Sunday, February 23, 2014

The French Laundry Wine List Deconstructed

Not that I surprise you but my little exercise in deconstructing The French Laundry wine list  may help with planning your trip there. This word cloud is from the wine list offered by the restaurant (available here):
It includes expressions parsed from the wine names. Terms that occur less than 5 times were excluded.

Wine names usually do not include varietal, country, appellation, and other standard designations. But some exceptions do occur, so below is the same cloud with top exceptions removed:
Apparently, Domain de la Romanee-Conti is a big winner for Head Sommelier Dennis Kelly. This estate in Burgundy produces some of the world's most expensive bottles of wine.

What vintages are in favor at The French Laundry today?
I did hear that 2010 was a great vintage in California. Is it really American wines that contribute to 2010 success? Next 6 vintage clouds are by country:
Indeed, 2010 is popular in USA today, but so is in France, Germany and Austria. Noticeably, sommelier favors 1996, 2004, 2006 in Italy, 1994, 2004, 2005 in Spain, 2005 and 2009 in France, 1996, 2004, 2006 in Italy.

And, finally, let's see wine price histogram:
Selection peaks around $150 to $200, with plenty of choices in $250 to $500 range still. In case you started to worry, I removed wines with price tag above $2000 to improve this chart: there are plenty to choose above $2000, especially the wines from Domaine de la Romanee-Conti.

P.S. Found nothing worth trying or prices are too high? Feel free to bring your own bottle of wine keeping in mind restaurant's published corkage fee policy: "Guests are welcome to bring wines that are not represented on our wine list; however there will be a fee of $150 for each 750ml bottle with a limit of one bottle for every two guests at the table."

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