Dallas Tastemakers 2018
Tastemaker Awards

Here's a toast to the 8 best restaurant wine programs in Dallas

Here's a toast to the 8 best restaurant wine programs in Dallas

toasting wine
A toast to the best wine program in Dallas. Courtesy photo

Whether red or white, rose or bubbly, a glass of wine can take a dining experience to the next level. It's the savvy restaurant that factors wine into the total mix.

As part of the 2018 Tastemaker Awards, CultureMap's celebration of the best of food and drink in Dallas, we're spotlighting the restaurants nominated by our panel of judges for the best wine program.

Some go for scope. Some boast exclusives. Some have unique selections by the glass.

We'll celebrate them and all of our other nominees at our Tastemaker Awards party April 19 at Sixty Five Hundred, with food tastings from chefs, and cocktails made with bourbon from sponsor Woodford Reserve. Tickets are on sale now for $55, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Bonton Farms.

Downtown Dallas restaurant from chef Bruno Davaillon has a French theme on the menu, and a wine list by sommelier Andrew Schawel to match. It's a stunning collection with some crazy-rare selections such as the 2015 Liger-Belair, La Romanée Grand Cru burgundy, $5500 a bottle and worth every penny. There are 40 white burgundies, which have become a sought after thing; and a thrilling 24 Champagnes, including two Krug Grand Cuvee Bruts. Their by-the-glass selection is plentiful and includes two "prestige pours" that allow you an affordable shot at a high-roller bottle such as the 2012 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego Margaux.

Dolce Riviera
Mediterranean-Italian restaurant from the Harwood Group is a chic spot that summons the spirit of the world's best-known resort, the Côte d'Azur. The menu is dominated by house-made pastas and seafood, and has an appropriate wine list to match. There are more than 4,000 bottles in the collection, starting at $35 all the way up to $6300. Sommelier-manager Danilo Di Nardo possesses a portfolio of contacts that has brought the restaurant a handful of exclusives including Ferghettina Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, a sparkling wine from Lombardy, Italy; and Sordo Barolo, a gorgeous ruby red from a vineyard in Perno. Di Nardo is heavily into verticals, offering multiple vintages of the same wine from the same label.

Eddie V's
Eddie V's being a steakhouse automatically means the wine list is going to be at least decent. It goes with being a steakhouse. But Eddie V's is not merely the predictable Land of Big Cabs. There's some personality here, some international flair, seen in a Terre Brulee chenin blanc from South Africa, or a fresh and fruity Stadt Krems gruner veltliner from Austria. And the prices don't gouge: You can find a number of bottles in the $40-$50 range, along with a plentiful selection by the glass.

Honor Bar
Bar at Highland Park Village from the Hillstone restaurant group is a casual clubby place with sliders, short ribs, and perfect martinis. The wine list is savvy, like a greatest hits of cool wines but with just enough surprises to hold your interest. It's sourced primarily from California, with Cabs from Napa Valley such as a 2015 Caymus, and a 2015 Raen Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast — but with a few imports such as a Sancerre from France or a Malbec from Argentina, to round it out. There are 26 wines by the glass including Texas label McPherson's Vermentino blend.

Lark on the Park
Restaurant off Klyde Warren Park from Shannon Wynne has a list that's compact, with 8 reds, 8 whites, 2 roses, and 4 sparklers — but it does the job. If you want a prosecco, you got one. There's a Love & Squalor pinot noir from the Willamette Valley, a Riesling from Gunther Steinmetz of Germany, and two wines that are organic, including a Mettler zinfandel from Lodi. Everything on the list can be ordered by the bottle or the glass.

Mediterranean restaurant is the sibling of Gemma, which is acclaimed for its well-chosen wine list; Sachet one-ups that with a selection of bottles from regions previously unexplored in these parts. It's a clever match for the broad culinary reach of their menu, with wines from Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Morocco, Slovenia, and Corsica. The average price of a bottle is about $50, offering an attractive opportunity to try something new.

Sixty Vines
Bustling Plano pizzeria from the Frontburner group (Whiskey Cake, Mexican Sugar, The Ranch) is named for the fact that it offers 60 wines by the glass, and that includes 40 wines on tap. Aside from the enormous step it represents in terms of eco-friendliness, it's also customer-friendly, as well. The menu offers options in a variety of quantities, from a 2.5-ounce sip to a 5-ounce mid-size to an 8-ounce big pour, plus thematic flights that let you sample and compare.

The Grape
Greenville Avenue longtimer has always been an oenophile destination — look at the name, hello — and that mantle has been assumed by co-owner Courtney Luscher, who has been a repeat nominee for CultureMap's Tastemaker Awards Best Sommelier in 2014 and 2016. She's been recognized for establishing an incredible wine-by-the-glass list — which you can get half-price during the restaurant's daily happy hour from 4:30-7 pm.