I’ve noticed a trend – if two restaurants can be called a trend - both here in LA and in San Francisco towards establishments devoted to serving organic fare but which insist on billing themselves as wine bars. My experience with organic wines is that they’re uniformly horrible and nothing I’ve been served, red or white, either at Bar Jules in SF, but more specifically here at Lou (Melrose and Vine) has proven any different. (At Lou, even the one or two selections that were not organic or biodynamic were unpalatable.) Not surprisingly the food at both places is fantastically good, but if I can’t enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner it absolutely diminishes the experience. But what really gets me is that both places think they’re wine bars! I called Lou today to ask what they charge for corkage and was told that it was ‘bringing coals to Newcastle’ – they’re all so nice there I didn’t have the heart to tell them they’re a million miles from Newcastle.
So I guess my question is, why is it that organic wines are so bad? Apparently organic beer is terrific (I don’t drink beer) and obviously organic food is too, but I don’t get why grapes grown organically shouldn’t produce great wines. Is it that the wineries are so focused on agriculture that they pay less attention to the winemaking? Or do sulfites make that big a difference?
Just curious, and I’m not knocking Lou by the way, it’s definitely worth suffering through the wine list to experience the food.