Go to a restaurant with an F&W Best New Chef in the kitchen, and you’ll likely find a great wine director in the dining room. F&W’s Ray Isle talks to these experts to find terrific bottles.
10 Top Wine Destinations
I’ve singled out one amazing bottle from each list that’s worth looking for in a wine shop; prices are suggested retail.
Chef Eric Ziebold
Wine Director Andrew Myers
Bottle to Try 2006 Catena Zapata Malbec ($26). Argentina’s Catena family helped create interest in Malbec in the United States with wines like this powerful, spicy red.
Chef Shea Gallante
Wine Director Robert Bohr
Bottle to Try 2006 Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano ($15). Capezzana, one of the stars of Italy's Carmignano region, produces dark, earthy Sangiovese-based red blends.
Eleven Madison Park, New York City
Chef Daniel Humm
Wine Director John Ragan
Bottle to Try 2008 Pazo Señorans Albariño ($25). Pazo Señorans’s citrus-and-mineral Albariños are benchmarks of Spain’s Rías Baixas region.
Chef Josiah Citrin
Sommelier Brian Kalliel
Bottle to Try NV Guy Larmandier Grand Cru Cramant ($60). The small Champagne producer is known for this mineral-edged, 100 percent Chardonnay grand cru bottling.
Chef Nobuo Fukuda
Wine Director Peter Kaspierski
Bottle to Try 2007 Cline Ancient Vines Mourvèdre ($18). This plummy red comes mostly from 80-plus-year-old vines in northern California.
Wine Director Bobby Stuckey
Bottle to Try 2007 Corte Sant’Alda Vigne di Mezzane Soave ($19). For years, northeastern Italy’s Soave region produced oceans of bland white wine. Today, wineries like Corte Sant’Alda and wines like this refined, lightly almondy bottling have restored Soave’s reputation.
Chef Laurent Gras
Sommeliers Chantelle Pabros & Jean Tomaro
Bottle to Try 2007 William Fèvre Champs Royaux Chablis ($25). Fèvre’s wines are known for the steely grace that characterizes top Chablis.
Chef Mark Sullivan
Sommelier Andrew Green
Bottle to Try 2006 Abadía Retuerta Selección Especial ($23). This juicy Tempranillo blend is an ideal introduction to the powerful, smoky reds of north-central Spain’s Sardón del Duero region.
Chef Rick Tramonto
Wine Director Chad Ellegood
Bottle to Try 2006 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Crozes Hermitage Domaine de Thalabert ($48). Jaboulet’s renowned Thalabert bottling, one of the best from France’s Crozes Hermitage appellation, is robust and peppery, with notes of smoked meat and olives.
Chef Nancy Oakes
Wine Director John Lancaster
Bottle to Try 2006 Scherrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($40). From his small winery in Sebastopol, California, Fred Scherrer produces some of the region’s best Pinot Noirs—silky, fragrant and rich with black cherry fruit.