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10 Restaurants Big on Large-Format Bottles

Wine is big—literally—at these 10 Wine Spectator Restaurant Award winners
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Houston has a Grand Award–winning list featuring more than 350 large-format labels.
Photo by: Jack Thompson
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Houston has a Grand Award–winning list featuring more than 350 large-format labels.

Posted: August 2, 2018

When it comes to wine, size matters. Large-format bottles add a large-format “wow” factor to any occasion. Not only are they more impressively sized and rarer than their standard counterparts, their larger wine-to-ullage ratio means that they tend to age more slowly as well. These 10 Restaurant Award winners around the world do it big with breathtaking collections of magnums, double magnums and beyond.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s more than 3,700 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 91 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!


Atrio
Atrio’s wine cellar is spacious and beautifully organized.

ATRIO
Modern Spanish dining in an Old World setting
San Mateo Hotel, Plaza de San Mateo 1, Cáceres, Spain
(34) 927-242-928
www.restauranteatrio.com
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Grand Award
Wine list selections 4,200
Inventory 46,000
Wine strengths Offering one of the largest Restaurant Award–winning lists in Spain, the program built by wine director José Luis Paniagua Martin continues to grow. Martin added 400 labels when he revised the wine list in 2017, expanding New World selections and maintaining strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Spain, the Rhône, Champagne, Germany and Port. There are more than 200 magnums, including 15 vintages of Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera del Duero Unico, plus imperials from Château d'Yquem.
Cuisine Chef Pepi Giraldo presents regional Spanish cuisine through two tasting menus priced at $165 and $175, each with 12 courses.
Artistic list Contemporary art pieces by artists such as Andy Warhol and Sean Scully, on display throughout the restaurant and hotel, appear in pictures on the pages of the wine list as well.
Fortress town Atrio is located in the historic city of Cáceres, a designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site. The restaurant’s name gives a nod to the area’s heritage. It translates to “atrium,” a core component of Mediterranean architecture.


Sara Essex Bradley
Commander’s Palace has established itself as the New Orleans spot for celebrating special occasions.

COMMANDER’S PALACE
A New Orleans icon fit for special occasions
1403 Washington Ave., New Orleans, La.
(504) 899-8221
www.commanderspalace.com
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Grand Award
Wine list selections 3,150
Inventory 27,000
Wine strengths Wine director Dan Davis built this stunning list of classic selections from around the world, excelling in Burgundy, California, the Rhône, Bordeaux, Italy, Champagne, Spain, Germany, Loire, Languedoc-Roussillon and Austria. Thirteen pages of large-format bottles include several vintages from producers like Karthäuserhof, Château Gombaude-Guillot and Col d'Orcia.
Cuisine The menu is an upscale approach to Creole cuisine, featuring signature dishes like turtle soup and crispy soft-shell crab. Chef Tory McPhail follows in the footsteps of legendary chefs and Commander's alums Emeril Lagasse and Paul Prudhomme.
Bounty of bubblies Commander’s Palace is known for its jazz brunch and overall celebratory vibe, and the wine program reflects that with about 250 Champagne selections including dozens of grower Champagnes and more than 30 large-format labels.
Ongoing legacy The restaurant originally opened in New Orleans’ Garden District in 1893. Owner Ella Brennan, who played a major role in establishing Commander’s Palace as a culinary icon, died at 92 this past May. Her family continues running the restaurant with Brennan’s mission to deliver excellent cuisine and a top-notch customer experience.


La Toque
La Toque features creative French cuisine from a wine-loving chef.

LA TOQUE
A comprehensive wine list with a focus on local labels
The Westin Verasa Napa, 1314 McKinstry St., Napa, Calif.
(707) 257-5157
www.latoque.com
Open for dinner, daily

Grand Award
Wine list selections 2,230
Inventory 24,000
Wine strengths Chef Ken Frank also manages the wine program with wine director Richard Matuszczak, highlighting landmark regions like Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, the Rhône and Spain. But the true star of the list is the local Cabernet. Among the California Cabernet Sauvignon selections are prized bottles from the 1980s and ’90s and lengthy verticals from Araujo, Diamond Creek, Bond and Dalla Valle. The list also offers 120 international magnums and eight double magnums from France and Napa.
Cuisine Frank's tasting menus are made to pair with wine, with French-influenced international dishes like seared foie gras with polenta and chanterelles and Hawaiian kanpachi crudo. Options range from four courses for $110 to nine courses for $220.
Going digital La Toque transitioned to an iPad-supported wine list several years ago and continuously updates the program. With this format, guests can easily navigate the colossal wine collection.
Gateway list The hefty wine list can intimidate some diners, so Frank created a condensed, two-page list of wines under $200 that he feels pair especially well with the menu.


Brooke Fitts
Metropolitan Grill is one of seven restaurants to earn the Grand Award for the first time in 2018.

METROPOLITAN GRILL
A steakhouse championing Washington wines
820 Second Ave., Seattle, Wash.
(206) 624-3287
www.themetropolitangrill.com
Open for lunch, Monday to Friday and dinner daily

Grand Award
Wine list selections 2,900
Inventory 17,300
Wine strengths When Aaron Wood-Snyderman became Metropolitan Grill’s wine director in 2016, he set out to create the world’s best Washington wine list. In-state selections are now the core strength of the list, which also shines in California, Italy, Burgundy, the Rhône and Oregon. The list has six pages of large-format bottles from France, Italy, Spain, Australia and more.
Cuisine The wine list’s emphasis on Washington’s Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots and Syrah create the perfect foil for chef Stan Ross’ signature steaks sourced from a local ranch.
Somm-picked standouts A page of sommelier selections highlights a handful of labels that typically hover around $100, accompanied by details on the vineyards, aging processes and tasting notes.
Evolving list The wine program has grown steadily since Metropolitan Grill opened in 1983. Wood-Snyderman added 700 labels in 2017, earning the restaurant its first Grand Award in 2018.


Palais Coburg Residenz/Tina Herzl
At Palais Coburg, wine director Wolfgang Kneidinger manages a list with more than 550 magnum bottles.

PALAIS COBURG
Wine is king in this luxurious palace
Palais Coburg Residenz, Coburgbastei 4, Vienna, Austria
(43) 1-518-18-130
www.palais-coburg.com
Open for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday

Grand Award
Wine list selections 5,400
Inventory 50,000
Wine strengths In 2007, wine director Wolfgang Kneidinger added $21 million of wine, doubling the inventory and earning the restaurant is first Grand Award that year. Kneidinger continues to add to the list’s biggest strengths of Austria, Bordeaux and Germany with increased focus on Burgundy and the Rhône, plus standouts in Italy, California, Champagne, Spain, Australia and Port. The list features 24 pages of large format bottles with more than 550 magnums and more than 100 double magnums.
Cuisine Chef Silvio Nickol blends Austrian and French cuisines on his various tasting menus, which range from five courses for $175 to nine courses for $220.
Big on Bordeaux Palais Coburg’s wine list is especially spectacular when it comes to large-format Bordeaux. There are dozens of Château Lafite Rothschild labels representing more than 20 vintages in magnum, double magnum, jeroboam and imperial, and dozens more from Château Latour and Château Mouton-Rothschild.
Wine lover’s heaven At Palais Coburg Residenz, guests can choose from various Victorian-styled suites with luxurious details like private terraces and views of the garden. The hotel offers an array of wine experiences including a guided tour of the five onsite cellars and themed tastings for more advanced connoisseurs.


Rebecca Lorrine Roberts
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Dallas is one of the concept’s two Grand Award–winning locations.

PAPPAS BROS. STEAKHOUSE DALLAS
A Southern staple for wine and steak
10477 Lombardy Lane, Dallas, Texas
(214) 366-2000
www.pappasbros.com
Open for dinner, Monday to Saturday

Grand Award
Wine list selections 4,100
Inventory 32,000
Wine strengths Wine director Barbara Werley presents a balanced list of steak-friendly selections, strongest in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhône, Australia, Piedmont, Spain, Tuscany, Port, Germany and Austria. The program’s collection of large-format bottles is especially impressive, offering more than 400 labels including about 45 imperials and a balthazar—a 12-liter bottle—of Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Volcanic Hill 1985 ($11,000).
Cuisine The classic American steak-house menu features corn-fed and USDA Prime beef dry-aged in-house. Chef James Johnson also serves traditional sides and appetizers, plus various seafood options like pan-seared sea bass and Maine lobster.
Wine-centric concept Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Houston also holds a Grand Award for its 4,100-selection wine list with more than 350 large format-labels, and the location in downtown Houston holds a Best of Award of Excellence for its 3,200 selections.
Continuing tradition Brothers and owners Harris and Chris Pappas entered the restaurant industry with inspiration from their grandfather, who moved from to America from Greece in 1897 and opened multiple restaurants across the South. The business remains privately owned and operated by the Pappas brothers.


Martin Dyrløv Madsen
PM & Vänner takes an ultramodern approach to dishes like langoustine from Fjällbacka with carrot, elder and langoustine emulsion.

PM & VÄNNER
A world-class wine program in the secluded forests of Sweden
Storgatan 22-24, Växjö, Sweden
(46) 470-75-97-10
www.pmrestauranger.se
Open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday; closed for the summer until Aug. 16, 2018

Grand Award
Wine list selections 4,500
Inventory 14,500
Wine strengths From small, emerging producers to landmark labels, the wine list is well-rounded and offers solid depth and exceptional breadth. The program excels in Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, Spain, the Rhône, California, Champagne and Germany. Wine director Rubén Sanz Ramiro is also a big proponent of Austrian wines. More than 300 magnums are sprinkled throughout the list.
Cuisine Scandinavian cuisine has been showcased in restaurants around the world, but chef Anders Lauring achieves true authenticity by sourcing ingredients from nearby woods, lakes and meadows.
Dine and unwind The “gastro-hotel,” as owner Per Bengtsson calls it, features stylish, contemporary lodging in 74 unique rooms and suites. Though it’s a boutique format, the hotel has a gym, pool, spa and other traditional amenities. Sprawling acres of woods surround the remote property.
High-tech cellar PM & Vänner’s renowned wine collection is stored in a high-security cellar that was formerly the vault of a local bank. The state-of-the-art storage doesn’t offer the romance of an ancient European cellar, but the movable shelves and modern inventory system provide optimal efficiency.


Allan Rosenberg
At Post Hotel Dining Room, the seasonal menu includes dishes like Alberta bison tenderloin.

POST HOTEL DINING ROOM
A Swiss Alps–inspired wine destination in Canada
Post Hotel & Spa, 200 Pipestone Road, Lake Louise, Canada
(800) 661-1586
www.posthotel.com/cuisine/dining
Open for lunch and dinner, daily; closed Oct. 11 to Nov. 21, 2018

Grand Award
Wine list selections 2,600
Inventory 25,500
Wine strengths Post Hotel Dining Room’s cellar is overseen by George Schwarz, who owns the hotel with his brother, Andre. There are more than 200 magnums on the list, which shows strength in California, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, the Rhône, Australia, Champagne and Canada.
Cuisine The hotel’s elegant dining room showcases a regional menu by chef Hans Sauter. Dishes include a tartare of local beef and pan-seared, miso-marinated black cod from British Columbia.
Lasting appeal Post Hotel & Spa was originally opened as Lake Louise Ski Lodge and has since evolved into a modern hotel fit for luxury skiing vacations. The restaurant earned its first Restaurant Award in 1995 and its first Grand Award in 2002.
Year-round operation Though it's set in an ideal spot for skiing, the hotel has an array of activities for summer guests such as horseback riding through Banff National Park, whitewater rafting on the Kicking Horse and Kootenay Rivers, and guided hikes.


Robuchon Au Dôme
Robuchon Au Dôme lends an intriguing Asian flair to French dishes.

ROBUCHON AU DÔME
Big bottles on the biggest Grand Award–winning list
Grand Lisboa Hotel, Avenida de Lisboa, Macau, China
(853) 8803-7878
www.grandlisboahotels.com/en/grandlisboa
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Grand Award
Wine list selections 16,800
Inventory 510,000
Wine strengths Wine director Paul Lo oversees the cellar, where you’ll find heavy hitters in Bordeaux, Burgundy, Germany, the Rhône, California, Tuscany, Piedmont and beyond.
Cuisine Asian influences accent the French menu by chef Julien Tongourian, with plates like a Niçoise salad with slow-boiled egg and tuna belly and black cod with bok choy and coconut foam.
Massive magnum collection The mind-boggling offering of large-format bottles includes more than 1,000 magnums from the world’s top producers, such as Domaine Leflaive, Château Lafite Rothschild and Caymus.
Under one roof Robuchon au Dôme boasts the largest Grand Award–winning wine list. It shares the cellar with Grand Lisboa Hotel’s two other Restaurant Award winners: Grand Award winner Casa Don Alfonso and Best of Award of Excellence winner the Kitchen.


Il Convivio Troiani
Il Convivio Troiani honors traditional Roman cuisine through a contemporary lens.

IL CONVIVIO TROIANI
A Roman restaurant with a light menu and a heavy wine list
Vicolo dei Soldati 28, Rome, Italy
(39) 0-66-869-432
www.ilconviviotroiani.com
Open for dinner, Monday to Saturday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 3,600
Inventory 36,800
Brothers in business Brothers Massimo, Giuseppe and Angelo Troiani opened the restaurant in 1990. In 1998, they relocated Il Convivio Troiani to its current location around the corner, in a historic building with three dining rooms, vaulted ceilings and a courtyard.
Wine strengths Massimo serves as wine director for the Italian-focused list. Tuscany and Piedmont selections stand out, but Burgundy and Champagne are also well represented. There are more than 200 wines available in magnums and an additional 80 available in double magnum.
Cuisine Chef Angelo works with sustainable and organic ingredients from local farmers to create an eco-friendly, health-conscious Italian menu. The dishes are artfully simple, like lamb with anchovies, eggs, parsley and capers and turbot with black lime and caviar.
Elusive Italian labels Massimo recently added several rare aged Italian whites from producers such as Cantina Terlano and Pio Cesare going back to 1956.


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