Burlington, Vermont: Bluebird Tavern
"We're looking for the underdogs of wine," says general manager Laura Wade. For a dinner at Bluebird Tavern last spring, she collaborated with her husband, Bluebird chef Aaron Josinsky, to feature the little-known Austrian Steininger family, who make both still and sparkling versions of three different grapes: Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Zweigelt. Josinsky paired the crisp wines with an assortment of house-made charcuterie, including Tuscan winemaker's salami made with Sangiovese, coppa (pork shoulder) and ham-and-parsley terrine.
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Washington, DC: Dickson Wine Bar
Unlike most wine bars, the house specialties at Dickson are Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches (chef James Claudio is half-Vietnamese); the one filled with grilled Berkshire pork belly is especially good. Still, like most wine bar menus, Dickson's devotes space to cheeses and charcuterie, like house-cured duck prosciutto. The concise wine list was created by sommelier Jarad Slipp of DC's elegant CityZen, who marks every selection with a little o (organic) or b (biodynamic). Alsace's 2007 Domaine Weinbach Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg and Argentina's 2007 Bodega Chacra Pinot Noir each get a b. Even sangrias, like the strawberry-and-blueberry-studded white-wine version, have an o.