You don't have to be a sommelier to enjoy wine. But if you're looking to up your imbibing IQ when it comes to vino, Wine Enthusiast magazine's recently released, epic-length list of America's 100 Best Wine Restaurants 2013 is a fantastic place to start.
The list compiles the American restaurants with the most exemplary wine-and-food pairings. If you've ever wondered what sort of wine to pair with foie gras terrine with cocoa, hazelnut, sunchoke, and herbs, The Delmonico Room at Hotel Fauchere can tell you exactly that. (It's Martin Kerpen's 2007 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, FYI).
The Milford, PA restaurant is one of several spots on the list that hail from less-than-renowned culinary outposts in the US. It turns out great food and even better wine aren't just found in the lauded dining cities of New York, Chicago, or LA. Intriguing spots off the beaten track like Fornelletto Cucina & Wine Bar in Atlantic City, NJ and Goodstone Inn & Restaurant in Middleburg, VA decked the list right alongside culinary mainstays like NYC's Gramercy Tavern and California's Manresa.
In fact, the geography of the list sprawls throughout the continental US and even to Alaska, proving that a truly great wine restaurant is quite simply the product quality wines chosen with care and served in a convivial, welcoming atmosphere.
While the list represents America's elite wine restaurants, we're especially fond of those chosen spots that use wine and food to transport diners to exotic foreign locales or the culinary traditions of the land. There's Husk, the Charleston, SC hot-spot that's the embodiment of Lowcountry cuisine and culture, or Chicago's Spiaggia, which features a wine program that "takes an in-depth look at each region of Italia and dissects them by their individual terroirs." We'd also love to taste the interplay of white wine with the Japanese seafood offerings of Las Vegas' Yellowtail Japanese Restaurant & Lounge or the coastal Italian seafood at NYC's Marea.
Head over to the full list for more wine-mania. But winos, before you go, we'd like to know: where have you had a truly exceptional wine-and-dine experience?