Wine Insider: Pricing Extremes, Good and Bad, at Marco Wiles's Dolce Vita and Vinoteca Poscol
In October, when Eating...Our Words published "Houston's 10 Best Destinations for Wine," a number of readers complained in the comment section that none of Marco Wiles's restaurants had been included (his Da Marco was excluded, as were all "trophy wine" destinations; see the intro to the post for the explanation of criteria).
Photo by Jeremy Parzen. An Italian wine insider's wine, like this rare and gorgeous Riesling from the Oltrepò Pavese appellation in Northern Italy, is aggressively priced at Dolce Vita. A more common wine like the Pieropan Soave, also a favorite of mine, is marked up far above Houston standards.
Some -- anonymous commenters, of course -- even had the gumption to suggest that I was biased against Wiles and his restaurant group.
My response (see the comments) was: hogwash. I promptly offered to meet any and all takers for a glass of wine and a nosh on the following Saturday evening at Wiles's Vinoteca Poscol on Westheimer (at the aperitivo hour so that the appointment wouldn't encroach on anyone's dinner hour). Please meet me, I wrote. I'm buying.
No one came. And so I sat alone at the bar, munched on Prosciutto and Montasio (a cheese from Friuli), and ordered a bottle of Pieropan Soave, one of my favorite white wines from Italy and a wine considered by most industry observers a "value-driven" bottle.
The wine was delicious and the Prosciutto a little dry and yellow around the edges but wholesome nonetheless. The cheese wasn't exactly sliced the way they do it in Friuli. And it didn't seem to be "aged," though the menu claimed it was. But it was fresh and tasty.
The only problem was that the markup on the Pieropan was egregiously high.
At one point, I noticed that a waiter was decanting a bottle of Planeta Nero d'Avola, also a (presumably) value-driven wine. I was curious as to why such a humble -- however lovely -- bottle was being decanted. The bartender told me that "every bottle over $60 is decanted" at Poscol. Go figure.
He also confirmed that all the stemware at Poscol is made of glass and that crystal or otherwise fine stemware is not available.
In light of this, I'm going to stand by Poscol's omission from the "Houston's 10 Best Destinations for Wine" list.