WINE, ETC. - Restaurateur expands his customers' palates



Jery Pellegrino, co-owner and occasional chef at Corks restaurant in Baltimore, has an interesting philosophy for composing wine lists. If a particular wine is selling well, he replaces it.

"We had some Sonoma-Cutrer chardonnay and it was selling really well," he said. "So I took it off the list."

In what must be the oddest twist on wine list, Mr. Pelligrino is hellbent on steering customers away from popular labels. By denying them their customary favorites, he encourages them to try unusual grape varieties or at least obscure producers of familiar grape varieties. For instance, you won't find on his extensive wine list KendallJackson's Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay even though it's the best-selling restaurant chardonnay. Ask for a recommendation and you may get Kalin Semillon instead.

Open only six months, this small Federal Hill restaurant that boasts of "non-stuffy fine dining" concentrates exclusively on domestic wine. All of the wines are priced $11 over wholesale cost, an amount determined to give the owners an average profit and the customer a good deal. There are great wines on the list for less than $20.

The practice of offering good, unusual wines applies to the wine-by-the-glass program too. Four red wines from Marietta, including the jammy Old Vines Lot 20, were being offered the night we were there.

Corks also offers wine dinners and wine appreciation classes. To get on a mailing list, call (410) 752-3810.


Published 10/15/97, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
Copyright 1997
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

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