Tuesday tidbits 56: Restaurant wine lists, Aussie wine prices, the British and rose

? Finding values on restaurant lists: Anyone who doubts that the New York Times ? Eric Asimov is one of the great wine writers of his generation should read this piece on restaurant wine lists, which discusses how to find value among the over-priced and bloated lists that too many restaurants use. Writes Asimov: ?At the very least a good list needs to give bottom dwellers something to grab hold of and enjoy, that will make them feel welcomed, not just tolerated. ? That ?s a better, truer sentence than 99 percent of the wine writers of the world ? including all the famous ones — will ever write.

? Australian wine prices: How does a 30 percent drop sound? That ?s the estimate from Fosters Growers Liaison Group chairman Dennis Mills. He added that non-contracted chardonnay grapes ? that is, fruit that growers don ?t have a customer for before they harvest it — will be impossible to sell. I ?ve been following this closely, and I ?m going to make some phone calls myself. If prices collapse for Aussie wine, it will put downward pressure on wine prices in the rest of the world ? starting with cheap wine, but not limited to it.

? British women love U.S. rose: Sales of rose from California have risen 17 percent in Great Britain this year, and women have been the big audience, according to a Nielsen survey. The surge in rose sales helped the U.S. overtake France as the second-biggest wine region in the British market (behind Australia). The story doesn ?t discuss why the British have taken to rose, and doesn ?t say if rose includes white zinfandel. If it does include the latter, the numbers are even more interesting.

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