Web Original: Critic’s Notebook: The Price Isn’t Right

In his newly updated Wine Buyer’s Guide (out this week), wine critic Robert Parker calls for a boycott on restaurants whose exorbitant markups on wine discourage people from ordering it. While I wouldn’t go so far as boycotting any restaurants, Parker does have a point. Many times when dining out, I’ve faced wine menus stacked with familiar bottles — ones I have at home — listed at prices multiple times what I paid for them. Recently, while writing my review for 10 Arts, I was extremely frustrated by the new restaurant’s pricey wine list. At Le Bec-Fin, whose list is several pages long, I actually broke down, swallowed my pride and quietly requested a dry red under the $100 mark.

Yes, not every restaurant in Philly extracts a pound of flesh for a bottle of wine. Friday Saturday Sunday famously marks up its bottles only $10 over cost (which means ordering any bottle that costs over $10 in-store is a pretty great deal). But these benevolent gestures seem like an exception to the rule when it comes to wine prices.

With boycotting out of the question — let’s face it, we’re not going to swear off some of the city’s best restaurants — I’m wondering who knows of any other area spots with fairly priced wine lists?