Updating a Restaurant’s Wine List

Dining | Written By, Harald Wiesmann |

When January came, it was time for me to update the wine list at Kayuputi Restaurant at the St.Regis. The completion of my list had to be done by the end of January so that it could be submitted to the Wine Spectator, applying once again for the two glass ‘Best of Award of Excellence’. This is an award Kayuputi has won five times in a row, making it the only restaurant in Indonesia to achieve this. We are of course, hoping to win it for a sixth time!

My Inner Voice

So, obviously a big decision, what had to leave my wine list in 2016? Over 2015, some wines had become in a way ‘sleepers’ and unfortunately did not sell too well. On my list of whites, for example, was the Semillon from the very known winery of Torbreck and I would say the reason for this is that South Australia cannot produce high classed Semillons like New South Wales or the subregion of Graves in France. Another white was the Royal Oyster, Marc Bredif, Mouzillon, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie from the Loire on the west coast. Despite being a very good wine, I assume it is because not many people know about the white wines from Loire, and thus are less inclined to try. Sancerre’s and Pouilly Fumes, in contrast, run well in the restaurant. Of course, some wines had to go because they simply weren’t available anymore. There was the Duval Leroy 1er Cru Champagne, Chablis Premier Cru Vaillons, Simonnet – Febvre and Treehouse, Salitage, Pemperton Verdelho & Chardonnay.

On the red wine side I must say that wines from Chile and France lost some terrain on my wine list, which usually has more than 420 different wines on it. Here, the wines of Santa Carolina had to leave the wine list and some of the famous Vina von Siebenthal winery from Chile, whilst more than 7 French wines taken off too. Something to consider is that wines that don’t have a name in the wine world, and are not known to the general public, are often more affordable. All in all, I had to let over 40 wines go from my reds due to poor sell rate or lack of availability (even from 10 wine suppliers!). Whilst there were wines I planned to replace, I decided not to as the wine supplier refused to send me samples. I would advise sommeliers not to buy a wine s/he has not tasted, especially those that can cost more than IDR 1 500 000! Common practice, especially for the more expensive wines, would be for the supplier to visit their best selling restaurants and organise a tasting with a bigger group. Especially during the new years of wines, the wine supplier gets samples from Chateaux or Domaines around the world.

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All the wines I choose newly have been tasted by myself and for decades have been marked with high points from wine magazines. Over the years I noticed that generally, more white wine is being drunk here in St.Regis, and thus they hold a large proportion on my list. I also find it important to search for new grape varieties, adding variety to the classic choices of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. A few examples of my newly tasted wines: Petit Chenin Blanc, Ken Forrester, Stellenbosch 2014 Chenin Blanc. Samuels Garden Collection, Yalumba, Eden Valley, Angaston 2013 Viognier. Kooyong Beurrot, Mornington Peninsula 2012 Pinot Gris and Premier Grives, Domaine Du Tariquet, Saint Amand 2013 Gros Manseng Demi Sec from the Cotes Du Gascogne area. The interesting point here too is that most of these new wines have a very good quality and price margin.

I also added more Rosé wines into the wine list as more and more guests are requesting it, leading me to to include a Rosé by the glass now. Here I choose Domaine De Tamary, La Londe, Cotes De Provence 2013, Cinsault, Grenache & Mourvedre.

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And of course I found some new red wines which I just could not resist to include, though very expensive even at cost price. My new findings are: Château Lafite Rothschild Premier Cru Classé, Pauillac 2005 (those who came for our wine and dine event with Chateau Lafite, on the 29th of January, will remember this wine). Ornellaia, Bolgheri D.O.C. Superiore, Castagneto Carducci 2012 and Harlan Estate, Mayacamas Mountains, Oakville Grade, Napa Valley 2010 which I still could afford to buy in 1996 but not anymore!

All in all I have now about 35 new wines on the wine list, many of which originate from the wine areas that the sommelier team here have visited in previous years. So, you can rest assured the wines have been tried and tested first hand – straight from source!

So I wish you all a great find in the wine list at St.Regis, when you visit next. Cheers to great wines and the world known sentence that “Life’s too short to drink bad wines”.


My Inner Voice Dec 14-2Harald Wiesmann, Restaurant Manager of the fine dining, Asian-inspired Haute Cuisine Kayuputi and Chief Sommelier at The St. Regis Bali Resort, has a very interesting career history spanning a number of years with different roles in various countries. His 43 years of international experience has led Kayuputi to receive prestigious awards from the Wine Spectator Magazine (USA) for six consecutive years since its opening six and a half years ago, and dubbed as a fine restaurant that has one of the best wine lists in the Asian region. Harald is set to publish his book, titled “Wine and Dine at St. Regis Bali Resort” in the near future.

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