Purple Wine Book

No more stuffy “The wine list, sir.” At Purple Wine Bar & Cafe, it's now “Hey, folks, here’s our new wine BOOK!”

Informal, chatty, cleverly organized, 30-page, lucite-covered volume is much more than a wine list. A separate sheet lists dozens of wines-by-the-glass plus 14 wine “flights.”

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Diners at Purple--restaurants in Woodinville and in Kirkland--are accustomed to finding remarkable wines on their own or willing to follow the spot-on suggestions of the cafĂ©’s knowledgeable staff: little-known grape varieties, obscure regions, unbelievable values, unexpectedly delicious pairings with food.

What they haven’t had, until now, is a book that explains how the staff thinks about wine ....

Purple’s new Wine Book is presented to diners in an industrial-chic, lucite-covered, 8-by-8-inch binder.

“We kind of wanted to debunk the concept of ‘The Wine List’ as an oversize leather binder,” said Purple’s wine director, Christene Larsen. “So we thought, why not design a wine book totally unexpected?”

The restaurant’s philosophy is expressed in a one-page introduction that reminds readers “be sure to enjoy, experiment, appreciate & relax!” Annotated listings follow, concluding with a 6-page glossary of wine terms. In between are descriptions of over 300 bottles, each described with a snappy, perceptive phrase.

Informal and cleverly organized, the book begins with an overview of what wine is all about: “Mysterious, complex, sexy…”

Red and white wines are then grouped by variety and growing region, with a descriptor for each bottle. Individual pages are also devoted to “amusing & interesting” bottles, bargain wines, oversize and hard-to-find bottles.

Three or four lines at the top of each page talk about the wines in each category. For the dozen or so reds from the southern hemisphere, “Ah, New Zealand, so expressive & elegant you can drink them all day long.”

Tucked inside the binder is the by-the-glass list, which features more than 75 reds and whites available for tasting, along with over a dozen of Purple’s signature “flights” of four tastes of related wines.

“The response has been fantastic,” Larsen said. “Instead of putting it aside, guests are reading it throughout their dinners.”

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on July 21, 2005 1:20 AM.

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