Where Winemakers Eat: Part 1

By Gavin Smith

Jan 2nd, 2020

As we look ahead into the New Year, our heads are full of ideas of things to see and do in 2020. For any true epicurean, a list of top restaurants to visit in the next twelve months requires serious deliberation. To help inspire you, we asked some of our favourite winemakers from around the world to give their local recommendations.

Alsace – Olivier Humbrecht

Food and wine are taken very seriously indeed in Alsace and Olivier has provided a wealth of options to consider. Worth noting, Alsace has more Michelin starred restaurants than anywhere else in France.

Top recommendations for wine lists at reasonable prices in the region are Tavernes Alsacienne in Ingersheim and Restaurant de la Gare in Guewenheim.

The best for food /wine list combo would be Villa Lalique in Wingen sur Moder, Chambard in Kayserberg. Table du Gourmet (1 Michelin Star) in Riquewihr and Auberge Bouc Bleu in Beblenheim.

For a special occasion, don’t miss Aub de l’Ill (€€€) in Illhausern, which is a 2 Michelin Star restaurant. It was in fact a 3 Michelin Star restaurant up until recently but for Olivier it still is very much a 3 Star and worth the visit.

Burgundy - Christophe Roumier

"If you consider Burgundy to be larger than only the Cote de Beaune and Cote de Nuits, then my favourite restaurant is certainly Aux Terrasses in Tournus, which although only one Michelin Star, has a lovely creative cuisine full of energy and based mainly around local produce. The wine list is just perfect, although, like many places, it's full of young vintages. I like this place a lot!

Closer to Beaune, one of my favourite restaurants is Hostellerie de Levernois for the high level of its cuisine and its very accomplished wine list. But here the place is a little more fancy."

Brunello di Montalcino – Gianlorenzo Neri

The most authentic place in Montalcino area is Trattoria Il Pozzo or Il Leccio in Sant'Angelo in Colle (a village in south area of Montalcino). Inside Montalcino village do not miss Il Giglio, Alle Logge di Piazza, and Drogheria Franci. For special fine dining you must try Osticcio.

The best wine lists in town are at Il Giglio (you can find very old and rare vintages of Brunello from great wineries) as well as Drogheria Franci (same ownership of Enoteca La Fortezza who have an extensive wine list to choose from).

Do not miss "Pinci" with meat sauce or pecorino cheese and pepper (in italian "cacio e pepe"), it is the typical pasta of the area, or "Peposo" which is a braised beef meat cooked in a Brunello sauce.

Santa Barbara – Matt Dees (Jonata & The Hilt)

For dinner I would recommend the El Encanto restaurant which has beautiful sweeping views across Santa Barbara city. The food is awesome too.

Don’t forget to stop off at the Mercado Ice Cream Parlour too. This place has got to be making some of the best ice cream in California.

The Lark is pretty awesome. My personal favourite is Ca’Dario, a sort of no thrills Italian restaurant - the food is really authentic. We also have some of the best Mexican food being made in the US. These restaurants really are some of the jewels of the city. I love El Bagio but there are loads of great ones to choose from!

Chablis – Olivier Bailly – Domaine Billaud Simon

Too few people make the one hour drive from the Cote d’Or to Chablis; the region is an overlooked culinary hot spot that offers exceptional value compared to the Cote d’Or. Olivier Bailly’s favourite restaurant in Chablis is Au Fil du Zinc for "the precision" of the Japanese Chef. According to Olivier, "he produces very good French cooking with a Japanese influence". Le Syracuse is another restaurant he recommends for the quality-to-price ratio: "it is excellent!"

Burgundy - Veronique Drouhin

Veronique Drouhin also recommends the Bistrot du Bord de L'Eau in the commune of Livernois (just outside of Beaune). She describes it as “delicious, fairly priced and a lovely location both indoors and outdoors if the weather suits".

Another recommendation is the L'Hermitage de Corton, just outside of Beaune, on the way to Aloxe Corton. Again it offers "delicious food at a good price in a beautiful setting... plus the owners are delightful".

If you find yourself in the centre of Beaune, Drouhin recommends Le Carmin, “a one Michelin star restaurant, worthy of the star”. For 'bar and tapas' style evening with friends, her pick is the gastro-bar Maison du Colombier. Another recommendation in Beaune is Le Bistrot des Cocottes: “nice, fun, very good”.

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