The world’s finest wines

Oenophile Bruce Palling lines up ten international restaurants with great wine lists

I have been passionate about wine ever since I first tasted a robust Australian Red in my youth. It wasn’t long before I was experiencing the best that France had to offer while staying with friends in Paris in the Seventies. Before the ban on transporting liquids on aircraft, I made it a habit to always travel with at least half a dozen bottles to far-flung places – there is nothing quite like drinking Chateau d’Yquem on the edge of a jungle in a remote part of Indonesia or a magnum of voting-aged Chateau Latour next to a swimming pool in southern Africa. Now that there are great wine lists to be found around the globe, it is far easier to turn up at these destinations and put yourselves in the capable hands of the local sommeliers. Read on for my pick of restaurants around the world with unusually wonderful wine lists.

1. Taillevent, Paris

This gastronomic institution is renowned for having a selection of more than 3,000 wines and the best value list in Paris. Here, it is even possible to discover rare French wines at less than their retail price.
Try Chassagne Montrachet (Domaine Michel Niellon) 2002, EUR€80

2. The Square, London

Just off Bond St, The Square, run by chef Phil Howard, has two Michelin Stars and one of the most comprehensive lists of great French wines in London.
Try Nuits-Saint-Georges Clos des Forêts (Domaine de L’Arlot) 2005, £135.00

3. Tempo by Martin Berasategui, Cancun

Internationally acclaimed Basque chef Berasategi has made this the most important resort restaurant in Cancun. The seven-course tasting menu also comes with a thoughtful selection of international wines.
Try 12 Linajes Tempranillo Reserva 2007, £56

4. Michys, Miami

Located on Miami’s Upper East Side and run by a husband and wife team who offer what they term ‘luxurious comfort food’ accompanied by an impressive wine list. Local farmers and fishermen are tapped for the best local produce.
Try Pommard Les Vignots Vincent Girardin 2005, USD$100

5. Paese Ristorante, Toronto

In the heart of Toronto’s theatre district, Paese has no fewer than four sommeliers who together curate one of the best value wine lists in the country, with several hundred selections. As an added bonus, the Italian-influenced cuisine is chic and simple and the outdoor patio is heated.
Try Barbaresco, Prunotto 2008, CAD$70

6. Amuse Bouche, Hong Kong

Perched on the 22nd floor of a building in bustling Wan Chai, Amuse Bouche not only has the best value wine list in Hong Kong, but panoramic views of the city. Hong Kong is a wine lover’s Mecca as there is no duty, so it is possible to drink some of the best value wine anywhere on the planet.
Try Chateau Vieux Chateau Certan (Pomerol) 2001, HK$1700

7. Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

A firm favourite since I first visited in 2000, this north east Thai restaurant has some of the most authentic Thai cuisine outside of Thailand. Located in an obscure shopping mall, it also boasts an extraordinary wine list of several hundred from around the globe.
Try Duckhorn Merlot (Napa Valley) 2002, USD$60

8. Grammercy Tavern, New York

Danny Meyer’s classic restaurant has been cherished by its customers for two decades. It is stylish yet traditional, with impeccable service, pleasurable cuisine and an extraordinarily good value wine list.
Try Ramey Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) 2008, USD$78

9. Fix St James, Sydney

This modest establishment near Sydney’s law courts is owned by an award-winning sommelier, Stuart Knox, and has one of the most eclectic wine lists in the city. Best to chose from their extensive list of Rieslings – both local and international.
Try Mount Langi (Grampians) 2000, AUS$95

10. Pergola, Rome

Famed for its three Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck, La Pergola also has Rome’s most comprehensive fine wine list with a cellar of more than 60,000 bottles.
Try Tignanello (Antinori) 2004 EUR€140

Photo by The Square

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