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12 Capital Wine Lists to Try in Washington, D.C.

For wines foreign and domestic, these restaurants’ lists have our vote
At Masseria, chef Nicholas Stefanelli's Italian cuisine complements the extensive wine list.
Photo by: Scott Suchman
At Masseria, chef Nicholas Stefanelli's Italian cuisine complements the extensive wine list.

Posted: March 15, 2018

Updated: March 15, 2018

This year's Wine Spectator Grand Tour kicks off April 20 in Washington, D.C.. While you’re in town tasting more than 200 wines rated 90 points or more, keep the great wine flowing with meals at Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners. These 12 destinations showcase the city’s bustling dining scene, with wine lists offering impressive breadth and depth across many regions, styles and vintages. If you haven’t already, buy your tickets to the D.C. tasting, and get details on the next stops in New York City and Las Vegas. To check out more great wine dining spots across the globe, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,700 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 91 Grand Award recipients holding our highest honor.


Bourbon Steak

Four Seasons Hotel Washington, D.C., 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Telephone (202) 944-2026
Website http://www.fourseasons.com/washington/dining/restaurants/bourbon_steak/
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Stirling Elmendorf
With five Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations across the country, restaurateur Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak combines top-notch wines with a variety of choice chops.

Based in the heart of Georgetown at the Four Seasons Hotel, Bourbon Steak’s D.C. location has earned a Best of Award of Excellence since 2009. Choose from an array of beef cuts, as well as an assortment of seafood options, on chef Drew Adams’ menu. Wine director Winn Roberton oversees the 850-selection list, with strengths in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and Italy, rounded out by several dozen large-format bottles.


Flight Wine Bar

777 Sixth St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 864-6445
Website www.flightdc.com
Open Dinner, Monday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Courtesy of Flight
Husband-and-wife team Kabir Amir and Swati Bose run the show at D.C. wine bar Flight.

There are plenty of wine bars to choose from in D.C., but few have the breadth and depth of Best of Award of Excellence winner Flight Wine Bar in Chinatown. Wine directors Swati Bose and Kabir Amir oversee the 505-selection list, which features strengths in France, Burgundy, Italy, California and Spain, as well as offerings from countless wine regions around the globe, to pair with chef James Barton’s contemporary Italian dinner menu. True to its name, the restaurant provides flight options spanning 10 pages, as well as a selection of choice fine and rare pours accessed via a Coravin wine-preservation system, which allows drinkers to sample a wine without removing the bottle's cork.


Fiola

601 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Telephone (202) 525-1402
Website www.fioladc.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Greg Powers
At Fiola, Fabio Trabocchi's Italian cuisine is a prime pairing for wine strengths in Piedmont, Tuscany, Burgundy, Bordeaux, California and Champagne.

Just blocks from the National Mall, between the White House and the Capitol, you’ll find Best of Award of Excellence winner Fiola, the flagship restaurant of chef-owner Fabio Trabocchi. A native of Italy's Marche region, Trabocchi aims to capture the authenticity of regional Italian cooking in dishes such as foie gras with soft polenta, lobster bisque with a squid-ink tuile and lamb with celery root purée. Wine director Casper Rice guides the 1,500-selection list, which focuses on Piedmont, Tuscany, Burgundy, Bordeaux, California and Champagne, including nearly 60 options in half-bottle.


Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

750 15th St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 489-0140
Website www.joes.net
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

Though there are three Best of Award of Excellence–winning locations of Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab across the country, only one is steps from the White House. Kevin Bratt guides the wine program at the D.C. location, which features nearly 450 selections, with strengths in California and France to pair with your choice of steak or seafood. In addition to its lunch and dinner hours, the restaurant is also open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, when it offers half-priced wines by the glass.


Le Diplomate

1601 14th St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 332-3333
Website www.lediplomatedc.com
Open Dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

James Jackson
Le Diplomate features a wine list that reflects its French cuisine.

Craving classic French bistro cuisine in D.C.? Try Award of Excellence winner Le Diplomate in Logan Circle. There, chef Mike Abt’s menu includes comforting favorites such as moules frites, steak au poivre and onion soup gratinée to be enjoyed in the classic café atmosphere, with seating “en plein air” on warmer days. Wine director Erik Segelbaum’s moderately priced, 350-selection list offers strengths in France and California.


Masseria

1340 Fourth St. N.E.
Telephone (202) 608-1330
Website www.masseria-dc.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Scott Suchman
Pair Masseria’s Italian dishes with a bottle from their 885-selection list.

Named for a farm in Italy’s Puglia region, Masseria showcases chef Nicholas Stefanelli’s Italian roots through both wine and cuisine. Wine director John Filkins’ nearly 900-selection list is strongest in Tuscany and Piedmont but also shines in Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux and California. Wine pairings are available with each of the tasting menu options: four courses for $92 per person, five for $108 and six for $135. For a more intimate dining experience, guests can also book an eight-course chef’s table dinner. The dishes are an intersection of traditional and trendy, with plates such as linguini with XO sauce and risotto with venison.


Plume

The Jefferson, 1200 16th St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 448-3227
Website www.plumedc.com
Open Dinner, Tuesday to Saturday
Best of Award of Excellence

Stirling Elmendorf
Wine director David Metz manages an inventory of 6,000 bottles at Best of Award of Excellence winner Plume.

For a D.C. dining experience that’s truly presidential, head downtown to Best of Award of Excellence winner Plume. Located at the historic Jefferson Hotel, the restaurant pays homage to the wine-loving third president’s tastes in both its dinner and beverage menus, including dishes inspired by the harvest from his kitchen gardens at Monticello and a vast array of Madeiras dating back to the mid-1800s. Wine director David Metz oversees the 1,400-selection list, emphasizing California, Burgundy, the Rhône, Bordeaux, Spain, Champagne and Italy, plus plenty of local favorites from Virginia.


Proof

775 G St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 737-7663
Website www.proofdc.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

A gem of the Penn Quarter, Proof has earned a Best of Award of Excellence since 2012. Cheese and charcuterie offerings fill two full pages of chef George Rodrigues’ contemporary American menu, and guests are encouraged to share and sample a variety of small and large plates. California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne and the Rhône are major focuses on wine director Ben Kuna’s 1,200-selection list, which features verticals of many cult classics, including Screaming Eagle and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.


RPM Italian

650 K St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 204-4480
Website www.rpmrestaurants.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Best of Award of Excellence

One of six Best of Award of Excellence winners in the Lettuce Entertain You group, RPM Italian offers an extensive wine program and modern Italian fare. Wine director Cindy Woodman manages the list of more than 1,000 selections, about 20 of which are offered by the glass. The list is strongest in Piedmont, Tuscany and California, with collector’s bottles such as Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Toscana Masseto 1998 ($2,398) and the 1982 and 1988 vintages of Gaja Barbaresco Costa Russi ($1,314 and $1,292). Chef Doug Psaltis’ menu has a contemporary spin, including pastas made fresh daily like spaghetti with king crab and Fresno chile and pappardelle with short-rib ragu.


Blue Duck Tavern

Park Hyatt Washington, 1201 24th St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 419-6755
Website www.blueducktavern.com
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

At the Park Hyatt Washington in Georgetown, Blue Duck Tavern pairs seasonal American cuisine with an Award of Excellence–winning list.

Award of Excellence winner Blue Duck Tavern in Georgetown focuses on serving seasonal, locally sourced American cuisine, including dishes such as wood oven-roasted bone marrow, duck breast with tomato-orange marmalade and crispy octopus with braised bean ragout. The wine list highlights California and France, and also features a smattering of local wines from Virginia, New York and Maryland. Of the 350 selections offered, more than 40 are available by the glass.


Iron Gate Restaurant

1734 N St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 524-5202
Website www.irongaterestaurantdc.com
Open Dinner, daily; lunch, Tuesday to Friday
Award of Excellence

Courtesy of Iron Gate Restaurant
Enjoy Iron Gate Restaurant’s Award of Excellence–winning wine list on its outdoor patio.

In a historic property in the heart of Dupont Circle, Iron Gate Restaurant serves Mediterranean cuisine inspired by Greece and Italy. From chef Anthony Chittum, a tasting menu option is offered in six courses, with optional wine pairings in addition to the à la carte menu. The 200-selection list has earned an Award of Excellence since 2015, championing indigenous grape varieties from regions across the two countries, and for the less wine-inclined, more than 30 bottles of beer and cider round out the beverage list.


Jaleo

480 Seventh St. N.W.
Telephone (202) 628-7949
Website www.jaleo.com/dc
Open Lunch and dinner, daily
Award of Excellence

Greg Powers
Jaleo is one of José Andrés’ 15 Restaurant Award winners.

Jaleo, the original Spanish restaurant from superstar chef José Andrés and co-owner Rob Wilder, has five locations with creative, tapas-style menus, including four Award of Excellence winners. The D.C. location, located in the Penn Quarter, stands out from the pack, with a selection of more than a dozen wines sourced from the cellar at famed restaurant El Bulli in Spain, which closed in 2011 and whose legendary wines were auctioned off by Sotheby’s in 2013. Gems from that collection include Álvaro Palacios L'Ermita 2003 in magnum and Bodega Numanthia Termanthia Toro 2004. Wine director Andy Myers’ 230-selection list is strong in Spanish choices from regions around the country, and includes several Sherries.

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