Have you ever wonder how a restaurant selects the wines on its list--especially the restaurants that have wine lists the size of a phone book? (If you’re so young you don’t know what a phone book is, you probably shouldn’t be drinking).

They have to make a huge investment to create that list?  What happens if they don’t sell it?  What if no one wants to spend $1,000 on a peak vintage of Giacomo Conterno’s Barolo Monfortino?

“My wife and I just drink it then,” says Gianfrano Sorrentino, owner and operator of Il Gattopardo and The Leopard, two restaurants in New York City.

But ideally, he wants to sell them.  So to make the best choices, Sorrentino, who carries over 30 years of experience in restaurant management, sits down with his chef and sommelier and together they pick the wines for that match the menu and the ambiance.

Il Gattopardo serves traditional Southern Italian comfort food and Sorrentino is from Naples, so no surprise, many of the wines are from Southern Italy.

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But there has to be something for everyone, in case someone comes in jonesing for a big Napa cabernet with that bowl of pasta.

So it is important to pay attention to what sells and what’s requested, all while keeping the wines in line with the menu.

And that takes experience, which is exactly what Sorrentino has.  He has worked in infamous hotels like the Quisitana Hotel in Capri, the Dorchester Hotel in London, Four Seasons Hotel in Tokyo and The Leopard at des Artistses in the Hotel des Artistes, New York City.

And he just celebrated the 12th anniversary of Il Gattopardo. So if you’re in New York City, stop in and let me know what you think of the wine list.

Cent’ Anni.