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Enjoying wine a glass at a time

Wine drinking can be an expensive hobby but Harbourfront Restaurant is providing one solution for aficionados buy the good stuff by the glass instead of the bottle.

The restaurant recently set up a station offering eight high-end wines including 2009 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Gaja Borolo Dragomis, and 2008 Louis Latour Pommard Pinot Noir.

“A wine station is a place where you can keep your wine open up to two months,” explained Pierangelo Lanfranchi, Harbourfront manager and partner. “When we pour three or five ounces out of a bottle, we push some argon gas in so the wine stops oxidising. It is like it has never been opened. The red wine is kept at a temperature of 54F.”

Normally, a bottle of Caymus would cost well over $200, but at the Harbourfront you can have 5oz of it for $45, 3oz for $27 or 1oz for $9.

The restaurant opened the new wine section last month. It includes a special porch with a stunning view of Hamilton Harbour which can be reserved for special occasions or parties. It is also a place to sit and enjoy a cigarette or cigar without bothering other customers.

“In this economy you have to give more,” said Mr Lanfranchi. “Instead of cutting down you need to invest, and invest in things that people might find more attractive. There is a demand for a place where you can have a glass of wine. This is the reason why the wine station is very important. I know that people can easily drink a bottle of wine by themselves, but in this economy, high-end of bottles of wine are difficult to sell. It is easier to sell a glass at $40 than a bottle at $240, for example. I want to invite people to come here and try it. We also have plenty of less expensive wines by the glass on our regular wine list.”

The wine station was designed by Mr Lanfranchi, constructed in Italy and then sent to Bermuda. The station shows a dizzying array of wines running on all walls including overhead.

He said customers often ask him for his recommendations, but he feels which wine you drink with what meal is a personal choice.

“My favourite wine changes, like everything,” he said. “I like burgundies. They are low alcohol so it doesn’t kill the taste of the food. Very alcoholic wines can numb your palette a bit. Pinot noir is quite light and pleasant. I like super Tuscan wines.”

Public tastes change constantly. He said years ago you couldn’t keep Amarone in stock and now you can’t sell it.

“It is all about trends,” he said. “These days people want a better wine for less money. So this is our job to direct people to get a better deal.”

Wine stations are becoming popular around the world, he added.

“The other day a friend of mine came back from Burgundy and said he’d been to a restaurant with a wine station that was offering hundreds of wine including Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1961. I was blown away. That is one of the better years. I didn’t ask him how much it cost, but I know it was in the hundreds of dollars. One day I would like to add Chateau Lafite and also Opus One into the wine station.”

For more information visit www.harbourfront.bm or call 295-4207.

Harbourfront - Ashley Grant, Florian Neururer, Pierangelo Lanfranchi, and Richard Hill (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published January 18, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 17, 2013 at 12:16 pm)

Enjoying wine a glass at a time

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