Monday, February 11, 2008

The Little Rascal

Last week while tasting with one of my favorite accounts (an Italian restaurant with great pasta dishes and a wood burning oven for pizzas), I couldn't help but comment on the by-the-glass list.

"I love that you guys always have an Arneis on here," I said, "When I was a waiter I sold Arneis all the time. It was like a little trick I pulled out of my back pocket."

Arneis is a white grape from Italy's Piedmont region, specifically the Roero DOC. The wines are crisp, a little bit perfumy, and perfect for the standard Pinot Grigio drinker who is willing to try something new. I call it a "back pocket trick" for waiters is because it's a snippet of information that can be pulled out of nowhere at any time to impress guests. They have probably never heard of it, but are guaranteed to like it. And once you can do that with a table you'll have them eating out of your hand, and will earn a big tip.

The buyer and I began discussing this wine and the back pocket principle (which is not limited just to Arneis - Verdicchios, Soaves, and Orvietos work well as Pinot Grigio alternatives too), and he threw out a little piece of info that was new for me.

"Do you know what Arneis means in Italian?"

"No, what?"

"Little rascal."

"Love it! Perfect for cunning waiters everywhere."


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