There are many metrics that go into creating a standout wine list, and one is, absolutely, value. We asked sommeliers at several of the 2013 Diners’ Choice Award winners for Top 100 Wine Lists restaurants to reveal the best values on their wine lists.
* Alexandria Cubbage, Head Sommelier, Veritas, New York, New York: “One of the best values on the Veritas wine list is the 1995 magnum of Stony Hill Chardonnay for $275. It represents a great value because this wine delivers the complexities and layered subtleties of fine Burgundy with the fruit character of Napa Valley at a fraction of the cost of fine Burgundy. Stony Hill made its first vintage of Chardonnay in 1952, and continues to showcase the longevity with which well-made wines from Napa Valley can attain. This bottle is also special because it is in magnum form and is available on the Veritas wine list from Park B. Smith’s personal wine collection. It is a rare treat to have this wine on our list.”
* Harley Carbery, Director of Wine, Aureole, Las Vegas, Nevada: “Hirsch, Bohan Dillon, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2011 for $85 a bottle. The wine is a wonderful, true expression of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, it shows as well as many wines twice as expensive, and is always a crowd pleaser.”
* Katelyn Peil, Wine Director, Purple Cafe and Wine Bar, Woodinville, Washington: “Although there are a lot of great values to be found on my list, for me, an especially great value is found in the Catena Malbec from Vista Flores, Argentina. This wine is 100% Malbec from vineyard sites that are found at over 3,000 feet elevation. It is structured and complex, and really over delivers for a price point of $42 on our list. It is my goal to build a value-centric list while representing the many wine regions of the World in addition to being paired with the wide variety of foods offered at Purple Café and Wine Bar.”
* Branden Bidwell, Wine Director, Wine Cask, Santa Barbara, California: “The ‘best value’ on our list is a tough question. We focus mainly on local, Santa Barbara County wines and because of our good relationships with most of the local producers on our list, we like to think that all of our Santa Barbara County selections are a great value. If I have to pick one, however, it would be the Margerum ‘M5’ Rhone varietal blend. Doug Margerum is a fantastic winemaker, and this is a terrific value. We offer the wine by the glass, and our guests love it and often buy bottles to take with them.”
* Edgar Poureshagh, Certified Sommelier/General Manager, 3Twenty Wine Lounge, Los Angeles, California: “The best value on the list is our collection of wines with significant age that are still reasonably priced. I love serving wines that are ready to drink, and when I can find wines (like aged German Rieslings and Spanish Rioja of superlative quality) that I can serve at a reasonable price, it lets me offer our guests a great wine experience, without the exorbitantly high cost often associated with fine wines.”
* Kristin Jonna, Owner/Certified Sommelier, Vinology, Ann Arbor, Michigan: “I think one of our best values currently would be the Protos Tempranillo, Ribera del Duero! Delicious, depth of character for only $36 a bottle.”