Wine & Spirits Magazine has released its 20th annual restaurant poll (in its April 2009 issue), and as always it's an extremely insightful look into what's going on with wines in restaurants: which brands are popular, which brands are not, who's up, who's down, and—especially this year—what on earth is going on in the unpredictable world of wine. It's crucial reading in you're in the wine business, but interesting even if you're a casual wine drinker.
Some of the info this year: There's been a big shift toward fresh, light styles of white wine over the past ten years (no surprise); Pinot Grigio is drifting off of its recent wave of popularity (about time); and Pinot Noir, for the first time ever, was more popular than Cabernet Sauvignon in the restaurants that W&S surveys (290 of Zagat's top-rated restaurants, this year). On top of that, there are a whole heap of restaurants out there right now offering special lists (or pages on their lists, or special sections) of affordable wines. That's something my friend Kerrin Laz, the wine director for Dean & Deluca, noted on a recent blog post about Napa Valley restaurants, too.