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1998 Wine Poll

Experts in a dozen cities vote for the bibulous
bests, from French wine lists to bargain bottles

What restaurants do those in the know head to for an outstanding bottle of wine, a great-value bottle, a terrific glass of wine or just an exceptional cocktail? To get the answers, FOOD & WINE commissioned the esteemed polling organization Yankelovich Partners to talk to hundreds of experts--sommeliers, chefs, restaurateurs and critics--in a dozen American cities and plumb their thoughts on the local restaurant scene. In September, we published the responses that focused on food. This month we report on the second half of the poll: the part relating to wine and spirits. We've also contacted the winning restaurants for specific recommendations. Use this as your guide to some of the best wine lists in America.

--Additional reporting by Suzanne Markert

Seattle

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
Canlis 2576 Aurora Ave. N; 206-283-3313.
sommelier's recommendation: 1996 Andrew Will Merlot

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS
Fullers 1400 Sixth Ave.; 206-447-5544.
waiters' choice: 1995 Columbia Wyckoff Chardonnay

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
Vina Restaurant and Wine Bar 2207 1st Ave.; 206-443-1465.
most popular: 1996 J. L. Chave St-Joseph Offeras

BEST FRENCH LIST
Campagne 86 Pine St.; 206-728-2800.
most popular bottle: 1995 Domaine Tempier
Cuvée Spéciale Bandol Rouge

BEST BARTENDER
Sazerac 1101 4th Ave.; 206-624-7755.
bartender's recommendation: Dammit Janet

Phoenix

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST &
MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS

Mary Elaine's 8000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale;
602-423-2530.
sommelier's recommendation: 1989 Gastaldi Gastaldi Rosso
waiters' choice: 1994 Stag Hollow Celebré Pinot Noir

BEST PLACE TO BRING A BEGINNER
Top of the Rock 2000 Westcourt Way, Tempe; 602-225-9000.
best beginner bottle: 1996 Cuvaison Carneros Chardonnay

BEST AMERICAN LISTS
Mary Elaine's 8000 E. Camelback Rd., Scottsdale;
602-423-2530.
most popular bottle: 1994 Shafer Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

Rancho Pinot Grill 6208 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale;
602-468-9463.
most popular bottle: 1996 Dehlinger Goldridge Vineyard Pinot Noir

BEST BARTENDER
Obachine 2500 E. Camelback Rd.; 602-955-9653.
signature cocktail: Grape Nehi

Washington,D.C.

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
Lespinasse 923 16th St. NW; 202-879-6900.
sommelier's recommendation: 1995 Claude Dugat Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St-Jacques Burgundy

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS
Galileo 1110 21st St. NW; 202-293-7191.
waiters' choice: 1992 Casetta Barbaresco

BEST WINES UNDER $25
Vintage Wine Bistro 2809 M St. NW; 202-625-0077.
best bargain: 1996 Château de Brondeau Bordeaux, $20

BEST AMERICAN LIST
Kinkead's 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 202-296-7700.
most popular bottle: 1996 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay

BEST BARTENDER
The Prime Rib 2020 K St. NW; 202-466-8811.
bartender's recommendation: Cosmopolitan

Atlanta

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
The Dining Room of The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead
3434 Peachtree Rd. NE; 404-237-2700.
sommelier's recommendation: 1990 Iron Horse Blanc de Blancs LD Sparkling Wine

MOST FAIRLY PRICED LIST
Bacchanalia 3125 Piedmont Rd.; 404-365-0410.
best bargain: 1997 Trefethen Dry Riesling, $22

BEST PLACE TO BRING A BEGINNER
Indigo Coastal Grill 1397 N. Highland Ave. NE; 404-876-0676.
best beginner bottle: 1995 Stonegate Bella Vista Vineyard Chardonnay

BEST ITALIAN LISTS
Veni Vedi Vici 41 14th St.; 404-875-8424.
sommelier's recommendation: 1993 Prunotto Barolo Bussia

Pricci 500 Pharr Rd. NE; 404-237-2941.
sommelier's recommendation: 1992 Corvo Duca Enrico

BEST BARTENDER
Bone's Restaurant 3130 Piedmont Rd.; 404-237-2663.
bartender's recommendation: Martini

Chicago

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
Charlie Trotter's 816 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-248-6228.
sommelier's recommendation: 1990 Leroy Savigny-les-Beaune Les Narbantons

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
Hudson Club 504 N. Wells St.; 312-467-1947.
most popular: 1997 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc

BEST FRENCH LIST
Le Français 269 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling; 847-541-7470.
most popular bottle: 1996 Didier Dagueneau Pouilly-Fumé Pur Sang

BEST ITALIAN LIST
Spiaggia 980 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-280-2750.
sommelier's recommendation: 1996 Antinori Castello della Sala Cervaro

BEST BARTENDERS
Gibsons Steakhouse 1028 N. Rush St.; 312-266-8999.
signature cocktail: Vodka Gibson

The Ritz-Carlton Dining Room 160 E. Pearson St.;
312-266-1000.
signature cocktail: Ritz Martini

Miami

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
The Forge 432 Arthur Godfrey Rd., Miami Beach;
305-538-8533.
sommelier's recommendation: 1995 Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

BEST WINES UNDER $25
Biscayne Wine Merchants 738 NE 125th St., N. Miami;
305-899-1997.
best bargain: 1994 Bodegas Faustino Faustino V Rioja, $17

Captain's Tavern 9621 S. Dixie Hwy.; 305-666-5979.
best bargain: 1995 B.R. Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon, $16

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
Chef Allen's 19088 NE 29th Ave., Aventura; 305-935-2900.
most popular: 1996 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Ranches Chardonnay

BEST PLACE TO BRING A WINE SNOB
The Forge 432 Arthur Godfrey Rd., Miami Beach; 305-538-8533.
most impressive bottle: : 1822 Château Lafite Rothschild

SEXIEST BAR
China Grill 404 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-534-2211.
most popular cocktail: Cosmopolitan

Los Angeles

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
Valentino 3115 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-829-4313.
sommelier's recommendation: 1995 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Syrah

BEST WINES UNDER $25
Café Bizou 14016 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; 818-788-3536.
best bargain: 1995Stags' Leap Winery Petite Syrah, $24

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
Campanile 624 S. La Brea Ave.; 213-938-1447.
most popular: 1997 Terra Noble Merlot

BEST FRENCH LIST
L'Orangerie 903 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-652-9770.
sommelier's recommendation: 1992 Domaine Emilian Gillet Mâcon-Viré Chardonnay

BEST AMERICAN LIST
Patina 5955 Melrose Ave.; 213-467-1108.
sommelier's recommendation: 1991 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon

SEXIEST BAR
Le Dome 8720 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood; 310-659-6919.
signature cocktail: Cosmopolitan

Boston

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
The Ritz-Carlton Dining Room 15 Arlington St.; 617-536-5700.
sommelier's recommendation: 1994 Araujo Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS
L'Espalier 30 Gloucester St.; 617-262-3023.
waiters' choice: 1995 Peter Michael Les Pavots

MOST FAIRLY PRICED LIST
Uva 1418 Commonwealth Ave.; 617-566-5670.
best bargain: 1994 Caymus Vineyards Special Selection
Cabernet Sauvignon, $79

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
Les Zygomates 129 South St.; 617-542-5108.
most popular: 1996 François Cotat Chavignol Rosé

SEXIEST BAR
Mistral 223 Columbus Ave.; 617-867-9300.
most popular cocktail: Mistral Mystic

New Orleans

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
Brennan's Restaurant 417 Royal St.; 504-525-9711.
sommelier's recommendation: 1994 Davis Bynum Laureles Vineyard Merlot

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS
Emeril's 800 Tchoupitoulas St.; 504-528-9393.
waiters' choice: 1995 Pesquera Tinto Crianza

BEST PLACE TO BRING A WINE SNOB
Grill Room 300 Gravier St.; 504-522-1992.
best choice: 1995 Ponzi 25th Anniversary Reserve Pinot Noir

BEST AMERICAN LIST
Bayona 430 Rue Dauphine; 504-525-4455.
most popular bottle: 1995 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay

SEXIEST BAR
Red Room 2040 St. Charles Ave.; 504-528-9759.
most popular cocktail: Red Passionné

New York

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
Sparks Steak House 210 E. 46th St.; 212-687-4855.
sommelier's recommendation: 1994 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS
Union Square Cafe 21 E. 16th St.; 212-243-4020.
waiters' choice: 1990 Valentino Bricco Manzoni

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
Gramercy Tavern 42 E. 20th St.; 212-477-0777.
most popular: 1996 Belondrade y Lurton Rueda

BEST RARE OR OLD WINES
"21" Club 21 W. 52nd St.; 212-582-7200.
most impressive bottle: 1961 Château Mouton Rothschild

BEST PLACE TO BRING A WINE SNOB
Windows on the World 1 World Trade Center; 212-524-7000.
best choice: 1995 Flowers Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay

BEST BARTENDER
The Rainbow Promenade at The Rainbow Room
30 Rockefeller Plaza; 212-632-5000.
signature cocktail: Fitzgerald

Dallas

BEST OVERALL WINE LIST
The Mansion on Turtle Creek 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd.;
214-559-2100.
sommelier's recommendation: 1994 Dominus Proprietary Red

MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE WAITERS
The Riviera 7709 Inwood Rd.; 214-351-0094.
waiters' choice: 1996 Beringer Sbragia Limited Release Chardonnay

BEST WINES BY THE GLASS
The Grape 2808 Greenville Ave.; 214-828-1981.
most popular: 1996 Lockwood Estate Grown Chardonnay

BEST FRENCH LIST
French Room 1321 Commerce St.; 214-742-8200.
most popular bottle: 1995 Château Malescot St Exupéry Red Bordeaux

BEST ITALIAN LIST
Mi Piaci Ristorante Italiano 14854 Montfort Dr., Addison; 972-934-8424.
sommelier's recommendation: 1986 Bertani Amarone

Published October 1998
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