Best New Places to Drink Wine
Gourmet & More, San Francisco
The back patio at this Hayes Valley épicerie is an idyllic spot to BYO. Customers can pick up a bottle at the nearby Arlequin Wine Merchant (384A Hayes St.) and have fun making wine-and-cheese pairings from the more than 350 mostly French selections in owner Laurent Recollon’s cave. 141 Gough St.; 415-874-9133.
Paulée, Dundee, OR
Master Sommelier Brandon Tebbe designed the wine list for this Willamette Valley restaurant for two types: the local winemakers and the out-of-towners. For the locals, there are bottles from Uruguay, Croatia and Colorado. “They taste Willamette Pinot all day long,” he explains. The rest of the list is focused on the Pacific Northwest. 1410 N. Hwy. 99W; pauleerestaurant.com.
Sauvage, Portland, OR
Located in the same building as winery Fausse Piste, this new restaurant is owned by winemaker and chef Jesse Skiles, who pours not just his own bottles, but also those from small American producers like Bow & Arrow and Division Winemaking Company. On the menu: dishes like his signature black garlic Caesar and stuffed quail. 537 SE Ash St.; sauvagepdx.com.
Great Lakes Coffee, Detroit, MI
This stunning coffee shop in midtown Detroit has a fantastic list of obscure natural wines, like the 2009 Királyudvar Tokaji Furmint Sec from Hungary and the 2009 Tendal Tinto Ecológico from the Canary Islands. For a snack, there’s charcuterie from nearby Corridor Sausage Co. 3965 Woodward Ave.; greatlakescoffee.com.
The Raleigh Wine Shop, Raleigh, NC
This neighborhood shop stocks roughly 500 bottles of mostly affordable wines from small winemakers around the world. Co-owner Seth Hoffman explains its philosophy: "Every bottle of wine represents the best we found at its price." The three owners conduct classes and tastings, stock 12 wines in an Enomatic machine and host monthly parties with a visiting winemaker that end with dinner at a local restaurant. 126 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh, NC; theraleighwineshop.com; 919-803-5473.
Belly, Cambridge, MA
The owners of the Blue Room opened this new, smaller spot, where wine director Liz Vilardi sources mostly Italian and French wines, explaining that American wines from small producers tend to be pricier. Her list includes natural wines, orange wines and a section titled “funky/earthy/challenging.” Vilardi likes wine that’s “offbeat and kind of unusual,” she says. Chef Robert Grant serves unorthodox charcuterie, such as lamb bacon and scallop sausage. One Kendall Square; bellywinebar.com.
Flatiron Wines & Spirits, New York City
Value is the focus of this new store, an offshoot of Brooklyn’s fabulous Uva. More than 300 of its 1,500-plus bottles are $15 or less, including a 2010 Domaine Pierre de La Grange (Pierre Luneau-Papin) Muscadet for $14. There are tastings every weekend: sparkling wines on Fridays, special bottles poured by visiting winemakers on Saturdays and artisanal spirits and cocktails on Sundays. 929 Broadway; flatiron-wines.com.
Local-empire builders Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran (Lolita Restaurant) are continuing their revitalization of Philadelphia’s 13th Street with this Spanish-focused “ham bar.” Beverage director Terence Lewis creates sample-size food-and-wine pairings; with each order of sherry (47 kinds) or Spanish wine, he serves a little skewer of “various salted things,” like olives, chorizo and Manchego. “I’ll jam it right onto the glass,” he says. 105 S. 13th St.; jamonerarestaurant.com.
Murray’s Cheese Bar
At this new restaurant, down the block from NYC’s world-famous Murray’s Cheese shop, “Cheese is the focus of everything we do,” says mastermind Tia Keenan. “This is not a wine bar that has a great cheese collection, but rather a cheese bar that has a great wine and beer collection.” Two cheesemongers help to pair 30 mostly European wines by the glass with dishes like enchiladas salsa verde and buffalo cheese curds. 264 Bleecker St.; murrayscheesebar.com.