Super Early Bird Ends
December 10, 2020
April 23, 2021
2021 Judging Date
May 16, 2021
Value in wine is not the cheapest price. Additional dimensions of distinctiveness and interest typically require $15 to $20 per bottle.
Below are some of the restaurants with best wine lists in America where you can get a fine wine for less cost.
The newest addition to the Champagne-loving patisseries stable of Cheryl Wakerhauser. Bar Vivant focuses on the delicious with a list of tapas and an ambitious list of 350 wines, including a large range of sherries and, of course, 150 Champagnes, all of them very slim. This could be the only place in America to drink Champagne.
Ambonnay is a close second after Pix when it comes to budget Champagne destinations. They happen to be located in the same city, but they're both deserving of the list. This is the first wine bar to concentrate only on Champagne and sparkling wine. The bubbly markups are some of the lowest in the world, and the choices strike a smart balance between growers and big houses.
A one-stop-shop for off-road natural wines mixed with an accessible blend of well-crafted classics. The appeal here isn't a deep winery; it's thin markups across the board and a consistently strong selection of wines under $50, with many diving down to the $20 level.
Alta remains one of Manhattan's best-kept secrets. The winery, maintained by Christopher Chestnutt, is home to some of Rioja's best back vintage offers from the 1950s, most of which were priced far below retail prices. The list also contains a rock-solid range of back vintage wines from Tuscany and Piedmont blended with newer releases of great wines under $75. You can drink really well about $50 here, but the sweet peak is in the $75-200 range where you'll find amazing wines with decades of age at rates you just can't see in this city anymore.
NYers, remember Becco, huh? Eighteen years after Joe and Lidia Bastianich opened the restaurant on the terrific, touristy 46th Street, Becco's cellar is a relic in the best sense. It boasts a complete range of solid wines priced at $25, but the appeal is the 'Reserve list,' home to loads of back vintage wines that are priced as if they were bought in another period for Italian wines.
EMP is not giving away wine at basement prices, but it still belongs to this list simply because there is no other restaurant cooking at the four-star stage with markups that are so low on this diverse collection. The wines are priced at the regular price or below the standard price, and there is a good selection of wines under $75. Yet high-end costs make the decision to splurge much simpler than one would expect.
Although Gilt is in the twilight of his life (he's supposed to close sometime in the next few months), it's worth remembering before he does. Wine director Patrick Cappiello has created what Eater calls "New York's Greatest Sleeper Wine List." The draw here is a list of white Burgundy, which is deep and priced far below normal. The list is also full of gems in the $50 dollar range that makes diving in the bottom shelf especially satisfying. Get in there until it locks.
This is the old school list in the best sense of the word. Run by wine director Glenn Vogt, who spent two decades creating the list. All the classics from France, Italy, and California at affordable prices, with plenty of lower end qualities that will be nice to the trained eye. Go out with someone who can sniff it out and take the pillage.
Another classic that has been used to the linen-clad Sag Harbor crowd for years. The prices are low, and the cellar is very deep. The wine list contains 85 pages, 1,700 choices, and 30,000 bottles. It's a ride, but one that will bring benefits to both the low end and the high end. Think of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and the German Riesling.