A proud piece of local news appeared in last Friday’s Saratoga TODAY newspaper—not necessarily surprising, but sometimes small-town recognition can be a feat of its own. Wine Spectator published a list of 3,743 exciting wine lists around the world—8 from our own wine-conscious town alone. The names: Chianti il Ristorante, The Grey Gelding, Longfellows, The Olde Bryan Inn, Prime at Saratoga National, The Village Pizzeria and Ristorante, Wheatfields, and The Wine Bar were all awarded the Award of Excellence.
A few of these, such as Chianti, The Gelding, and The Wine Bar, I was not surprised to see—I have spent plenty of time pouring over their lists online prior to dinner because I have a tendency to get lost in long wine lists, thus ignoring my table mates. Chianti has a staggering collection of Italian wines arranged by region. Gelding is great by the glass and excels in the new world department. The Wine Bar thrives on the obscure, often not selecting wines that are guaranteed loved-by-all. They take risks—it’s a great place to expand your palate.
The Village Pizzeria is the only place in town, and one of just 788 establishments worldwide, aiming for the Best of Award of Excellence. I have yet to dine there, but a full review is sure to come. Don’t miss their extensive by-the-glass menu including the ’05 Steele Stymie Merlot. The ’06 Honig Cabernet Sauvignon is a great bet if you want something special, or go big (and Italian) with an Amarone—they have many.
Congrats to the winners! Thanks Melissa Downer for writing this nice article in Saratoga TODAY.
A final thought. Some of the best wine lists I’ve encountered are focused, purposeful, and concise. A minimum of 100 bottles are required for a restaurant’s wine list to be considered—many incredible lists in Saratoga therefore are out by default. I’ve also had many terrible pours off extensive by-the-glass wines lists. Quality can suffer when the selection is too big—turnover is slow and wine sits, and sits. Confirm with the bartender or server that it’s fresh before you order—and a dumb pump plunger doesn’t count; those are worthless.