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Restaurants offering the best wine lists in the USA

Photo for: Restaurants offering the best wine lists in the USA

16/01/2019 These restaurants in the U.S. showcase varied wine lists for the curious wine-lovers who are ready to expand their palates.

Petit Crenn, San Francisco, California

Petit_Crenn_SFAt Petit Crenn, the wine director Courtney Humiston decided to curate the wines in accordance with the philosophy toward the food. Meaning, organic and natural wines to match the organic and natural ingredients – seafood and vegetables only, served family-style, with a French flair. All of the Champagnes on the list are “grower Champagnes,” meaning that the winemaker also farms the grapes instead of just purchasing them from a farmer, which is less common in that region.

Camerata at Paulie’s, Houston, Texas

Camerata_at_PauliesAt Camerata at Paulie’s, the wine list is organized according to how light or heavy wines are, which is extremely helpful in pairing bottles with a meal. Moreover, it has helpful little notes throughout, to educate you about your drink of the night. Also, Camerata is a place you can break all the rules about wine – so have a sparkling wine with your main course, and drink rosé in winter.

Hen of the Wood, Waterbury, Vermont

Hen_of_WoodThe lists at Hen of the Wood features small, family-owned wineries that work organically or naturally, and they are organized by style – ranging from “aromatic and dry whites” to “not so dry whites” to “rich whites and oranges,” and from “delicate reds” to “earthy and rustic reds.” The idea is to give diners an easy, fun way to pick a wine for their palates and to pair with the meal. 

Macchialina, Miami

Macchialina_MiamiHouse-made pasta, sauces & rustic specialities like veal Milanese share the menu with an impressive wine list that highlights offerings from lesser-known regions of Italy like Sicily and Puglia. Macchialina’s wine program includes a selection of all-Italian wines sourced from estate-grown grapes & boutique growers, many hard to find. 

STAKE Chophouse & Bar, San Diego

STAKE_chophouse_and_barTeddy Panos, a chef-turned-sommelier with a fine dining background, manages the wine list at STAKE and uses his extensive food knowledge to create unique, perfect pairings. The wine list includes more than 2000 bottles from around the globe, with classic selections from Bordeaux and Burgundy and also from lesser-known areas like Lebanon and Panos. STAKE has been awarded Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence.

Income Tax, Chicago

Income_Tax_ChicagoIncome Tax has been featured in Bon Appetit, Conde Nast Traveler, etc. and was also given with the Chicago Reader’s “Best Wine List” award in 2017. With a list that straddles the line between classic & trendy, including an exciting selection of Sherries and vermouths, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone.

Acacia House, Napa, California

Acacia_House_NapaAcacia House’s 28-page list includes majorly Napa wines and also selections from nearby Sonoma along with curated selection of French bottles. The number of varietals showcased guarantees a perfect glass to drink with whatever you order.


The Establishment, Charleston, South Carolina

The_Establishment_CharlestonThe Establishment, located in the James Gregorie House, is a sea-food forced project from chef Matt Canter. From Shrimp with marinated veggies & tarragon to the grouper baked in olive oil & served with olives, The Establishment’s bottle list is designed specifically to pair with seafood dishes and includes lots of reds. The dining room’s 20-foot tall glass wine cellar stored up to 3000 bottles!



HMF, Palm Beach, Florida

HMF_Palm_BeachIn the wine list of HMF, virtually every major wine region is represented, with representative choices. There are 18 wines by the glass at $11.50 to $20 and the choices are anything but clichéd. Champagne list is long and there is a long addendum of other sparklers from Italy, Spain, other parts of France, California, and even Oregon and Washington.

Billy Crews, Santa Teresa, New Mexico

Billy_Crews_Santa_TeresaBilly Crews - a Continental steak and seafood place has an interesting wine list. This proves to be a good place to come if you want to drink lots of wine and not put much of a dent in your wallet. There are about 120 Argentinian wines, mostly Malbec and Cabernet but also some whites and other reds. An astonishing number of choices on the list, in fact, are priced at $20 or less. 

The Village Pub, Woodside, California

The_Village_PubIf you don't mind spending $200 to $300 a bottle on wine, you'll be in fine shape at The Village Pub. Only about 15 of the 70 or so "short list" wines cost less than $75. There’s a good German list, including a number of half-bottles; there are 35 François Cotat Sancerres, 50-plus Raveneau Chablis, and more than 20 Chardonnays and Savagnin from J-F Ganevat in the Jura. Cornas is another speciality and there are roughly 35 almost affordable "petis châteaux" from Bordeaux.

Acquerello, San Francisco

Acquerello_SFAt Acquerello, there is a good representation of half-bottles. There is impressive depth in Barolo and Barbaresco, including some older vintages; all the big names are here, like Ceretto, Giacosa, Pio Cesare, both Conternos, Vietti, and Gaja, but there are also admirable lesser-knowns like Burlotto, Cavallotto, and Parusso. California cult wines, Brunellos, and Chiantis are also well represented.

Spruce, San Francisco

Spruce_SFSpruce has a high-end wine list that covers all the bases. There's also a "short list" of about 150 comparatively reasonably priced wines. Most of the essential categories are well covered, with a particularly thoughtful list of red Burgundies; the (comparative) bargains here are the first-rate Morgons from Jean Foillard and Marcel Lapierre ($64 to $100).

Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, New Jersey

Pluckmin_Inn_NJAnyone wanting to spend less than $100 on a bottle will have to look hard for something interesting to drink; on the other hand, if your upper limit is $200, there's plenty here. The Champagne selection is very nice, with some lesser-known grower wines and smaller negociants as well as the big boys. The big-ticket outlier is 1969 Dom Pérignon P3 Plenitude Brut at $3,500, but there are a number of good bottles under $150, which isn't bad for good Champagne in a nice restaurant. Pluckemin Inn's catalogue includes all the expected California Chardonnays, Cabernets, and Pinot Noirs in assorted vintages, but there's also a great assortment of Burgundies.

Canlis, Seattle

Canlis_SeattleCanlis presents a good, big, all-purpose wine list, fairly priced for the most part, with particular strengths in German Rieslings and good matches for a lot of the food. The range of whites and reds from Oregon and Washington is broad. There are a few compelling wines under $100 on this list, but there are plenty between $100 and $200.

Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee

Blackberry_Farm_Walland"Big" is the word for the wine list at Blackberry Farm, in length, certainly in price and also in ambition. There are roughly 550 half-bottles, just for starters! All the essentials for a glamorous list are covered — big-name Burgundies and Bordeaux, trophy wines from California, all the stars from Tuscany and Piedmont, etc. It includes 5 vintages of Melville's Clone 76 INOXChardonnayy, 10 different Huet Vouvrays 20 vintages and/or vineyard designations of Jobard Meursault, and 8 vintages of Leonetti's Washington State Sangiovese. The German selection is deep, and the Chablis list is excellent. 

Del Posto, New York City

Del_Posto_NYCNot surprisingly, Italy is the theme here at Del Posto. Wines by the glass include 22 red, white, and rosé choices ($13 to $44). The selection of Italian sweet wines is large and varied. And the list also makes a last-minute westward turn with a nice selection of Sherries.

PRESS, St. Helena, California

PRESS_CaliforniaIf you like Napa Valley wines in general, you'll probably want to visit this wine-country steakhouse. Napa is the watchword at PRESS. While the majority of the wines are expensive, there are reasonably priced choices, too. Offbeat (for California) grapes are featured: Abrente albariño, Macauley Tocai friulano, Talahalusi Picpoul, Calder Charbono and Forlorn Hope valdiguié. There's a treasure-house of Napa Valley Cabernets here, not only big names like Abreu, Araujo, B.V., Caymus, Diamond Creek, Dunn, Heitz, and Phelps but some older vintages of Charles Krug and Louis Martini as well.

Nopa, San Francisco

Nopa_SFNamed for its neighbourhood (NoPa, or "North of the Panhandle"), Nopa has assembled the very model of a smart, smallish wine list. It's a distinctive selection, full of nicely oddball offerings. Sherry lovers will find a good selection to choose from here.

Sepia, Chicago

Sepia_ChicagoThere are extensive notes throughout the wine list, written versions of the kinds of speeches you might get tableside from an enthusiastic, non-establishment sommelier. At Sepia, Wines are arranged within each category by price, from low to high. Familiar names may certainly be found here, but this is one of those lists that wine adventurers will love. Where else will you find this many red wines from Austria's Burgenland region? Or the seldom-seen Inama Più red blend?

Eleven Madison Park, New York City

Eleven_Madison_Park_NYCThere are a lot of big names here at Wall-Street-bonus-time tariffs, but there are also a fair number of bottles under $100, and even some good choices under $75. You get the feeling that Eleven Madison Park really wants you to drink wine here. The wines by the glass, almost 30 in all, are mostly over $20, and are well-chosen and unconventional including things like Domaine Zafeirakis Malagousia from Greece, and Hermann J. Wiemer Bye, Bye, Blackbird Cabernet Franc from the Finger Lakes. Special attention seems to have been paid to Burgundies and there are plenty of Rhônes.

Restaurant Daniel, New York City

Daniel_NYCThe prices are high at Daniel, but this cellar is a treasure cache of older vintages — Champagnes from the 1990s, white Burgundies from the '80s and '90s. In general, there is a wealth of Burgundies and Rhône wines here; a wish list of Margaux, Palmer, Latour, Lafite, Haut-Brion, Pétrus, and Cheval Blanc; a number of Domaine Tempiers in bottles and magnums. If you want to go crazy on France's most esteemed dessert wine, there are 22 half-bottles and 43 bottles of Château d’Yquem!

"21" Club, New York City

21_Club_NYCFor those who want to show off their knowledge of iconic wine producers and/or their lack of concern for the size of their credit card bill, this rather old-school, gentlemanly list will be glad to oblige. What really earns 21 Club's wine list a high place are the savvy, user-friendly touches: a handful of well-chosen and very affordable East Coast wines (like Barboursville Viognier and Bedell Cellars Musée), a short "Bin Ends" section that includes order-them-tonight bargains and a separate section of about a hundred whites and reds for under $60 a bottle, almost all of the things we'd be delighted to drink.

Commanders Palace, New Orleans

Commanders_Palace_New_OrleansCommanders Palace has the most friendly prices on their extensive wine list beginning with a section of "60 Great Wines Under $60 Each". Prices range from $30 to $58, and plenty of nice choices are included here. There are 35 reds, whites, and rosés by the glass, priced at $8.50 to $21, there are a lot of large-format bottles - about 125 magnums and double-magnums, as well as larger sizes up to a Balthazar. The list offers 4 vintages of Château Simone Palette Blanc from Provence, 7 vintages of Craggy Range Le Sol Gimblett Gravels Syrah, 10 of white Château Musar, 17 (counting bottles and magnums) of the fine Languedoc producer Domaine d'Aupilhac, 18 of Heitz Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 36 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino. It offers a large Spanish selection.

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