Best Cellars

These five Manhattan restaurants boast New York's most stellar wine lists

Some of the world’s most distinctive wine cellars are found in New York’s finest restaurants, but which ones are legends in the making? Our wine expert savors five top contenders.

Boulud Sud, 20 West 64th Street
This spacious Côte d’Azur–inspired venue is the latest jewel in Daniel Boulud’s mini-empire. Sommelier Michael Madrigale features wines from the Mediterranean basin; South of France offerings are especially strong.
Duly noted: Entire pages of Bandol (“The greatest Mediterranean wine region,” Madrigale says), and Cornas, a soulful wine from the northern Rhône.
Must try: Viñátigo Gual 2008 ($69), an earthy white from the Canary Islands with a green-olive and almond flavor.
Splurge on: Cuvée Cabassaou 1988 ($395), a Bandol from the legendary Domaine Tempier. When aged, it changes from caterpillar to butterfly, tasting at first like Bordeaux, but finishing like burgundy.

Casa Mono, 52 Irving Place
Mario Batali’s sole foray into Iberian cooking is one of the best places to discover new Spanish wines. Director Ashley Santoro focuses on emerging regions, including a recent flush of reds from Galicia.
Duly noted: An extensive sherry collection, plus wines from the Ribera del Duero and Priorat’s great producers, Alvaro Palacios and Clos Erasmus.
Must try: The Equipo Navazos La Bota de Manzanilla Pasada “Bota Punta” No. 20 ($115), made in limited quantities, has magical intensity.
Splurge on: R. López de Heredia Viña Bosconia Gran Reserva 1976 ($355). With age, it takes on earthy qualities.

Ciano, 45 East 22nd Street
This Italian hot spot features the flame-licked cooking of chef Shea Gallante. Wine director John Slover hand-picks some 200 bottles, from Piemonte and Alto Adige to Puglia and Sicily.
Duly noted: The fine selection of Super Tuscans and Barolos—and half-bottles on Slover’s market list are half-price.
Must try: The rarely seen Fontezoppa Serrapetrona Falcotto 2008 ($58)—it’s somewhat like an intense, highly perfumed pinot noir.
Splurge on: Cantalupo Ghemme Collis Breclamae 1990 ($220), a Nebbiolo from northern Piemonte with expressive red fruit, bright acidity, and sandalwood notes.

Eleven Madison Park, 11 Madison Avenue
This elegant four-star spot features imaginative dishes by chef Daniel Humm, smooth service, and an epic list. Director Dustin Wilson oversees some 3,000 selections dominated by French and Italian heavyweights.
Duly noted: Mouthwatering pages of Domaine François Raveneau, Bodegas Vega Sicilia, and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.
Must try: Clos Rougeard Cabernet Franc 2005 ($125), from Saumur-Champigny, a spicy, terroir-driven wine made by the legendary Foucault brothers.
Splurge on: Domaine Jamet Côte-Rôtie 1989 ($795). Its freshness, elegance, and perfume make it the quintessence of pure syrah.

Estiatorio Milos, 125 West 55th Street
Director Michael Coll places high-level Greek
wines on a pedestal, pairing them with a super-fresh Mediterranean seafood menu.
Duly noted: Malagousia, a flavorful, food-friendly white; Assyrtiko, a citrusy seafood white; and the cabernet-like Agiorgitiko.
Must try: Parparoussis Reserve 2004 ($130), a Nemean Agiorgitiko that tastes more like a Grand Cru burgundy, and Parparoussis Muscat De Rio Patras ($80),
a sublime Sauternes-style wine with good acidity and focus.
Splurge on: Evangelo ($160), a petite syrah from the preeminent Greek winemaker Gerovassiliou. It has impeccable balance, minerality, and acidity.

wine bottle: lars klove

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