Stellar from their Cellars
Crabtree is always ferreting out the new and esoteric
to keep his 65,000-bottle cellar at Crabtree's Kittle
House stocked with must-have wines. Lately, though,
it's been tough to stay head of the cognoscenti.
are in an incredibly prolific era of high-end, exceptionally
high-quality wine," he says.
if he had to pick a favorite? The one bottle of which
he is most proud?
some prodding, he chose the 1997 Imposter McCoy from
sine Qua Non, which he has on the list for $325.
maker Manfred Krankl never makes the same wine twice,"
he says. "One hundred cases a year only. he stumbled
upon our restaurant and like it so he sends us some.
he chooses you."
was a difficult task for Jonathan Pratt, too. After
all, for Pratt--owner of Peter Pratt's Inn in Yorktown
and Umami Cafe, in Croton-on-Hudson and in Fishkill--choosing
a favorite wine might be harder than choosing a favorite
love a $48 bottle that blows them away with tannins
and fruit," he says. "I'm turning them on
to secret wines in the $40 to $60 range that have
sold like crazy in the last two years. I still like
the big guns, but I've re-focused my list and I'm
finding the mid-priced range equally exciting."
perhaps it's no surprise he chose a 2001 Domaine de
Pegau Chateauneuf du Pape, which sells for $85.
create exciting wine lists, many restaurants rely
on long relationships with distributors or vineyard
representatives. Others actively seek out the rarest
or the smallest production.
persuaded his distributor to get him a "sublime'
Phelps Syrah that he was repeatedly told didn't exist.
Billy Ratner, wine director for chef Peter X. Kelly's
restaurants for 15 years, tracked down three irreplaceable
bottles of 1973 Dom Perignon Enotec ($675 on the menu.)
use our networks to et special bottles: a heads-up
at a wine show, a visit to a chateau, or feedback
from our customers, too," says Ratner. "And
a wine becomes special because the winemakers are
an example: the Landini family, who made the 1999
Prunaio Viticcio that Ratner and Kelly choose as their
stood in the vineyard a year after it was planted,"
says Ratner. The bottle costs $74.
Donahue of The Willett House credits owner George
Slider with a major commitment to wine over the last
four years of his ownership. Under the watchful eye
of general manager and wine director, Dennis Gallagher,
900 to 1000 selections wait under the restaurant and
a new dining room is planned for wine with a whole
wall of racks. While the list range from $35 tall
the way to $1700, "California ca is king,"
says Donahue. It's no surprise that customers choose
these big, smooth reds to pair with restaurant's porterhouse
and sirloins, or that Gallagher points to 199 Reserve
Cabernet Sauvignon from Benziger Family winery as
a favorite. (He calls his choice "local flavor,'
because the Benziger family "emigrated"
to Sonoma from Westchester.)
it any surprise, either, that La Panetiere's owner
Jacques Loupiac chose a Bordeaux to showcase his cellar,
which has between 15,000 and 20,,, bottles/ He likes
the 1989 Chateau Nenin Pomerol, which sells for $125,
even tough his list include some very old and special
bottles, including a 1914 Latour.
favors the Pomerol becuase it is reasonable, and it
matches his French menu.
personally find great pleasure when I pick a 'discovery'
at any level of growth or region and savor it for
what it represents," he says.
Hausman is a restaurant critic for the Journal News.