Hello, I've always had it in my mind that when presenting Old World wines, the way the verbiage sequence when introducing the bottle to the guest was:
"Producer, Appellation, (Variety if Stated on Bottle), Vintage"
I am having some doubts as to presenting this new producer (but old world) bottle: Donnafugata, Mille E Una Notte, Sicily, 2012 (mix of Nero d'Avola, Pertit Verdot, Syrah etc)
Appellation: Contessa Entellina DOC
... So should I present it as "Donnafugata, Contessa Entellina. 2012" - just that not many are aware of Contessa Entellina DOC and it is NOT stated on the bottle (I had to look it up).
Also, "Mille E Una Notte" is the Fantasy Name stated on the bottle, is it usual not to say out the Fantasy Name? Thanks.
Mille E Una Notte is important, because it could distinguish this bottling from other bottlings by the producer.
Im not in service (and would be happy to be corrected if I am giving incorrect advice), but I would say, "2012 Donnafugata Contessa Entellina, Mille E una Note". If a guest had any questions about the name, I would explain what each meant.
As a somm, your job is not to recite origins of old world wines or new world wines, vintages or even producers. By the time you're bringing a bottle to the table, you'd hope that the buyer already kind of knows what they're getting. Our job is to a) offer enough background about that wine to make our guests feel special about their choice b) describe just enough to invite them to ask more questions about it (if they feel so inclined) and c) be prepared with the knowledge of the producer/appelation/cuvee/vintage etc to express your passion to they extent that they want to buy another bottle from you on this or a future visit.
Don't be an order taker or a recording machine. Share your passion!
Hello Maria, You are correct, that typically you want to state the producer, appellation, vintage, and variety (if applicable) when presenting a bottle tableside. The reason behind this approach is more practical than theoretical. Your primary objective at this moment is to confirm, to the best of your ability, that your are opening the correct bottle. If that means stating information in addition to the basics (producer, appellation, vintage, and variety) to confirm the selection, then by all means include this information. In your example, if the DOC isn't on the bottle or list, it is far better to highlight the name "Mille E Una Notte" and correctly confirm the selection, than to recite a DOC, and open the wrong bottle!
It's easy to lose sight of the fact that these standards exist to help you and your guest confirm that you are both on the same page. I would worry less about checking off "theoretical service boxes" and more about making sure that you are as certain, as is humanly possible, that you are opening and pouring exactly what the guest ordered. In the long run, you will glad you did!
I hope this helps!
Although I agree that you should not be a robot reciting boring facts about a wine, repeating what a guest has ordered in full is of the utmost important. Your guest should know what they ordered, but they don't always, or maybe you heard incorrectly. If you confirm the vintage and wine to the guest before opening, it protects you from a costly returned bottle, or a guest from drinking something that they did not want.
Agreed, confirming the specifics of the order, one last time, with the bottle there, is essentially required.
Thank you so very much!
Also I love that Moreau-Naudet Chablis in your pic and sold a lot of it this summer. But I did hear of Stephane's premature passing which is very sad. Nonetheless, thanks again for your insights!
I think this is easily solved by thinking of what kind of interaction you would want to have when you're on the other side sitting in the dining room being waited on. Let's say you order a bottle of 2014 Sassicaia. Would you really want the server to come up to you and say "Here is your Tenuta San Guido, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, Sassicaia, 2014" or would you be totally fine with them saying, "Here's your 2014 Sassicaia." I think the first example just seems silly, and I think this wine from Donnafuata presents itself in the same way. "Donnafugata Mille e Una Notte, (Vintage)" will work perfectly fine when showing the bottle to the guest and I guarantee no one will feel slighted by not being told the DOC that isn't printed on the bottle or on your wine list.
I feel the same! "Mille e Una Notte" means A Thousand and One Nights and discussion can definitely ensue about the producers' fascination with the Arabian folktales arts etc... It's a fantasy within a Fantasy Name so to speak and I'll be sure not to waste the opportunity as a conversation piece, thanks!