A while back we commented on the emergence of social media in the wine world. Since then there have been a number of wine tastings that have had a social media component at their core, as well as a Macallan Scotch Twitter tasting in the US.
Up until now, the tastings have been just that, tastings. But, a top class Italian restaurant in London called L’Anima has decided to take things a step further. Rather than just hosting a tasting like the Galvin restaurant did, they have opened up their exclusive wine list and allowed the public to decide on a few new wines to add to their list.
L’Anima’s sommelier Gal Zohar joined forces with Bibendum, their wine supplier and Robert McIntosh (from Wine Conversation) who always seems to be pushing the boundaries of what can be done with wine in the social media world. Together, they had several aims, including creating interest in the decision making process that goes into choosing a well balanced wine list. It’s a fairly esoteric subject that very few people ever get a chance to be involved in. Zohar also wanted to use the wine as a way of telling the story of their Italian food. By involving the public in the selection process it allowed people to better understand the idea behind the restaurant.
Gal selected 9 wines which he would like to have on his wine list and then invited three teams to pick the three wines they would add. Each team of two wine experts, were filmed advocating their choices and imploring their viewers to vote for their selections. The public were then asked to watch all three videos before voting on their favourite selection which would then be added to the L’Anima wine list.
It’s no surprise that Team Three, featuring Denise Medrano & Dan Coward, won the vote given their impressive ability to communicate the personality of wines using celebrities as their means. Lowengang from Alois Lageder was compared to Kim Basinger, Fiore del’Isca Piedirosso was the spitting image of Johnny Depp and Amarone della Valpolicella Classica was deemed to be the vinous equivalent to Robert De Nero. You can watch the video performance below.
This could easily be seen as a gimmick that devalues the skill of the sommelier. But given that Gal had carefully selected the 9 wines that were being selected from, he was never going to get any hideous surprises. It’s actually a very brave thing to do. And when you consider that the 6 wine buffs are all very well regarded in their field, it seems even more robust. Gal Zohar intends to continue blogging for L’Anima. He is keen to evolve the success he has had so far into engaging people in the inner workings of the kitchen that showcases the quality of their Italian cooking. Given the rise of food and wine blogging this seems like a very intelligent idea.
You can read more about the idea in Decanter .