Date: 29 December 2012
Location: Manhattan
Wine: La Rioja Alta 2001 Rioja Reserva Especiale Viña Ardanza
Cuisine: Eclectic American

Wine List: Dewey Dufresne, father of Chef Wylie, carefully curates WD~50’s wine list. Options range from the familiar to the unheard-of, with a healthy range of prices and plenty of room to splurge.

Pick: Fourteen of us gathered in the cozy private dining room. I was promptly charged with choosing the reds. (The happy couple, whose 20th anniversary we were fêting, brought the whites, all from the year they met.) With barely a glance, I plucked a delectable magnum of Frappato. However, the second choice was less easy. Slowly proceeding through a 15-course tasting menu, I couldn’t predict when the following courses would appear. Furthermore, next was black bass with squash, cherry and juniper followed by squab with tomato hummus, pickled turnips and tzatziki. Clearly, the accompaniments posed a challenge. I opted for this well-aged, supple and profound Rioja. I knew the wine, knew my friends love Rioja and knew we could happily sip through the 1.5L if the next course took a while. Besides, old Rioja can be so majestic…and 30% less than a good – and younger – Burgundy.