The newest incarnation of the pioneering 30-year-old restaurant at Domaine Chandon is Étoile. Executive chef Christopher Manning cooks with a robust American sensibility, and the occasional French accent. The recently redesigned dining room is formal for the region: jackets and ties are common (though certainly not required). But service is friendly and unintimidating, and the bucolic setting is quintessential Napa. Manning's pitch-perfect rendition of roast quail with applewood-smoked bacon ($23) is listed as an appetizer, but sized as an entrée. And while few restaurants at Napa wineries feature wines other than their own, but Domaine Chandon is an exception. Still, the best values are Chandon's own releases.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.