The restaurants with the best wine lists are found all around the world. Their lists may not be the longest; instead, they tend to have the collectible, well-priced wines and hopefully even some bottles that can surprise a connoisseur.
One of the classics, particularly for Francophiles, is the vast wine list at La Tour d’Argent in Paris. This is called Le Grand Livre du Vin and is a magnum opus of wine lists. Beyond the sheer breadth of wine on offer, there are wonderful wines at relatively bargain prices.
What to look for
The best eateries will not intimidate with their lists and will ensure there is a strong choice of lower-cost wines to cater to all drinkers, including those who may feel they are bluffing their way through their selection. An expert sommelier – or at the very least, a helpful and well-informed wine service – is essential, and it is good to have mature vintages on hand that are ready to drink. This can be more complicated to fulfill, with the restaurateur either needing to buy directly from suppliers for years or source from reputable suppliers or private cellars where the storage conditions can be inspected.
The storage of wine in the restaurant is also important; for example, it is vital to have wines at the correct temperature for service. The best restaurants will have commercial wine coolers, which are available from suppliers such as https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/commercial-wine-coolers. These can even include dual temperatures and humidity control.
There has been a tendency for restaurants to inflate prices to extremes, with profit margins of 75 percent or more being common; however, with the rise of wine websites and apps, it is possible for customers to access the average cost of a bottle instantaneously. Many restaurants are getting more imaginative with their lists and providing better value than has traditionally been seen.
Raj Parr, the Californian winemaker, and sommelier believe Rekondo in San Sebastián has the best selection of Spanish wines in the world. Parr also highly rates Florida’s Bern’s Steak House and Roanne’s Maison Troisgros, where it is possible to get relatively good value Henri Jayer. He also highlights Pasquale Jones in New York as a smaller list with great producers and good value.
With so many great wine lists out there, it is time to get tasting!