36 great places to savour fine wineBy Kent Tsang and Rebecca Gibb on February 07, 2017
We highlight three dozen of the world’s best establishments to mull over mature vintages of the finest wines, poured by the glass or in tasting measure.
Unconventional Canadian-born sommelier Justin Leone oversees this Michelin two-star restaurant’s hefty 49-page wine list. He’ll also Coravin 200ml carafes of mature fine wines such as Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2000, Château Lafleur 1996, and wines from every one of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti vineyards.
The Vineyard, Stockcross
This hotel for wine lovers is owned by Sir Peter Michael of the Peter Michael Winery in Sonoma, California. A truly international by-the-glass offering covers everything from Clos Mogador in the Catalan appellation of Priorat, to Kumeu River in the Auckland suburbs. There’s a Californian bent to the Coravin offering – think Chateau Montelena Chardonnay from magnum, and mature Napa Cabernet from PlumpJack, Sequoia Grove and Lokoya.
The views across the windy city are nothing short of sensational at this Michelin two-star establishment, and the wine selection is equally impressive thanks to its extensive use of Coravin. How about a 90ml glass of mature Château Rayas or a youthful Échezeaux from DRC? The crowning glory here is the US$750 Clos wine-tasting option – enabling you to taste roughly two dozen wines, including several mature vintages of Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello, in small pours throughout your meal.
Bar Boulud, London
It’s not about quantity but quality when it comes to the by-the-glass selection at this Mandarin Oriental address, which has a regional focus each season. Expect mature vintages of French classics served – from magnum, imperial (six litres), and even melchior (18 litres) – by the glass or carafe. Think Château l’Enclos 1999 or Château Talbot 2010 when it’s Bordeaux season.
Look out across the Danish capital’s leafy park, Fælledparken, while making your way through this restaurant’s who’s who of by-the-glass and Coravin pours. Stay a while, and opt for the six-glass tasting menu, which starts with Domaine Leflaive’s Puligny-Montrachet 2012, and concludes with Château d’Yquem 1995.
You may want to move to Barcelona after visiting this wine bar and restaurant with 300 labels in its cellars: even wine writers who have seen it all such as Jancis Robinson, Jay McInerney and Ray Isle couldn’t contain their excitement. Every day, the Monvínic team opens 40 to 50 wines from all corners of the world, to be poured by the glass and half-glass – so you never quite know what you’re going to get.
Press Club, San Francisco
It’s all wood, concrete and steel at this subterranean wine bar at the foot of the Four Seasons hotel. California’s finest and most interesting dominate the by-the-glass selection, but what really sets the list apart here is the impressive number of wine flights – how about a line-up of top Napa Cabs; or old-vine Zinfandel from Bedrock Vineyard taking on its Italian counterparts? You can also sample mature fine wines such as Corison Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 from Coravin, the Press Club being one of the original venues that trialled the technology back in 2012.
Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney
You’ll be spoilt for choice at this Sydney institution, with more than 50 wines by the glass (and a few by the half glass). Taste mature Aussie classics – think d’Arenberg’s ‘The Dead Arm’ Shiraz 1999 – as well as relative newcomers such as the Beechworth region’s Schmölzer & Brown. Fine European producers also get a good showing.
Bar à Vin Partager, Tokyo
This is a favourite watering hole in central Tokyo’s vibrant Omotesando Hills mall. The wine list has an international flavour, with everything from classic red and white Burgundy from Marc Colin, to Marlborough Pinot Noir, to a sparkling orange Koshu from Coco Farm, north of Tokyo. A broad selection by the glass and half glass gives customers a chance to experiment with innovative food-and-wine pairings.
Blackberry Farm, Tennessee
Southern hospitality is swathed in silk at this 1,700-hectare luxury retreat, which should be on every epicurean’s bucket list. Including every classic you can think of, the 24-page, 170-strong half-bottle list will have you trading up from the single glass. Gaja Barbaresco? Tick. Zind-Humbrecht Clos St Urbain? Tick. Araujo Eisele Vineyard? Tick. You get the picture.
Les 110 de Taillevent, Paris
Thanks to the wine-loving owners behind Château Phélan Ségur, this Parisian restaurant, with a sister establishment in London, offers four by-the-glass suggestions per dish. Take their advice, and pair Domaine Leflaive Bienvenues Bâtard-Montrachet 2006 with the whole turbot in white butter sauce. For those wanting to go easy on the wallet, other options include a Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire appellation of Menetou-Salon, and a sub-€10 white from the highly respected Rhône producer Yves Cuilleron. In total, there are 110 wines by the glass (hence the name), available in 70ml and 125ml pours.
67 Pall Mall, London
The Coravins ranged behind the bar here get plenty of use, with more than 500 by-the-glass offerings at this private-members’ club. Fancy a glass of Lafite Rothschild 1947? No problem. How about Armand Rousseau Chambertin Clos de Bèze 1988 from magnum? Say no more. A wine lovers’ paradise this most surely is.
In the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, on the wild Central Coast, chef-proprietor David Kinch’s locavore fine-dining establishment offers a concise, carefully considered by-the-glass list. The extensive, varied half-bottle selection includes such wish-you-had-in-your-cellar wines as Joh. Jos. Prüm ‘Wehlener Sonnenuhr’ Riesling Spätlese, Domaine de Chevalier, and Dominus. There are also more than 30 Santa Cruz Mountains wines, including five vintages of Ridge Monte Bello.
Aux Quatre Coins du Vin, Bordeaux
Forget the hour-long drive to the Médoc, and sip a glass of Château Palmer or Léoville Las Cases in the centre of Bordeaux. Wine-dispensing machines enable 32 wines to be served in 30, 60 or 120ml measures at Aux Quatre Coins. It’s not just claret that’s on offer either, with stellar producers from beyond Aquitaine – including the Loire’s Clos Rougeard, the Saar’s Egon Müller, and top Burgundy domaines – to keep your palate entertained.
Hostile Grape, Las Vegas
This wine bar in the sleek M Resort Spa Casino hotel – an oasis some 15 kilometres south of the strip – impressively, offers more than 160 wines by the glass. Dispensed by Enomatic machines, the selection includes Ornellaia, Screaming Eagle and Penfolds Grange.
Comptoir de Dégustation, Paris
Located within the iconic Legrand Filles et Fils wine cellar and gourmet grocery store, this elegant tasting bar offers a small but as-good-as-it-gets list. Thanks to Coravin technology, you’ll also find incredibly rare wines in small pours, such as Domaine Leroy Beaune Les Teurons 1961, and Château d’Yquem 1975.
Eleven Madison Park, New York
This Manhattan restaurant’s six-page by-the-glass list is organised by grape variety. Expect the classics, including premier cru Burgundy and Bordeaux classed growths, as well as some left-of-centre grapes such as Vermentino and Zweigelt. Madeira lovers will find every style on offer, while the half-bottle selection runs to an ample seven pages.
AOC, Los Angeles
If you fancy a day off Cabernet and Chardonnay, AOC offers an enticing selection of difficult-to-pronounce varieties and out-of-the-ordinary blends, such as Forlorn Hope’s ‘Que Saudade’ Verdelho, and an Etna red made from Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio grapes. This is a by-the-glass adventure park.
The best wine bar in Oslo, ergo Norway, Territoriet has just about everything on its 13-page by-the-glass list (even magnum bottles). Try several of Olivier Bernstein’s grands crus, four Littorai single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, or consecutive vintages of Jamet Côte Brune. The mark-up policy is remarkably modest, so you’ll pay little more than the retail price.
There are plenty of great wine programmes in Napa, but when it comes to by-the-glass offerings, Morimoto’s use of Coravin to pour not one but two vintages of Harlan Estate in 60ml serves – as well as Scarecrow, Dana Estates Lotus Vineyard, Continuum, Opus One, and Colgin IX Estate Red – puts it a step ahead of the competition. This is in addition to its California-led by-the-glass list and a trio of sake flights.
Del Posto, New York
Long before Coravin was trendy and iPad lists the norm, Del Posto was pouring Monfortino and Mascarello Barolo by the glass. Today, you can enjoy a pour of Paolo Scavino Barolo 1998 from magnum, or head back further in time with a few sips of Borgogno Barolo 1964.
The Yeatman Hotel, Porto
There’s a wine by the glass for every room in this luxury hotel overlooking the Portuguese city of Porto – which means 82 options by the copo. And it’s a case of drinking local, with every wine hailing from Portugal. This being the mouth of the Douro river, the vinous delights include Quinta do Crasto Vinha da Ponte and Croft Vintage Port 1966.
Publik, Cape Town
While there are only 10 wines by the glass here, the list changes daily, so the regulars – including plenty of the country’s best winemakers – aren’t complaining. Don’t expect classic Stellenbosch Cabernet though. Instead, savour the range of old-bush-vine Swartland red blends, and other wild and interesting offerings.
Wally’s, Beverly Hills
Wally’s is best known as a wine shop, and anything can be taken off the shelf and opened in the bar for a US$40 corkage fee. You may not need to go further than the by-the-glass selection however, with more than 120 wines listed over four pages. Chardonnay lovers are spoilt for choice – will it be the Catena Zapata ‘White Stones’ Adrianna or the Camille Giroud Corton-Charlemagne? And for those who think bigger is better, how about a glass of M. Chapoutier Côte-Rôtie ‘La Mordorée’ 1999, from magnum?
19 Glas, Stockholm
This bar in the Swedish capital’s Old Town says it “lists the most wines by the glass in the world, perhaps”, and with hundreds to choose from, it certainly has a good shot at that title. There are classic references, such as Burgundy’s Henri Boillot, and 11 different Rieslings (nine by the glass) from Mosel star Markus Molitor. But there is also plenty to keep the most adventurous drinker happy, from Croatian Malvasia to Swedish Chardonnay.
This is the place to get to know the latest trends in Chilean wine, without setting foot in a vineyard. Bocanáriz focuses on small, hard-to-find producers and single-vineyard wines, such as De Martino’s flagship Syrah Alto los Toros, grown at 2,000 metres altitude in the Elqui Valley, and VIK, a spare-no-expense Bordeaux blend. There are 36 wines by the glass, available in 50ml and 150ml pours, as well as 11 wine flights.
Pub Klemo, Vienna
Ask any oenophile in the Austrian capital where to go for wine, and their first answer is likely to be Pub Klemo. This unassuming, diner-like space, complete with well-worn banquettes, offers an unlikely 100 wines by the glass. There are international fine wines such as Chateau Rayas, and more importantly, such labels as Nikolaihof Riesling Vinothek 1997. The latter is the superb follow-up to the estate’s 1995 vintage, itself the first Austrian wine to be awarded a perfect 100 points by the American critic Robert Parker.
Founded in 1993, this Berlin institution focuses on high-quality German and Austrian producers – think Clemens Busch and Uwe Schiefer. There’s also Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel by the glass, if the local Spätburgunder isn’t to your taste.
Sevva, Hong Kong
One of the best rooftop bars in Hong Kong, Sevva offers almost 90 wines by the glass from all corners of the world. Begin proceedings with the chiselled Dom Pérignon 2004, followed by some of Bordeaux’s finest. Alternatively, sample the interesting New World selections from Torbreck or Te Mata.
The House of Roosevelt, Shanghai
This nine-storey members’ club stands out in Shanghai not just for the unrivalled view from its rooftop bar. The by-the-glass list here is unusually strong beyond France, featuring Piedmont’s Michele Chiarlo; the Rheingau’s Robert Weil; and Vega Sicilia’s Hungarian sister estate, Oremus Tokaji Aszú 3 Puttonyos.
The Champagne Bar, Hong Kong
As luxurious as you would expect from the Grand Hyatt, this bar offers Champagne labels such as Ruinart and Jacquesson, as well as smaller growers including R & L Legras. Pop in for a single glass of bubbles, or take your time and order a flight. Over three glasses, discover the characteristics of the region’s major grape varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Restaurant Petrus, Hong Kong
The extensive wine list at this Island Shangri-la institution has received the highest possible recognition from the China’s Wine List of the Year Awards and The World of Fine Wine. The by-the-glass list also deserves mention for including Petrus (naturally), and both the Dom Pérignon 2006 and P2 1998. Push the boat out, and enjoy a wine flight of Petrus 2004, Haut-Brion 2005, and Latour 1996.
It is very rare to find Domaine Arlaud Gevrey-Chambertin, Ridge Lytton Springs Zinfandel, or Dönnhoff single-vineyard Riesling by the glass in China, but the wine bar in the Kerry Hotel has all three. Add a prime location in the CBD, and you have a magnet for a diverse international crowd, from businessmen to wine collectors and artistic types.
Salon de Champagne Vionys, Tokyo
If you manage to locate this ‘secret’ Champagne bar in Tokyo’s Ginza district, you’ll literally rub shoulders with fellow wine lovers, as there are just six seats at the bar and two booths. There’s no wine list, but any number of Champagne bottles will be open; let the sommelier guide you to a suitable glass or flight.
Praelum Wine Bistro, Singapore
This cosy wine bar has embraced wine-preservation systems: there are 16 wines from around the world (rotated weekly) under Enomatic; a trio of luxury sips (rotated monthly), such as Château d’Issan 1961, from Coravin; and still more selections kept fresh by Winesave. Every week, the bistro’s sommeliers design novel flights of three and fives wines for customers’ edification.
Magnum The Bottle Shop, Seoul
Located in the upmarket Gangnam district, Magnum’s 36-strong by-the-glass list changes on a weekly basis. There are some impressive flights on offer from the tasting machines: think Dugat-Py Gevrey-Chambertin 2011, Sassicaia 2013, Opus One 2011, and Château Angélus 2002.