A Crack Addict in the Crack Factory

The idea of putting 30 roses on your wine list is really quite absurd…unless you are ready to promote the hell out of rose to your patrons. I assume that’s exactly what Campanile does. For this kind of courage and this kind of contribution to the wine industry they should be given some sort of an award.

I flew down to Los Angeles on Sunday for a meeting on Monday. I’m not an LA kinda-guy. I have friends and a wife that extol the virtues of this place, but I’ve never been able to embrace it outside of my over exuberance for Disneyland. However, it did give me an excuse to spend some time at the Commerce Club where they play low limit poker like it’s a contact sport and where they seem to believe that 10-8 off-suit is a raising hand every single time.

After a few hours of patience and sticking the easiest money I’ve ever won in my pocket, I returned to my hotel to prepare for the Monday meeting. One thing that hadn’t been worked out was what wine to serve those in attendance at the meeting that would occur in the upstairs private room at Campanile the next day. I should have called ahead to work this out, but figured I could easily just pick the wines when I arrived.

When I did arrive the next day early enough to look over the room and pick the wines, I was confronted with a beautiful wine list that did include the previously mentioned 30 different roses from around the world. It took longer than I planned to pick the wine because it turned out a NUMBER of those roses were being poured by the glass and it just would not have been right to not taste though…a few.

For those who have been reading FERMENTATION long enough, you know I love rose. So, to be confronted with more than the 1 or 2 deep red, fruity California versions and the obligatory Domaine Tempier on a wine menu is something of delight for me. But 30 roses? That’s like asking a crack addict to work in the crack factory.

I did not get a chance to meet Campanile’s wine buyer. But I can make some assumptions them. They certainly must understand the benefit of matching their wine selections to the climate they live in, a context not always considered by those who build wine menus. They also must have an over abundance of love for the pink wines among us. They have a strong personality that can stand up to an owner’s push back that surely sounds something like this: "What the F*ck are you doing putting 30 roses on my God Damned wine list?!!" And, they likely enjoy being able to look someone in the eye and say, "see, I told you so!" as their project looks back up at them from the glass and says, "wow….that IS great!" (the last trait is probably a character flaw, but if it helps get 30 Roses on a wine list who am I to criticize.


7 Responses

  1. Erika Strum - September 25, 2007

    I was thinking the same thing about the climate as I read. A bold move though. I wonder how many patrons are still scared to order Rose, despite its prevalence on the list.

  2. Jill - September 25, 2007

    Campanile is one of the best restaurants in the city, wine-wise. Their pedigree includes the likes of Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non, as well as the owners of Silverlake Wine and countless other folks around the LA restaurant and wine scene. The list is always great, and priced incredibly well. My guess is that Chef/Owner Mark Peel is 100% on board with his wine buyer, and that little resistance was met when the rosés were proposed. Additionally, the list changes with frequency so this is probably somewhat seasonal.
    Tom, next time you’re in LA give me a shout. If you make it on Thursday night, I’ll take you to the famous Grilled Cheese night at Campanile. My office is right down the street. Wish I knew you were there…

  3. dfredman - September 26, 2007

    Jay Perrin is the current genius behind the wine list at Campanile. As Jill mentioned, Manfred Krankl started the restaurant’s march to pink wine domination many years ago; he was ably followed by George Cossette (now the proprietor of Silverlake Wine) and then David Rosoff (presently holding court at Mozza) before Jay came over from Patina.
    I attended a Slow Food dinner at Campanile on Sunday night and among wines being served was the Elizabeth Spencer Rosé. As expected, it worked quite well with the food.

  4. David Vergari - September 26, 2007

    Mr. Fredman,
    Here I am, in Sebastopol, up to my arse in grapes and you get to dine at Campanile? It’s just not fair. BTW, I understand that Rod Bonios joined Mozza not too long ago from Capo. Don’t know what David Rosoff is up to. Gotta run. Sugars are down, flavors are up.

  5. Jill - September 27, 2007

    David Rosoff is the GM of Mozza. He oversees everything, not just the wine. He’s definitely still there (and his wine list, when he was at Opaline — no defunct — was terrific. One of the things that got me really interested in wine in the first place).

  6. David Vergari - September 29, 2007

    Thank you.

  7. Les Kincaid - October 17, 2007

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