Restaurant Orsay in Jacksonville, Fla., is committed to becoming the top fine-dining destination in the region, but the wine program is far from pretentious or intimidating. On the contrary, the diversity of styles, prices and formats means there’s truly something for everyone on the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence–winning list. It opens with 42 international by-the-glass options, followed by a page of “comparative tastings,” where guests can sample 4-ounce pours of two wines side-by-side. Twenty-two labels are available in half-bottles, and more than 30 are available in large formats.
Wine director and managing partner Jason R. Eddy seeks out producers that make lower-production wines with the same passion and care that drives the restaurant. Still, the program is impressively comprehensive. The full list of more than 1,000 selections has more than doubled in size since 2017, with strengths in California, France (especially Burgundy and Bordeaux), Italy and Oregon. You’ll find everything from collector’s items such as Salon Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Le Mesnil 1996 and 10 labels from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti to more than six dozen bottlings for $50 or less. Chef Michael McKinney brings Southern inspiration to French bistro cuisine, with menu items like a croque madame with spiced pork shoulder and Carolina trout with glazed haricots verts.