World-Class Wine Bars
Exciting new spots to explore the expanding wine universe.
Bar Battu This wine bar aims to make natural wine a little more accessible. Since these bottles can be a bit funkybarnyardy in aroma, strange in colorsommelier Alex Jollis lists them according to their degree of "wildness," so customers know what to expect. A great choice on the mostly French list: the 2009 Chinon Beaumont from Domaine Breton.
Saturne Chef Sven Chartier and sommelier Ewen Lemoigne had Paris's full attention while working at the wine bar Racines. Now, at their own place, Chartier offers simple, elegant prix fixe menus to go with Lemoigne's stellar natural winefocused list.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Reserve Wine director Chris Pawlisz has created a spectacular selection of 100-plus choices by the glass and more by the bottle. Chef Matthew Millar's smoked fish trioincluding Lake Michigan troutis perfect with the sparkling Crémant d'Alsace from Pierre Sparr.
New Italian Tasting Room
A stunning new Italian tasting room blends into the vineyards all around.
Northern Italy's cool Alto Adige region is home to many good wine cooperatives, in which several growers band together and bottle their wines under one label. One of the best in the area is Cantina Tramin, known for its sensational, mineral-driven whites and soon to be known for its dramatic new wine tasting room. Designed by architect Werner Tscholl, an Alto Adige native, the building was constructed with energy-efficient metal, glass and concrete so that it stays cool in the summer and gets warmth from the sun in the winter. Its green color blends into the vineyards; its angular shape evokes the craggy mountains in the distance.
Insider's Tip: Wines to Try
Cantina Tramin's incredibly floral, citrusy 2009 Gewürztraminer is its signature. Its creamy 2009 Pinot Bianco is also wonderful.
Wine & Spirits for Purchase
Tastingroom.com This online retailer sells tasting sets of four or six tiny bottles, allowing customers to sample wines before making a bigger buy. From $20.
Cognac for Collectors
PM Spirits Bordeaux native Nicolas Palazzi finds great single-barrel Cognacs made for private consumption, then bottles them under his own Paul-Marie & Fils label (named for his father). He sells both single bottles and entire barrels. pmspirits.com.