Wine lists have never been better, easier, and more affordable than right now. You might still pay for selection, level of service, and location, but there are many options that allow a great fit for every occasion and price point.
A Selection with a Purpose: Meritage
This is a world-class list. There are so many great wines to pick from. There’s a solid focus on France, yet it doesn’t ignore other regions for what they do well: You’ll find California cabs, Oregon pinot noir, and Barolo from Piedmont, to name a few. A list of this depth takes time to plan. Carrying this kind of inventory shows both an emotional and financial commitment to being one of the best.
Something for Everyone: Ginger Hop
This list is well thought out. It’s not huge, but it’s broad in its selection. I was impressed that pinot noir and riesling topped the red and white sections, because these are the wines that go best with their food. The other attention grabber for me was the pricing. It’s not much over retail.
Worth the Sommelier: Sea Change
Simply put, Sea Change has food and wine pairings that work. If you are going to pair wines with Tim McKee’s food, you better bring your best game. Sommelier Bill Summerville knows what he’s doing, and he and the staff help make the meal complete. This list is what Sea Change’s menu and clientele call for, with no corners cut.
On a Budget: Pairings Food & Wine Market
If not actually, it’s close to the biggest wine list in town—the wine shop is the wine list. You go into the restaurant, order your food, grab a table, then go next door to the wine shop to find the wine you’d like with dinner. There’s a huge selection, retail pricing, fun and knowledgeable staff, plus no corkage fee.