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10 Desert Getaways for Wine Lovers in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona

Check out these dining hotspots in the Valley of the Sun
Photo by: TSR Marketing
Witness captivating sunsets at Talking Stick Resort's Orange Sky restaurant in Scottsdale.

Posted: March 16, 2017

With Sonoran desert beauty, year-round sunshine and eclectic Southwestern cuisine, Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., should be on your radar when considering your next wine-and-dining destination. Whether you’re in town for the NCAA basketball Final Four or planning a warm-weather retreat, these 10 restaurants are top-notch destinations for wine lovers in the Valley of the Sun. To check out more great wine-dining spots, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,500 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including our 46 Restaurant Award winners in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area and the 87 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!


Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge

2502 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Telephone (602) 522-2344
Website www.christophersaz.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

If you find yourself craving French fare in Phoenix, be sure to consider Christopher's Restaurant and Crush Lounge, co-owned by chef-and–wine director duo Christopher Gross and Paola Embry. Gross’ menu includes boudin noir with frites, a bacon and Taleggio pizza, and lobster and brandy puff pastry. The moderately priced list, managed by Embry along with food-and-beverage manager Ben Sinon, has earned a Best of Award of Excellence since 2015 and offers 550 selections, with strengths in Burgundy, California and Italy. If sampling is more your style, choose from over 40 wines by the glass, all of which are half-off during the restaurant’s daily happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.


Kai

Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, 5594 W. Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Chandler, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 385-5726
Website www.wildhorsepassresort.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass
Kai celebrates the history and culture of the local Pima and Maricopa tribes.

For a family-friendly warm-weather getaway, look into the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler. While kids will enjoy the resort’s 1880s Western theme park, 111-foot waterslide and multiple swimming pools, adults will appreciate access to two 18-hole golf courses and the spa. The resort’s crown jewel, however, is the Best of Award of Excellence–winning Kai restaurant, where wine director Kevin Lewis’ list provides an abundance of choice bottles from California, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Italy and Washington. Chef Ryan Swanson’s menu is influenced by the cuisines of the local Pima and Maricopa American Indian tribes and uses ingredients farmed from the nearby Gila River Indian Community to create dishes such as cocoa- and mesquite-cured duck breast with blue corn tamale, grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo with scarlet runner bean chili and wild scallops with kuri squash and red corn pasta.


Lon's at the Hermosa

The Hermosa Inn, 5532 N. Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Telephone (602) 955-7878
Website www.hermosainn.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Lon's At The Hermosa
Enjoy Southwestern cuisine and breathtaking views at Lon's at the Hermosa.

In Paradise Valley, just north of Scottsdale, the Hermosa Inn has served as a desert retreat since the 1930s, when acclaimed Arizona cowboy painter Lon Megaree first began using it as a private getaway. Though the ownership has since changed, several original works by Megaree can still be found throughout the inn, including at its Best of Award of Excellence–winning restaurant, Lon’s at the Hermosa. There, indulge in chef Jeremy Pacheo’s globally inspired Arizona cuisine, including Himalayan salt–seared ahi tuna, beef braised short ribs with green chili and goat cheese polenta, and local durum flour fettuccine with wild boar ragù. Alternatively, opt for the chef’s tasting menu, which changes weekly. The wine list, engineered by beverage director William Parker, boasts 700 selections, offering breadth and depth in California, Burgundy and lesser-known French regions, as well as a generous selection of Arizona bottles.


Orange Sky

Talking Stick Resort, 9800 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 850-8606
Website www.talkingstickresort.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Some of the best views in Scottsdale can be found at Orange Sky. Located on the 15th floor of Talking Stick Resort, the restaurant pairs its Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine program with 360-degree views of the sunset over the city for a picture-perfect special-occasion toast. The selections from California, Burgundy and Italy are particularly strong on wine director Wednesday Nowak’s list, which also includes over 30 options for sparkling wine and Champagne. Chef Ron Dimas’ menu includes plenty of steak-house favorites, as well as dishes with a local twist, such as Wyoming buffalo New York strip steak with chokeberry sauce and slow-braised pork shank with Pima polenta.


Talavera

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 513-5085
Website www.talaverarestaurant.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday
Best of Award of Excellence

Barbara Kraft / Four Seasons
Pinnacle Peak provides a gorgeous backdrop for an evening at Talavera at the Four Seasons.

In the foothills of Pinnacle Peak at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale, Talavera is a wine-and-dining lover’s dream, with stunning desert views. Wine director Shaun Adams’ program has earned a Restaurant Award since 2005 and is matched by an impressive cellar, with strong showings from California, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Italy. Chef Chuck Kazmer’s farm-to-table menu specializes in steaks but also provides eclectic dishes like vegan pappardelle with wild mushroom ragù, agave- and sage-glazed half chicken, and a foie gras “s’more” with graham cracker French toast, sweet potato marshmallow and Oaxacan chocolate porter sauce.


Vincent Guerithault on Camelback

3930 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Telephone (602) 224-0225
Website www.vincentsoncamelback.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Known for its charming French cuisine and neighborhood atmosphere, Vincent Guerithault on Camelback has been a Phoenix dining staple for over 30 years. Chef Guerithault’s menu includes classic dishes such as veal tenderloin with red wine and thyme sauce, and macadamia-crusted sea scallops with basil beurre blanc alongside Southwestern-inspired plates like duck tamale with Anaheim chile and smoked salmon quesadilla with horseradish cream. Wine director Howie Buttrick’s program, a Best of Award of Excellence winner since 1997, has a longstanding history of serving top-notch bottles; today, the list offers 650 selections, with a focus on Bordeaux, Burgundy and California. At the end of the meal, consider ordering your dessert in liquid form, and choose from well over two dozen Sauternes options, including a vertical of Château d’Yquem dating back to the 1960s.


Beckett’s Table

3717 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
Telephone (602) 954-1700
Website www.beckettstable.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Beckett’s Table
Enjoy wines from France, California and Arizona on the list at Beckett's Table.

Few things pair together better than good friends, good food and good wine. Evidence of this can be found at Beckett’s Table, located in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood, which was born from the friendship between two husband-and-wife teams: chef Justin Beckett and his wife Michelle and sommeliers Katie and Scott Stephens. Though the wine list focuses on bottles from California and France, a dozen Arizona options are available by the glass. The menu is filled with comfort dishes, like locally milled grits with sausage and mustard, green chili pork stew with Cotija cheese, and cast-iron petite chicken with bacon-biscuit stuffing. Chef Beckett makes a point to use fresh ingredients from farms within a 30-mile radius of the restaurant. Can’t get enough? Try the four friends’ other Award of Excellence–winning restaurant in Phoenix, Southern Rail.


Durant's

2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Telephone (602) 264-5967
Website www.durantsaz.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Get nostalgic at Durant’s, an institution of Phoenix dining for over 60 years, where chef Ken Giordano serves classic chophouse fare—think broiled steaks, oysters Rockefeller, sautéed chicken livers and crab cakes with chipotle aioli. Choose from one of the 225 selections offered on wine director and owner Jack McElroy’s moderately priced list, which has earned an Award of Excellence since 2001 and focuses on California bottles. Feeling festive, or celebrating with a large group? Three dozen options are available in large-format bottles.


J&G Steakhouse

The Phoenician Resort, 6000 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Telephone (480) 214-8000
Website www.jgsteakhousescottsdale.com
Open Dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

J&G Steakhouse
For a romantic evening in Scottsdale, try J&G Steakhouse at the Phoenician.

Lauded chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the brains behind the steak-house fare at J&G Steakhouse, located in the foothills of Camelback Mountain at the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale. The experience doesn’t disappoint: Chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin’s menu includes luscious choices like black truffle cheese fritters and sweet-and-sour beet risotto among the abundance of steaks, which can be made even more indulgent with the topping of a half lobster or sautéed foie gras. Beverage director Markus Carlson’s wine list numbers 450 selections, two dozen of which are available by the glass, and highlights California, Bordeaux and Burgundy. If you’re lucky, you may be able to grab a seat on the restaurant’s jaw-dropping sunset patio.


Quiessence at the Farm

The Farm at South Mountain, 6106 S. 32nd St., Phoenix
Telephone (602) 276-0601
Website www.www.qatthefarm.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Award of Excellence

Quiessence at The Farm
Get cozy at Quiessence at the Farm at South Mountain.

Making its home at the 10-acre Farm at South Mountain, Quiessence at the Farm is a gorgeous dining destination just a short drive from downtown Phoenix. Take a stroll through the breathtaking grounds’ groves and gardens to get a sense of what’s to come on chef Dustin Chirstofolo’s menu, which uses ingredients from surrounding farms. Idaho sturgeon with sweet potato fume, local guinea hen roulade with turnip puree, and Arizona beef carpaccio are just a few of the à la carte options. Tasting menus are available in five or six courses, while the Brick Oven experience offers a private eight-course dinner for two to six guests led by the chef team. The wine list also makes a point to go local, championing a wealth of bottles from Arizona and New Mexico alongside options from California, France and Italy.

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