Interview with the Sommelier

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Bundled up in rustic, traditional basement, more than 300 wines from the major producing regions of the world, meticulously chosen options in different price ranges and quality to harmonize with the dishes of the menu.


Interview with Gaspar Vianna

Having just been awarded as one of the best wineries in the country, the "Guia 4 Rodas", the Farm of vines received the magazine's Editor-in-Chief "Wine Magazine", who was surprised to find a wine list so peculiar, out of a great city like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.
The conversation between them, turned into an interview, which is reproduced below.

Interviewer: I see that the Charter of Farm Restaurant Wine of vines is divided into three volumes. Why that?
G. Vianna: In fact, our Wine List is divided into three volumes: the first, only for red wines (100 pages); the second for white, rosé and sparkling wines (68 pages); and the third for appetizer and dessert wines (16 pages). In all, 184 pages. An amount that can even scare. But only at first glance. The division in these three volumes has a purpose: to facilitate customer consultation, making it easy, objective and nice. It seems to me that this division also becomes necessary due to the volume of information.

Interviewer: I've never seen, not even in the pool, a wine list with many information about a wine. This is not an exaggeration?
G. Vianna: Maybe it. But I'd rather err on the side of information and not for their lack. The consumer of wine, like any other consumer, also needs to be respected. Provide adequate and clear information about the different products offered for sale is far more than a positive business strategy or proper conduct of sale. It is a legal obligation of the entire restaurant.
So it's a disrespect to the Consumer Protection Law - Law 8.078 of 1990 - just stamp the wine's name, in English, French or Italian, and then release the price of wine. It is not honest, it's not fair, turn choosing a wine in a decision blindly, on a hunch. Preferred, then, with respect to my client consumer of wine, provide appropriate and clear manner all information I have about the product I'm selling. So my Wine List informs country and wine region of origin, name of wine, grape (s), producer, wine body (if it is full-bodied, has medium body and is light) as well as crops available and harmonization recommended with the dishes of the menu.
In addition to the essential information even present relevant information such as the alcohol content of each crop and highlight, with an icon, crops classified as exceptional (price equivalent to 10) and excellent (price equivalent to 9). And more - almost all of our wines are classified into four categories: exceptional wine (five stars, median 100/94), excellent wine (four stars, median 93/88), good wine (three stars median 87/83) and acceptable wine (two stars median 82/70).

Interviewer: So you present your opinion on the quality of each of the wines offered?
G. Vianna:. Not in any case the classification of a wine is the author's opinion of the Wine Charter or a single sommelier, oenophile or wine critic. The notes of Robert Parker can be cited, but not decide on the quality of a wine. Only use evaluations, ratings or awards resulting from blind tastings and collective, promoted by reputable institutions (sommeliers associations and specialized national and international journals). Whenever possible, alongside the classification is stamped to the tasters Tasting Notes. Only then, after this set of information, the Charter sets out the price corresponding to the harvest of each of the wines. So there is a set of information that some may find it exaggerated, but who want can always see only what interests you, or even solely the price.
In fact, when choosing a wine, every customer looks for the right column, ie, the column price. And so often it happens a revolt because the price charged is often higher than triple the price at which the same wine is sold in a supermarket. Do not you think a rule restaurants charge too expensive for the wine?
Indeed, there is overkill. Charge more than 100% profit for a young and popular wine of the latest harvest and which can be found on the shelf of any supermarket, is in fact an exorbitant. You need to pay the cost of the service sommelier and waiters, the crystal glasses that break and cellar electricity. Still nothing justifies a margin of as high profit to pay a simple wine, light, prepared for immediate consumption. As a consumer, I feel attacked and usually never return to a restaurant that does not respect me as a consumer.
Now, this does not apply to the price charged by a structured wine, guard, which requires a long maturation in cellar. A wine kept in cellar for ten years or more, for example, means a capital that has been invested and is immobilized for years! How to pay him, but adding value to the product? A special wine, a rare crop, exhausted, is like an antique piece and should be understood as such. It is clear that may have a construction price series, found on any shelf. It is a relic, a jewel And there is the risk of this rarity be lost: to open the bottle, the wine may prove decrepit or totally damaged. Therefore, the Charter of honest wines observe a balanced profit margin, which for the composition of the final price of a wine come variables such as the nature, quality and harvest of wine and Average turnaround time invested capital.
To summarize: at one extreme we find the light wines for immediate consumption and therefore more recent vintages and easily found in the importers, specialty shops and supermarkets - which must be sold at a reduced profit margin. At the other extreme there are the rare wines, structured, crops already exhausted, requiring long guard in wine cellar and are already existent for sale on importers.

Interviewer: Please exemplifies better, from the Charter of Farm Wines of vines.
G. Vianna: As you know, international practice in restaurants, even in old world countries, such as Italy, Portugal and Spain, revolves around a profit margin of around 100% for all wines, with little variation for More or less. In our restaurant, however, we practice a much more pronounced variation. Thus, a popular, lightweight wine for immediate consumption, as a Bardolino Italian, costs a maximum of 40% (forty percent) more than the market price. Already keeps wine prices will increase as stay longer in the cellar. So a Première Gran Cru Classe Bordeaux Rouge's exceptional vintage 1990, which is an antiquarian rarity, cost the consumer a higher overprice to 100% of their original purchase price. Except for the extreme, we often work with on average a fee of around 75% (seventy five percent). There is therefore another feature of our Wine List: the option by a margin of variable and balanced profit.

Interviewer: In the introduction of its Wine List, you say that it was drawn up on the concern to meet many quality requirements and at the same time, to respect the purchasing power of all customers. As such philosophy becomes real?
G. Vianna: Simple: have wines for all. Only 16% of our wines are five-star, 37% of wines are four-star and 47% for wines are distributed in wines with three stars, two stars or whose classification not found.
Interviewer: In addition to preparing the wine list, what should be the role of the sommelier?
Question timely. I am forced again to cite the Consumer Protection Act. It emphasizes the right of the consumer to be oriented with exemption on the choice you want to make, among the different products offered. Therefore, it is the obligation of every restaurant that offer wines have a sommelier in the hall ready to advise clients on the choice of wine that best suits their possessions and requirements.
Regrettably, however, in many restaurants, the sommelier gets very low, symbolic salary, but their pay is handsomely complemented by a percentage of the wines it sells. So it's understandable that he dedicate the best of their efforts to suggest the most expensive wine, although inadequate to the dish chosen by the customer or the higher price he would pay. This is regrettable, contrary to professional ethics and the law. Worse, it makes a lot of people end up rejecting the sommelier help in the lounge. Whenever consulted, the sommelier must have as a rule of conduct offer at least three (3) customer service and wine options: one economic, the other medium cost and high cost. Discreetly, he should show the Charter the printed price of each of the wines suggested. Require that, as is your right. After all, the role of sommelier in the hall is to help the consumer of wine and not embarrass him.

Interviewer: There are many restaurants, even highlighted as the best in their specialty, which does not offer customers wine in half bottle and not even the glass. What do you think?
G. Vianna: Imagine a couple in a restaurant that does not offer wine in half bottle. The husband chooses to eat a lamb chop and women prefer a light fish in butter, like a trout au beurre noir. The couple called the sommelier and asks which wine he indicates to harmonize with the dishes. The correct would indicate to him a half-bottle of red wine full-bodied and she and a half-bottle of a light white wine. However, anxious to sell wine, and not lose the commission, he makes a juggling and suggests a bottle of a light red or a full-bodied white. In other words, he proposes a "disharmony". The reality is that most wineries do not like to pack wines in half-bottle. Almost all importers avoid bringing such bottles. And they find great restaurants fail to offer them. Thus, the silent pact of disrespect to the consumer is established and, in most cases, makes it sure to drink wine. Farm in the Vines restaurant decided to vigorously prestige half-bottles of offers (375 ml) and baby bottles (one cup or 187 ml) on the market. For us, the consumer client has the right to take the amount of wine you want. In bowl, our highlight is the 10 appetizer wine and dessert.

Interviewer: How many wines have the three volumes of his wine list?
G. Vianna: It is an ever-changing number. To answer it, proceeded to a count now (December / 2008). The total number of chart corresponds to 335 wine labels, and 188 red wines, 95 white wines, rosés 6, 16 sparkling wines and champagnes and 30 appetizer and dessert. The merits are wines from 14 countries and 52 wine regions. Countries with greater supply of wines correspond to demand: are the French (the specialty of the restaurant is French food) and Chile and Argentina. We work with 19 importers and 6 domestic producers.

Interviewer: These wines are all in a cellar? It is a wine cellar?
G. Vianna: Yes, it's a wine cellar of course, in the style of secular European wineries. The cellars with artificial air conditioning, electrical, are necessary only when staying in places of hot weather or subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations - which is not the case with the Valley of the Vines.
The Wine List of Finance of vines has been subsequently ranked among the best in the country, in analyzes conducted by specialized magazines. It stands out for rare wines or the expensive wines?
Surely, neither one thing nor the other. Probably the greatest merit of our Wine List is to respect the customer, offering information relevant to the choice of wine that will consume. In this, I am sure, are champions. Another merit: the determined priority for cost-effective champions in all price ranges. I think that's where it stands. The Farm of vines drink up a five-star wine for less than two hundred euros and a four star for less than a hundred euros. Our letter is priceless wines less than 10 euros, but also do not have any wine with price greater than 500 euros. With see, we avoid the extremes, very expensive wines and very cheap.

Interview in September 2008.