône.  At shops for $25, probably wholesales for $17.  17 x 3 = 51.

2009 Vin de Savoie Jongieux jacquère Eugène Carrel…..34

Crisp, easy sippin and versatile white wine.  Look for it for $10!  Wholesale for perhaps $6-7?  6 x 3 = 18, 7 x 3 = 21!!

2009 Beaujolais Blanc “Terres Dorées” Jean-Paul Brun…..49

Jean-Paul Brun, superstar in all natural Beaujolais.  $16 retail, $11 wholesale.  11 x 3 = 33.

and so on….

Sure, we can ask “Can Can is always packed, why should they tinker with their pricing?” or  say “The space is gorgeous and in a high rent district”, but I bet if they had fair pricing they would move twice as much wine.  Regular folk would be more inclined to try wines from less familiar areas, Can Can wouldn’t sit on over the hill vintages (a lot of their wines should be consumed on the younger side), people would discover wines like Marcillac and open up a whole new world for consumer taste making our little city a sophisticated and wine savvy paradise.

Next time you dine at Can Can, write on the little comment card that they give you with the bill,

“Love your cozy restaurant and your food is swell, but your wine list markup is way too much.” 

Or something to that effect.

Wine and Temperature

April 10, 2012

It is starting to get warm here in Richmond.  What temperature is the glass of wine you are being served?  White wines should be served chilled, not cold (45-50 degrees). Red wines should be served cool, not room temperature (60-65 degrees).   Unfortunately some eating and drinking establishments in our lovely city still think red wines should be served room temperature; room temperature being whatever the hell temperature it happens to be that day (ever try to drink a Loire Valley red that is 80 degrees?).  Fine, delicate wines lose all sense of balance when not poured at the proper temperature, they can taste harsh and out of wack doing a disservice to your taste and your wallet.

The obvious solution is storing all red and white wines in one of those temperature and humidity controlled refrigeration cabinets…

Not always practical in our historically quaint and tiny eateries.  Another option is the even more expensive and cumbersome Enomatic wine dispenser system.

The easiest and most cost effective way to enjoy a correctly cooled red wine is to request an ice bucket for your bottle.  Ten minutes in one of these and your bottle of Bourgueil will be properly balanced and refreshing.  


The best thing a restaurant could do is to dedicate one of their Lowboy refrigerators for red wines.  Just set it on a not-so-cold setting.  They already do that for the whites and roses, they can make room for reds.  

Wouldn’t you rather be served a red wine that is too cold knowing that it will warm up a bit on your table then to be subjected to a hot wine that has been mistreated and disrespected?