Wine & Travel

Snooth User: ruobingchen

Best Wine Menu at a Restaurant

Posted by ruobingchen, Aug 12, 2009.

Hello, I was just wondering which restaurants have the best wine menus in NYC? Le Cirque's rotating wine thing is looking a little empty these days...

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Reply by happyrobot, Aug 23, 2009.

Last fall we had dinner at Cru. Their wine list is made up of two books about 50 pages each. It's borderline ridiculous. The sommelier, to his credit, knew the books very well.
Afterward someone asked me how you could choose when there were so many options. I replied that it was easy: just close the book, imagine the most ideal wine you want and they'll probably have it - including the vintage.
(so, we had Krug. And some old-ish Rieslings.)

Reply by dmcker, Aug 23, 2009.

I think 150,000 bottles on hand at Cru goes beyond 'borderline'. ;-) Looks impressive on the computer screen, though I've never been there. With so many options it would be fun to search for otherwise difficult-to-find choices, even just within Burgundy.

A place like Le Bernardin, which is very serious about their wine, pales in comparison with 'only' 15,000 bottles. Though hard on the budget, their wine list (and food) has always been pleasantly impressive, no matter what my mood, and even though they are ostensibly only a 'seafood' place...

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Aug 24, 2009.

If you're out in Brooklyn, I've enjoyed the menu at Convivium. The food was also tasty, thought there are probably (definitely) cheaper places to eat.

Reply by ChipDWood, Aug 24, 2009.

Any restaurant that allows me to bring whatever I want to drink has the best wine menu I could ever visit.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 24, 2009.

Convivio, is there a theme here? in Tudor City has a great list and great food.

Cru does have an amazing list and ever so often one can find some deals too.

Truth is I almost always BYOB and look for great lists when I am on vacation.

By the way I'm going to the restaurant Chip's at.

Reply by dmcker, Aug 24, 2009.

Ah, Greg, but that's what NYC is for me--vacation (or breaks during business) excursions. I've always tended to view New York as Disneyland for adults. ;-)

I do often BYOB in Tokyo, though...

Reply by fibo86, Aug 24, 2009.

Maybe not in the States, however in Australia, Sydney Rockpool bar and grill more than 3750 separate listings and total holding of more than 20,000 bottles courtesy of David Doyle (part owner)
Burgundy and Bordeaux 9 vintages of Roumier Bonnes Mares back to 1937,
11 of Corton-Charemagne from Coche-Dury,
55 different listing from Montrachet,to name a few check it out.
10% of the list comes under the $100 mark

Reply by Eric Guido, Aug 25, 2009.

I'm a big fan of I trulli at 122 East 22nd street.

Their list may not be as large as some of those mentioned above but it's jammed packed with Italian treasures.

Reply by VegasOenophile, Aug 25, 2009.

I'm coming to NYC next week so I'll have to keep those in mind. Vegas has some great lists, but with the markup, I usually try to bring something and just pay corkage.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Aug 25, 2009.

Great point Eric.

And since we've had some thread drift already.

The mac daddy of all wine lists has to be Berns in Tampa Florida. With over 2 million bottles it's a wine mecca packed with surprises, finds and great deals.

I know many people who go to Tampa regularly only to visit Berns. It's that good.

Anyone want to meet in Tampa?

Reply by dmcker, Aug 25, 2009.

Looks interesting, Greg. So, with the addition of Sydney and Tampa, are we going for the best winelists anywhere, not just NYC?

Reply by dmcker, Aug 26, 2009.

To add to the growing list:
--El Celler de Can Roca, in Girona (the Costa Brava, and esp. Girona, sure has undergone drastic upscale growth over the past couple of decades...), between Barcelona and the French border. Perhaps the best restaurant I've eaten at in Spain. Superb food and an even better wine list. A very special place, and I know for a fact that it impresses anyone you take there :-) . Quite interestingly creative in so many things they do, without falling into the 'gimicky' pothole. The wine list does for Bordeaux what Cru does for Burgundy. Etc. And if you like cigars, be sure to try their 'cigar' dessert ;-) .

--Sooke Harbour House, southern end of Vancouver Island. Very nice resort, with fantastic views across the straits, excellent restaurant and a great wine list. Had a wonderful time there a couple of years ago.
(though I'm having trouble getting into their server now)

Wine lists in Europe, in my experience, tend to be more region-specific, staying closer to home with their listings, while North American versions are usually broader.
--If you want to peruse the best Italian wine list I've ever seen, go to Enoteca Pinchiorri, in Firenze, One of so many great eating places in that town I've been fortunate enough to enjoy, though this is undoubtedly the priciest:
--Best list of Alsatian varietals I've seen is at L'Auberge de L'Ill, in Illhausern, Alsace. A couple of Michelin stars:
Hey, I just found out they're even opening a branch in Japan, down in Nagoya near Toyota hqtrs. :-)
--Greatest variety of Austrian reds I've ever seen at Doellerer, near Salzburg. A recent Michelin star:
A very different place from the Palais Coburg, in Vienna, which also takes its Austrian wine most seriously:

Skipping the 'proper restaurant' part and heading to winebars, this place in Paris, with a more upscale sister down the street, have generated a bit of press recently. It's warranted, for a pleasant evening out, though the press means more tourists than before:
La Cave de l'Os a Moëlle (and its big sibling l'Os a Moëlle).
More home cooking than haute cuisine, with the emphasis on wine, including a great selection of local wines behind the bar from around France. Doesn't have a website that I'm aware of, but if you google the place you'll find a lot of reviews.

There are others that'll undoubtedly recur to me if I think a bit more, but this'll do for now.

As a footnote, it's unfortunately true that you can't take the Wine Spectator's 'Award of Excellence' at face value as a pointer towards restaurants with good wine lists. They been punked:

Reply by Philip James, Aug 27, 2009.

I've been to Cru as well - not only is the wine list voluminous, but they store the bottles around the walls (15 feet high) and totally surround the diners with the storage. It looks fantastic, but is probably a nightmare to retrieve a specific bottle

Reply by dmcker, Jan 24, 2010.

Winelists aren't always about size, of course. I've always been happy in Northern California with the creativity, and interesting coverage, of the lists at Chez Panisse, Gary Danko and French Laundry, though perhaps that's not too surprising.

Reply by jameshull, Jan 25, 2010.

For the italophiles.... Del Posto in NYC is pricey but amazing... Barolo Barolo Barolo

Reply by amour, Jan 25, 2010.

restaurant....well, what about Morrell Wine Bar /Cafe...
is that good enough for you???!!!

I love it....50 wines by the glass....
great pairings!!

Restaurant Daniel (60E 65th St.)...Daniel Boulud does a good job.
Benoit Bistro......check them out.....

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Jan 26, 2010.

Not long ago Del Posto had the 1986 Giacosa Red Label on their list for $285/btl. About 30% off retail. I enjoyed a few bottles at the bar! I just checked to make sure they didn't have any more and while they have an exceptional Nebbiolo selection the prices made my teeth hurt.

Morrells by the glass can be pricey but it can also be a total blast. I have stumbled apon some real gems they slip into their btg program. Sometimes you get very lucky indeed!

Reply by amour, Jan 26, 2010.

We need not labour the fact which we all know....
The great hotels all have fine wines...or most do at a price.

Here in Miami, there are any number...The Biltmore,
The Ritz and on and London..Claridges, the Lanesborough where I drank Yquem 1921 paid for by oil sheik clients, the Landmark, the Carlton and so on .....not to mention Paris,
The good news is that on Snooth, as a family, we could tip
each other off with the secret...where to find the best for less!

It was Morrell that put me on to the Hubert Lamy wines, in particular (St.Aubin)Le Paradis 2006.
By the way, Hubert Lamy passed on and son Olivier is now the chief.
I also discovered Tzora (ISRAEL) 2006 by the late Ronnie James.

Reply by dmcker, Jan 26, 2010.

In San Fran the Ritz Carlton and Campton Place both have excellent restaurants with good wine lists. In London I've also had good meals and wine at Claridges, the Connaught, the Savoy Grill (have they reopened yet?) and others. The French restaurant at the Noga Hilton in Geneva was surprisingly better than any of several other famous hotels I've stayed and eaten at in that city. In Tokyo the New York Grill at the top of the Park Hyatt is pretty good (and restaurants in the Okura, Imperial and several newer hotels like the Grand Hyatt, Four Seasons and Mandarin Oriental all are well past decent, though cost performance is sometimes an issue). However the restaurant and wine list at a hotel like the Four Seasons George V in Paris puts most in the shade. I think I'll stop here and ponder fondly memories of some meals and bottles there... ;-)

Reply by dmcker, Jan 27, 2010.

I suppose we've also been ignoring the big French whales. In Paris, La Tour d’Argent, of pressed duck fame, has been going through some changes and recently auctioned off 18,000 bottles of wine and spirits from the 428-year-old restaurant’s cellar. The sale added more than 1.5 million euros (about $2,100,000) to their bottom line. But more impressive in my eyes was the figure that this volume represented merely four percent of the restaurant’s astonishing 450,000-bottle cellar. So I guess the fact that they were selling off a 'few' bottles didn't signify the end of a long legacy. Just using a small part of that legacy to achieve a nice cashflow bump.

But the French never do allow the patrimony of their famous restaurants to disappear, do they? Unlike, say, Lutèce or Café des Artistes in New York, both places I had excellent meals and experiences at in the '80s and '90s, but that have shut down this past decade...

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