8 Top-Notch Restaurants Celebrating Local Wine

Get a taste of first-rate regional wines from these lists devoted to their neighbors

8 Top-Notch Restaurants Celebrating Local Wine
Canada's River Café offers a tranquil escape for wine-loving diners, with a list highlighting nearby vineyards. (Courtesy of River Café)
Apr 22, 2021

Today’s top chefs and sommeliers aren’t just obsessing over what’s on the plate and in your glass—they’re also placing more importance than ever on where it came from. When it comes to wine, classic selections from traditional regions remain cherished, but exploring local vineyards is an exciting way to rediscover familiar places. These eight restaurants showcase the best their local wine regions have to offer. And for more wine-and-food destinations around the world, check out Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 100 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!

Note: Opening hours and menus are subject to change as the industry continues to adjust to evolving regulations.


Fleurie Restaurant

108 Third St. NE, Charlottesville, Va.
Telephone (434) 971-7800

Website www.fleurierestaurant.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Soft-shell crab from Fleurie Restaurant
At Fleurie, soft-shell crab is prepared with a modern French twist. (Joseph Scala)

At Fleurie, careful sourcing is as important for the wine list as it is for the locally driven fare. Wine director Melissa Boardman oversees the Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list offering a mix of high-end bottles and affordable options to complement chef Joe Walker’s modern French cuisine. The 420-selection list always includes at least 60 to 80 bottles priced at $65 or less, with particular value in Chenin Blanc and Northern Rhône Syrah. There are also numerous local bottles from Virginia wineries such as Lovingston and Horton to pair with dishes featuring sauces made using classic French methods like Chilean sea bass with bouillabaisse and beef tenderloin with Bordelaise and creamed spinach.


The Joel Palmer House Restaurant

600 Ferry St., Dayton, Ore.
Telephone (503) 864-2995
Website www.joelpalmerhouse.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The Joel Palmer House wine cellar
The Joel Palmer House Restaurant’s cellar is a treasure trove of Oregon wines. (Courtesy of the Joel Palmer House)

The Joel Palmer House Restaurant is named for one of Oregon’s 19th-century pioneers, and the wine program is also a tribute to the Beaver state. All of the nearly 400 labels on owner, chef and wine director Christopher Czarnecki’s list are from Oregon vineyards. The premier Willamette Valley region plays an especially large role on the list, which is supported by a 2,000-bottle inventory. These wines are available to pair with Czarnecki’s regional American, prix-fixe menu, including wild-mushroom risotto, escargots, beef tartare, sturgeon and Chinese five-spiced duck breast.


Press Restaurant

587 St. Helena Highway, St. Helena, Calif.
Telephone (707) 967-0550
Website www.pressnapavalley.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 Steak and a hasselback potato next to a glass of red wine
Press offers the chance to discover a range wine-and-food pairings, or stick with the classics like Cabernet Sauvignon with red meat. (John Troxell)

Located in the St. Helena region of Napa Valley, there’s plenty of local wine forPress Restaurant to pull from for its wine program. In fact, the Best of Awards of Excellence–winning restaurant claims the largest selection of Napa wines in the world. The 1,600-label list is heavy on the region’s many Cabernets, with verticals from top wineries like Mayacamas, Rudd, Bond, Opus One and Bryant Family. There are also plenty of Merlots, Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and Zinfandels; recently appointed wine director Vincent Morrow says the list represents a thoughtful exploration of the region’s history. There are many options for pairing wines with Press’ steak-house fare, and for other items on chef Philip Tessier’s menu, like bacon-griddled cornbread, duck-fat potato, pan-seared scallops, smoked swordfish and charred octopus.


River Café

Prince’s Island Park, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Telephone (403) 261-7670
Website www.river-cafe.com
Best of Award of Excellence

 The entrance to River Café
Flowers and greenery fill the property at River Café. (Courtesy of River Café)

Perched on the bank of the Bow River in Prince’s Island Park, River Café has been a Restaurant Award winner since 1997. Chef Ross Bowles’ menu uses ingredients from nearby farms for plates like heritage-grain risotto with squash and a glazed pork loin with birch syrup and roasted carrots. The Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list is also heavily regional. While the 500 selections highlight France, Italy and California, Canadian selections are the heart of the list. Wine director Bruce Soley keeps an inventory of 6,000 bottles showcasing Canadian producers in Okanagan Valley, Niagara and Prince Edward County.


Sud777

Blvd. de la Luz 777, Mexico City
Telephone (52) 55-5568-4777
Website www.sud777.com.mx
Best of Award of Excellence

 Tables set in the dining room of Sud777
Sud777 celebrates Mexican wines in a modern atmosphere. (Courtesy of Sud777)

Presenting a whirlwind of contemporary Mexican cuisine in a stylish venue—plus a 400-plus-selection wine list championing local selections—Sud777 has its finger on the pulse of vogue dining in Mexico City. Wine director Ruben Rodarte presents a carefully organized Award of Excellence–winning wine list, where selections from Mexico, Italy, California, France and Spain are well-highlighted. Baja California takes the spotlight with more than 30 choices, and the by-the-glass program prompts diners to try lesser-known grape varieties or regions. There are top wines from Sonoma, Piedmont, Tuscany and the Rhône Valley as well, which offer additional pairings for chef Edgar Nuñez’s seasonal Mexican menu. In addition to a tasting menu, there are à-la-carté choices like asparagus in a white cheese sauce, ash-crusted octopus, kampachi toast and chicharrón soup.


The Marc Restaurant

Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, 6 W. Rose St., Walla Walla, Wash.
Telephone (509) 525-2200
Website www.marcuswhitmanhotel.com
Award of Excellence

 A salmon dish at the Marc Restaurant
The Marc Restaurant gives diners a taste of classic American fare while highlighting the local wines of Washington. (Courtesy of the Marc Restaurant)

In picturesque Walla Walla, Wash., the Award of Excellence–winning Marc Restaurant, located in the Marcus Whitman Hotel, boasts one of the most extensive wine lists in the area. The wine team highlights local flavors from producers like Cayuse and Chester-Kidder. The restaurant also makes its own local wines. The 260-label wine list encourages local exploration and food-pairing creativity, and includes helpful details like a map and region overview. In addition to the Marc Restaurant, there’s also a cozy Vineyard Lounge on site, featuring the same wine selections.


Pecan Grill at the Overton

Overton Hotel & Conference Center, 2322 Mac Davis Lane, Lubbock, Texas
Telephone (806) 776-7010
Website www.overtonhotel.com/dining
Award of Excellence

 A private-dining space at Pecan Grill at the Overton
The decor is fittingly Texas-influenced at the Pecan Grill at the Overton. (Courtesy of Pecan Grill at the Overton)

Sink your teeth into regional Texas cuisine and get a taste of the state’s rising wine region at the Award of Excellence–winning Pecan Grill at the Overton. Located in the Overton Hotel, the restaurant embraces the Texas High Plains and the pioneering attitude of the diverse populations that settled there. Wine director Sheena Teel oversees a wine list of more than 130 selections that includes bottlings from Texas wineries like Becker and McPherson Cellars, covering styles from white to rosé to dessert wines. Wine picks from California are similarly strong. The inexpensive list gives guests a helping hand, providing label images, winery overviews and tasting notes.


Quiessence at the Farm

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

 Nighttime shot of the outdoor dining area at Quiessence at the Farm
Quiessence provides a farm-driven dining experience, with a strong wine list to match. (Courtesy of Quiessence at the Farm)

Just minutes from downtown Phoenix, Quiessence at the Farm is part of a 10-acre working farm and offers rustic fare that’s often either homegrown or locally foraged. This applies to the wine list too, where co-owners Dustin and Pat Christofolo offer 150 selections with strengths in California, France and Arizona. Available by the glass at this Award of Excellence winner are several Arizona selections, many from Cochise County. These wine picks join Dustin’s American menu, which highlights local ingredients in dishes like pistachio soup, roasted kohlrabi–and-apple salad, halibut tortellini and crispy-skin steelhead trout. Seasonal tasting menus are also available.


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