Chef Louis Moskow graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1989 and cooked in New Orleans, Bavaria and Italy before becoming a partner at 315 in Santa Fe. He bought the business in 1999 and has been the executive chef ever since. He’s also the wine buyer—his dad was a Bordeaux collector, so he grew up around second growths, and stocks his list with hundreds of mostly French and American selections to match his French-influenced cooking.
People, while being a lot more reluctant to throw down for a big bottle, are still buying really good glasses. We have some kind of premiere Champagne on by the glass all the time—right now it’s Delamotte. We also do Perrier-Jouët and Pommery; at $20 a glass we sell a lot. We pour out of half bottles during the week, and full bottles on the weekend.
I’ve run Tignanello by the glass and done really well with that. We’re doing a choucroute so I’m now going to put Zind-Humbrecht on by the glass. And I just got Archery Summit Premiere Cuvée, the 2013, so that will be going on soon. We want it to be motivational: Oh shit, $18 a glass—I have to get that!
Top selling French wine: 2011 Drouhin Chorey-les-Beaune
I’m looking for well-priced red Burgundies—I think people trust us and maybe want to move in that direction in this kind of restaurant. Our food has earthier flavors; there’s less fruit in our savory dishes overall. We don’t really challenge your palate with too much acidity or sweetness, and I’m definitely not into heavy fat on the menu, either. But things like duck and mushrooms and salmon… I look for lesser vintages stuck in the pipeline, from reputable houses—Drouhin…or [Louis] Latour—I just bought some Cote de Nuits–Village and the Santenay, and I can get them on the list around $50-60.
Chardonnay is hard to sell. Even the $100 white Burgundies that used to fly off the shelf on a weekly basis are far less popular. There’s far less of those big sales of Burgundy, but people still drink Chablis and Pouilly-Fuissé. I’ll bottom feed, looking for those wines if I can to get them on by the glass, but overall the interest in chardonnay has petered out. Except for Sonoma-Cutrer, which is still a benchmark for people.
There are certain people who aren’t afraid to say: “Hey, I like oak, I like tropical, flashy chardonnays.” There’s a school. And then there’s the person who has the lean Chablis. There’s two different schools around chardonnay. One’s opulent and tropical and one’s lean and angry.
Biggest new success: 2013 Fontsainte Corbieres Rosé
That’s summer wine. The last one was a Bandol I was getting—an affordable rosé, something in the $15 [per glass] range. We were buying 10 cases at a time, literally. Santa Fe is down with rosé and has been for a long time. While we might be behind on a lot of trends, we are way ahead on the rosé market.
Longtime senior editor at Wine & Spirits magazine, Luke now works for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program.