The Ins and Outs of Wine Selection at Ladera Grill
Our Wine Selection Process at Ladera Grill
We are We are very proud of our wine program at Ladera, and rightfully so; we have received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence 4 years in a row. We receive frequent compliments on our wine selection from our guests and we get requests on a daily basis from wineries that want to be part of our program. We are often asked, “Why don’t you have XX wine at your restaurant?”, so I thought it would be fun to share our process and philosophy behind each bottle we bring.
Philosophies behind each bottle we carry:
- Family First: We are a family owned business and we like to work with other family owned businesses. We tend to stay away from large corporate owned wineries.
- Be Kind to our World and Those Who Reside in Her: We care for the environment and love our earth, and want it to be there for the grandchildren of our grandchildren. We love finding wines that are made from what we call “Good Stewards of the Land.” Whether one is organic, sustainable, SIP Certified, Biodynamic, etc., etc. We like when we see people who are putting in to the land more than they are taking out.
- Point of Distinction: We strive to give unique choices. Morgan Hill is a small community so our goal is to bring unique wines to our guests. We try not to bring wines in that are readily available through retail stores nearby, or even other local restaurants.
Developing the original “Blueprint” of our wine list back in 2012:
- Cuisine First – We looked at the menu and decided what type of wines would work best with Executive Chef Tony Garcia’s cuisine and how we identify ourselves: we are a prime steakhouse that also serves great pasta dishes and fresh seafood. Our wine list reflects that with a number of terrific Cabernet Sauvignons and other red wines that pair well with beef, some lovely Italian wines that go well with pasta dishes and some beautiful Pinot Noirs and white wines that work well with seafood.
- Wines that are ready to drink now: For example, there are a lot of incredible Napa Reds that need to be cellared for many years before they are enjoyed. These wines really have no place on our wine list. In some cases, we have wines in our cellar that we are cellaring while offering older vintages of that wine for drinking now. When we do serve these wines, we prefer to decant them for better enjoyment.
- Quality – All of our wines are good. We do not select anything that doesn’t pass the “would you drink this yourself” test. Every wine we bring in tastes like the specific varietal and has some sense of terroir from where it is grown.
- Price – Our menu is moderately priced and our wines are too. Sure, we have a wine for $300 on our list but our median price is just $43/bottle.
Basically there are 3 ways a specific wine makes it on our list:
- Our favorite way to discover a wine is when we are out enjoying life either at a winery, restaurant or corner wine bar, then discover a wine that we just love and we need to bring in to share with our guests. We have made a few great discoveries that way: J. Dusi Zinfandel, Saintsbury Pinot Noir, Waterbrook Reserve Merlot.
- Another way a wine makes it to our list is for a winemaker to stop in, schedule a tasting and we fall in love with a wine and decide to carry it. This happened with Ferrari Carano a few years ago and more recently when Carolyn Aver tasted us on her portfolio of wines resulting in adding Aver Cabernet Sauvignon to our program.
- The third way is when we put out a call to all of our valued distributor partners for specific wines we are looking for. This is a multi-day process where we taste wines brought to us that fit a certain category, which we are in the market for; be it Northern Italian wines or Burgundy or California Cabernets.
Our wine by-the-glass program is possibly our favorite part of the entire list. Here we usually offer 2 or even 3 wines of a specific varietal. We select wines within the category that are very different and offer the guest a variety of styles. Most of the time the wines will also be from two (or three) different appellations, again to give our guests more options and opportunities to try new things.
In case you had any doubt, you can see this is a process of love with profound dedication and passion behind each bottle that is served at Ladera.
Thank you for continuing to dine at Ladera and enjoying a glass of wine while you’re there. Take a look at our wine list HERE