10 most exciting restaurants to drink wine in Houston right now

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There has never been a better time to be a wine lover in Houston. New restaurants opened in recent years offer carefully curated wine lists or unique tasting experiences. Sommeliers dive into adventurous styles and lesser-known wine regions to keep selections fresh for guests. And the mainstays of the Houston restaurant scene have continued to bring high caliber wine to the fine dining table.

Aaron and Victoria Bludorn opened their namesake restaurant in the summer of 2020, and it quickly became one of the hottest tables in Houston. Wine director Molly Austad, whose background includes Pappas Bros. Steakhouse and McGuire Moorman Hospitality in Austin, is in charge of the wine program. The predominantly classic list relies heavily on French producers, especially Burgundians, and is supplemented by bottles from Italy, Spain and the United States, among others. At the top of the list are half-bottles and large-format bottles as well as reserve peaks by the glass. Three selections of porrón are a fun feature: $ 50 gives you a traditional Catalan pitcher with a spout for pouring wine straight into your mouth. 807 Taft, 713-999-0146; Bludornrestaurant.com

Pescado Horneado de Caracol, taken today, whole roasted, pictured, Wednesday July 16, 2014, in Houston. (Nick de la Torre)

Nick de la torre

Caracol

Chef Hugo Ortega’s Mexican Coastal Restaurant with a focus on fish and seafood also has his company’s most engaging wine program, overseen by H-Town Restaurant Group Beverage Manager Sean Beck. The list begins with a “what to drink right now” page of rotating selections, as well as stories about the wines and the producers. The rest is organized by style, with presentations telling guests what to expect in a fun and informative way. The list ends with selections of Mexican bottles. 2200 Oak Post, 713-622-9996; caracol.net

The entrance to the Degust tasting menu restaurant, in a gated industrial complex on Long Point, gives the place a secret club feel.

The entrance to the Degust tasting menu restaurant, in a gated industrial complex on Long Point, gives the place a secret club feel.

Alison Cook / Staff

Tasting

Dining at newcomer Degust’s is like walking into someone’s home for a grand dinner, except with great food and service. The 12-course tasting menu is best ordered with the wine pairings, each delivered personally by sommelier Dale Ellington, who explains why he chose the wines for each dish with clarity and enthusiasm. A one-page wine list is also available for selections by the bottle. It focuses on fun, off-the-beaten-path Spanish wines complemented by other wines from Portugal, France, California and Mexico. 7202 Longue Pointe, 281-707-4623; degusthouston.com

MORE FROM EMMA BALTER: Here’s your guide to the Texas Hill Country wineries.

A sparkling Italian rose in Giacomo's new Cibo e Vino wine coupes

A sparkling Italian rose in Giacomo’s new Cibo e Vino coupés

Alison cook

Cibo e Vino by Giacomo

Giacomo’s, Chef Lynette Hawkins’ River Oaks restaurant, delights not only with its home-made pasta and comforting Italian cuisine, but also with its carefully curated wine list that goes beyond great Italian players. Giacomo’s presents wines from 15 different regions of the country, including lesser-known places like Sicily, Friuli, Umbria, Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna and more, as well as the pillars of Piedmont and Tuscany. The list also features an entire page of orange wines and indicates when a selection is made by a female winemaker or is made in a sustainable, organic or biodynamic manner. 3215 Westheimer Road, 713-522-1934; giacomosciboevino.com

The March restaurant in Montrose has a wine cellar of 11,000 bottles.

The March restaurant in Montrose has a wine cellar of 11,000 bottles.

Julie soefer

March

March in Montrose, by the Goodnight Hospitality team, is one of the city’s newest restaurants with tasting menus only. The high-caliber dining experience here is matched by the wine program, overseen by General Manager and Beverage Director Mark Sayre and his team of five sommeliers. The 80-page list comes from the 11,000-bottle March cellar, covering all the classic regions and grape varieties of France, California and Italy – Champagne and Burgundy lovers will be especially happy here. Under the radar selections from places like Austria, Germany and South Africa add a sense of discovery. Food and wine pairings are also available for the six- and nine-course tasting menus. 1624 Westheimer, 832-380-2481; marchrestaurant.com

By special request, Prime Tomahawk Rib Eye Steak Dry Aged at Pappas Bros.  Steakhouse

On special request, the Dry Aged Tomahawk Prime Rib Eye Steak at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Pappas Bros. Steakhouse / Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Pappas Bros Steakhouse

There is no better place in Houston to burn a hole in your pocket on wine than Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. The depth and breadth of the restaurant’s selections are impressive, spanning all parts of the wine world. The collection of red and white Burgundy, Californian Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux in particular is dizzying, offering the most renowned producers and several older vintages. The Champagne, Red Rhone, Italian and Spanish sections of Pappas are also noteworthy. 5839 Westheimer, 713-780-7352; 1200 McKinney, 713-658-1995; pappasbros.com

The Roots Wine Bar offers a fun wine program via an enomatic wine machine.

The Roots Wine Bar offers a fun wine program via an enomatic wine machine.

Nael Diab

Roots Wine Bar

Distributing wine through an enomatic machine can so often be a failure, but it’s a total success at Roots Wine Bar, which opened in February in the East End. Take a card from the host’s booth and swipe it around the various stations to release payouts from rotating wine selections. Each bottle comes with a pocket card offering more wine information, and the friendly staff are always on hand, ready to answer any questions. JD Fouché oversees the wine and food, which is much more ambitious and well executed than it even takes for a wine bar. 3107 Leeland, 713-818-2079; rootshtx.com

Interior of the new Rosie Cannonball, 1620 Westheimer.
Interior of the new Rosie Cannonball, 1620 Westheimer.Julie soefer

Rosie Cannonball

Rosie Cannonball is March’s little sister; the two restaurants share the 11,000-bottle cellar. Rosie’s wine list is more concise, hitting all the notes of classic French, Italian, and American regions with a small sample of selections from each, as well as bottles from Portugal, Spain, and Greece. Some interesting finds in the Loire and Rhône sections in particular, not to mention the two pages of bubbles and a full page of playful rosé and orange wines. The program is also good value for money, with the majority of bottles under $ 100 and many $ 70 or less. 1620 Westheimer, 832-380-2471; rosiecannonball.com

Flowered by the glass at Squable

Flowered by the glass at Squable

Alison Cook / Staff

Square

The creativity of this Heights kitchen haunt extends to its wine list. Squable is the place to go if you want to experience something new and quirky, whether it’s Serbian pinot noir, bubbles from Armenia, or Mexican orange wine. The list is rather “natural”, but there are also more conventional wines, reaching pockets of France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, South Africa, Australia, California, Oregon and Washington. 632 W. 19th, 832-834-7362; squabletime.com

Burger at Vic & Anthony

Burger at Vic & Anthony

Landry / Landry

Vik & Anthony’s Steakhouse

This steakhouse is another big hitter that will satisfy Houston’s deep pockets and spending accounts. Vic & Anthony’s has perhaps the most impressive selection of Bordeaux reds in town, including many premier and second crus and older vintages dating back to the 1940s. (A 1982 Château Lafite-Rothschild for $ 15,000, that’s tempts you?) The California Cabernet and Burgundy sections are also worth a visit; the latter comprises three entire pages of the Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. The list also has strengths in the Rhône, Spain, and Piedmont and Tuscany in Italy. 1510 Texas, 713-228-1111; vicandanthonys.com


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