Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oceanique's Legendary Wine Program is about Greatness at Any Price Point

Throughout its 25-year history, Oceanique has built such a great wine program that the restaurant has become a magnet for people who are knowledgeable about wine and want to try some of the best in the world. "Our wine cellar is so extensive that we have a wine for anyone, no matter what dishes they are enjoying, what style of wine they prefer, or what their desired price point," says Oceanique's Wine Director, Philippe André.  

André has been leading the wine program at Oceanique for several years and his passion for wines and his commitment to the wine and spirits enjoyment of his guests, continues to grow. "We have invested heavily in our wine collection so it is a true joy to share our bounty with our guests," he says. "I love educating our guests and helping them to choose the most enjoyable and appropriate wines to suit their food and their mood."  

Oceanique's collection, which includes more than 700 labels and between 8,000 and 9,000 bottles, has earned national recognition from Wine Spectator, the most prestigious wine publication. As the winner of Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence" every year since 1994, Oceanique's wine list is considered among the 750 best in the world. 

"We believe that great wine and great food together create a perfect marriage, and so we devote as much time and attention to our wine program as we do to our culinary program," says owner and chef Mark Grosz. "Our approach is to offer our guests many options, all of which lead to a memorable wine experience. We have many great wines by the glass and half bottles, several levels of wine pairings and a comprehensive selection of wines by the bottle, all from all around the globe."  

The success of the wine program can be measured in several ways, but one measuring stick they are particulary proud is the long list of wine aficionados who have been coming to Oceanique for many years. "Our clientele is discerning and knowledgeable about wines," says André. "Our mission is to present them with wines that, in addition to being great at any price point, are a perfect fit for their stylistic preferences and their food. If we accomplish that, we have succeeded. We also enjoy raising the bar even higher by introducing them to lesser known wines that are of surprisingly great quality and are a great value. We are thrilled to share our great finds with our customers."  

On any given evening, one will find André in the dining room or at the bar area, talking passionately and uncondescendingly to his guests about his suggestions for wine pairings. "I love being a wine educator, talking wine with both experts and novices alike," he explains. "It gives me great satisfaction to see the look of joy on our guests' faces when they sample a new wine that is the perfect match for their meal." 

The multi-faceted nature of Oceanique's wine program makes it easy for guests to enjoy a personalized wine experience. Oceanique offers three levels of wine pairings (wine flights) which begin with a glass of champagne and then a glass of wine with each course. Guests who wish to enjoy more than one wine can order wine by the half glass, full glass or half bottle (375 ml). The list of wines by the bottle is extraordinarily varied and well organized. Wines can be enjoyed for modest prices or, for those who want to splurge, there are numerous great and rare wines that are high-priced but worth every penny.  "Our objective is to offer great wines at any price point, and we think we've been very successful in doing this," says André. "Every guest deserves a great wine experience and we won't offer anything less."  

Wine Pairings
The breadth and depth of Oceanique's wine list can be daunting to wine lovers who are less knowledgeable. But André is more than pleased to offer guests a very enjoyable wine pairing, with selections chosen to complement each course of the meal. All wines are explained in detail and the presentation is casual and relaxed.  

There are three levels of wine pairings. The Introductory Wine Pairing ($65) features a glass of Champagne to start, followed by a special wine with each course. The Premier Cru Wine Pairing ($99 per person) is even more precise and elegant, featuring only wines with the Premier Cru designation. For guests who would like a true oenological adventure, André will serve a Grand Cru Wine Pairing ($199 per person) featuring exceptional wines from Oceanique's wine cellar.  

The Chef's Reserve List
Topping Oceanique's outstanding wine collection is the Chef's Reserve List, featuring rare, extraordinary wines that are also exceptional values. Bordeaux wines on the Reserve List include a 1990 Chateau Latour ($1,776), a 1990 Chateau Lafite Rothschild ($1,675) and a 1966 Chateau Mouton Rothschild ($900).  

Other Reserve List selections of note are the 1970 Château Magdelaine Saint Émilion ($450), a 1989 Château Margaux ($595) and several Bordeaux wines from great years, including the 1961 Château Montrose ($950) from the Saint Estéphe region and a 1961 Château Lynch-Bages ($850) from the Pauillac region; the 1982 Chateau Giscours ($385) from Margaux and the 1982 Chateau Poujeaux ($350) from the Moulis-en-Medoc region.  

Champagnes by the half bottle range from $50 to $75 and include Pierre Peters Brut Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru; Duval-Leroy Brut Rosé, Vertus; and Chartogne-Taillet Brut "Cuvée Saint-Anne. Champagnes by the bottle are organized into serveral collections, from exclusive rare vintages to Champagnes that are reasonably priced and great values.  

The "Vintage" Champagne collections by the bottle range in price from $144 for the 2000 Henri Mandois Blanc de Blancs, Premier Cru to $900 for the rare 1982 Dom Pérignon Brut. Other excellent vintage Champagnes by the bottle include the 1999 Dom Perignon Brut ($255), 1996 Henriot "Cuvée des Enchanteleurs" Brut ($320), 1998 Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne "Cuvée Bell Epoque" Brut ($205), 1999 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut "Gold Label" ($165), Nicolas Feuillatte "Cuvée Spécial Milliésmé" Brut ($175), and 1999 Louis Roederer Brut "Cristal" ($425).  

Oceanique's Grower Champagne collection features estate grown and bottled selections ranging in price from $115 for the Serveaux et Fils Brut "Carte Noire" to $175 for the Varnier-Fanniere Brut Rose, Grand Cru. Other choices include Franoicse Bedel Brut "Entre Ciel et Terre" (100% Pinot Meunier; $160) and the Jean Milan Brut Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru ($140).  

Multi-vintage and non-vintage Champagnes range in price from $88 for the Raymond Henriot Brut to $305 for the Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut, Multi-Vintage. Other excellent choices include the Henriot "Blanc de Blanc Souverain" Brut ($140), Nicolas Feuillatte Brut "Extrem" ($110), and the Alfred Gratien Brut "Classique" ($104).  

Rosé Champagnes
Vintage Rosé Champagnes on the list are headed by the rare 1997 Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé "Grand Siecle Alexandra ($495) and the 1985 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Rosé Reserve "Rare Vintage" ($215). Multi-vintage and non-vintage Rosé Champagnes include the Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Rosé, Multi-Vintage, the Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé ($195) and Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé ($175).  

Sparkling Wines
The Sparkling Wine collection includes selections from Germany, Austria, Alsace and California. European sparkling wines include a 2000 Max Richter Riesling Brut "Mulheimer Sonnenlay" ($82) from Germany's Mosel region, Szigeti Welschriesling Sekt Brut "Methode Traditionalle" ($55) from Burgenland, Austria, Pierre Sparr Brut Blanc de Blancs "Marquis de Perlade" ($50) from the Alsace region, and Llopart Cava Rosé Brut Reserve ($66) from Penedes, Spain.  

Domestic sparkling wines include a 2007 Schramsberg Vineyards Brut "Blanc de Noirs" ($70) from California's North Coast, Domaine Chandon "Étoile" Brut ($80) from Napa/Sonoma, and Roederer Estate Brut Rosé from Anderson Valley, California ($79).  

White Wines
Another well represented collection at Oceanique is the White Burgundy/"Old World" Chardonnay collection. Chardonnay and White Burgundy wines by the half bottle range from $35 to $84. Excellent choices include the 2008 Michele & Patrice Rion Nuits-St.-Georges "Les Terres Blance", 2010 Kistler "Vine Hill Vineyard from the Russian River Valley, and 2006 Testarossa "Castello" from California's Central Coast.  

Topping the list of vintage white burgundy wines is the 1992 Domaine Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru ($900).  One also will find excellent choices in the 2005 Francois Mikulski Meursault "Genevieres" Premier Cru ($175), 2009 Paul Peronot Bienvenue Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru ($365), 2006 Maison Champy Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru ($195), 2005 Sequinot-Bordet Chablis "Vaudesir" Grand Cru ($175), and the 2006 Michel & Joanna Ecard Savigny-Les Beaune "Lès Goudelettes" ($135).  

Domestic Chardonnay wines are also plentiful at Oceanique. There are several Williams Selyem wines to choose from, such as the 2010 "Drake Estate Vineyard" from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma ($175), the 2008 Hartford Court "Stone Coate Vineyard from the Sonoma Coast ($140), the 2009 ZD Estate "Reserve" from Napa Valley ($160), and the 2004 Hamacher "Cuvee Forets Diverses" from Williamette Valley ($96).  

Rhône wine lovers will enjoy the 2009 Tardieu-Laurent Hermitage Viognier ($150) or the 2009 Davis Family Vineyards "Cuvee Luke" from the Sierra Foothills in California ($64), a blend of 48% Roussanne, 35% Marsanne, and 17% Viognier.  

The Sauvignon Blanc wine collection includes both European and domestic wines. Leading the pack is the 2005 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fume de Pouilly "Silex" ($290) from the Loire Valley in France. Italy is represented by the 2005 Angelo Gaja "Alteni di Brasica" from Langhe, Italy ($190). Value wines in this group include the 2010 Clos Pegase Estate "Mitsuko's Vineyard" from Napa Valley ($64) and the 2012 Terranoble from Central Valley in Chile ($48).  Notable Chenin Blancs include the 2004 Nicolas Joly Savennières "Clos de la Coulée de Serrant" ($195) and the 2008 Domaine des Baumard Savennières "Clos du Papillon" ($115).  

Another well-represented group at Oceanique is the Riesling wines. French Rieslings include the 1996 Rolly Gassmann "Kapelweg de Rorschwihr" ($160) and the 2000 Domaine Marcel Deiss "Saint-Hippolyte" ($117), both from the Alsace region. German Rieslings include the 1990 Max Ferd. Richter "Veldenzer Elisenberg" from Spätlese-Mosel and the 2001 Markus Molitor "Zeltinger Sonnenuhr" from the Auslese-Mosel.   Aficionados of Gewürztraminer wines can select a 2003 Albert Seltz "Zotzenberg" Grand Cru ($128) and the 2003 Rolly Gassmann ($92), both from Alsace. A very nice Grüner Veltliner, the 2007 Prager Smaragd "Zwerithaler" from Wachau, Austria ($96), also makes the list.  

Oceanique's international white wine collection is rounded off by some excellent Italian wines, such as the 2006 Bibi Graetz "Bugia", from Toscana made from Ansonica grapes ($125) and the 2010 La Bellanotte from Fuiuli Isonzo, Italy ($64), made from Pinot Bianco grapes. Austria is represented by the 2008 Sighard Donabaum "S. Dona Smaragd Auleithen" ($90), the 2010 Raventos I Blanc "Silencis" is from Spain ($64), and the 2007 Royal Tokaji Wine Co. "Dry Furmint" is from Hungary ($60).  

Red Wine Collection
Over the years, Oceanique has procured a majestic French Red Burgundy collection; the wines are also known as "Old World" Pinot Noirs. Topping the collection is the jaw-dropping 1996 DRC Fomanee-Conti Grand Cru Monopole (priced at $14,000). A bit more modestly priced are the 2002 DRC La Tache Grand Cru Monopole ($2,250), the 2002 DRC Richebourg Grand Cru ($1,800), the 2001 DRC Romanee-Saint-Vivant Grand Cru ($1,425), and the 1999 DRC Grands Échézeaux Grand Cru ($1,250), and the 2002 DRC Vosne Romanée "Cuvee Duvault-Blochet" Premier Cru ($755).   

Among the value wines in the Red Burgundy collection are the 1984 Leroy Nuits-Saint-Georges "Les Pruliers" Premier Cru ($345), the 2009 Domaine Dujac Vosne-Romanee "Aux Malconsorts" Premier Cru ($395), and the 2005 Robert Chevillion Nuits-Saint-Georges "Les Boursellots" Premier Cru ($220). On the more affordable Red Burgundy side are wines including the 2004 Maison Champy Gevrey-Chambertin "Vielees Vignes" ($99) and the 2005 Domaine Clos Solomon Givry "Clos Solomon" Premier Cru Monopole ($82).  

Oceanique's red wine collection also features a more than ample selection of domestic Pinot Noirs, many of which are excellent and quite affordable. Notable California wines in this group include the 2005 Williams Selyem "Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard ($225) and the 2004 Adrian Fog "Two Sisters Vineyard" ($245), both from the Russian River Valley. Value-priced wines in this group include the 2006 Pali "Cargasacchi Jalama Vineyard" ($90) from Santa Barbara County, the 2005 Amplos "Ampelos Vineyards" ($105) from Santa Rita Hills and the 2008 Davis Family Vineyards ($80) from the Russian River Valley.  

Oregon produces some of America's finest Pinot Noirs, and many are represented on the wine list, such as the 2007 Dusky Goose "Rambouillet Vineyard ($245) and the 2006 Bergström "Bergström Vineyard ($205), both from Dundee Hills.  

Domestic Cabernet Sauvignon wines are also numerous. Top Napa Valley wines include the 1997 Caymus "Sepcial Selection" ($445), the 1990 Dunn Vineyards "Howell Mountain" ($385), and the 1998 Diamond Creek "Red Rock Terrace" ($330). Value priced Cabs from Napa include the 2007 Davis Family Vineyards "10th Anniversary Vintage" ($105) and the 2007 Clos Pegase Estate ($88). Featured Washington State Cabernet Sauvignons include the 2003 Carriage House "DuBrul Vineyard" ($165) from Yakima Valley and the 2004 Andrew Will "Champoux Vineyard" ($147) from Vashon. Oceanique also features some South American Cabernet Sauvignons, such as the 2008 Concha y Toro "Don Melchor" ($127) from Puenta Alto, Chile. 

French Red Bordeaux wines on the list predominately come from Left Bank regions such as Pauillac, Saint Estephe and Margaux, and Right Bank regions such as Saint Émilion and Pomeral. Top selections include a 1990 Château Latour ($1,776), the 1990 Château Lafite Rothschild ($1,675), a 1966 Château Mouton Rothschild ($900), the 1961 Château Montrose ($950), 1961 Château Cos D'Estournel ($850), 1970 Château Magdelaine ($450) and 1995 Château La Dominque ($350).  

Domestic Merlot aficionados will enjoy top choices such as the 2004 Vérité "Le Desir" ($245) from Sonoma County, the 2001 Leonetti ($195) from Columbia Valley, Washington, and the 2006 HdV "Belle Cousine" from Carneros ($145). 

Italian Wines
Oceanique's Italian wine collection is not as large, but the selections are exceptional. Top wines in this group are several Angelo Gaja wines from Piemonte: a 1978 Barbaresco ($680), a 1996 "Sori San Lorenzo" ($545) and a 1996 "Costa Russi" ($545). Top Tuscan choices include a 1996 Marchesi Rocchettr Sassicaia ($320) and a 2006 Bibi Graetz "Testmatta" ($275).  

Rhône Wines
The Rhône wine collection includes some excellent choices from the North such as the 1999 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave ($505) and the 2000 Pierre Gaillard Cote-Rotie ($225). Southern Rhône standouts include the 2003 Château La Nerthe "Cuvee des Cadettes" ($197) and the 2003 Domaine Berthet-Rayne ($164), both from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region.  

Other Red Wines
Lovers of Shiraz, Syrah and Zinfandel wines will not be disappointed at Oceanique. Heading the list of Australian Shiraz wines is the 2001 Penfolds Grange ($595) and the 2004 S.C. Pannell ($156), a blend made from 20% Grenache grapes. Other "New World" wines in this group include a 2004 Piedrasassi ($168) from California and a 2001 Schubert ($145) from New Zealand. Other excellent choices are the 2001 La Jota Vineyard Co. Estate "Howell Mountain" Petite Syrah ($160) from Napa Valley, and the 2002 Renard "Unit Vineyards" Grenache ($125) from Dry Creek, California.  

Excellent California Zinfandels also are well represented. Among them are the 2005 Turley "Dogtown Vineyard" ($195) from Lodi, the 2000 Chase "Hayne Vineyard"($170) from Napa Valley, and the 2006 Williams Selyem "Forchini Vineyard" ($148) from the Russian River Valley.  

Spanish reds on the list include the very special 1998 Vega Sicilia "Unico" ($800) from the Ribera del Duero region, the 2002 Remirez de Ganuza ($235) and the 1996 Contino Gran Reserva ($175), both from Rioja.   Dessert Wines Oceanique also has procured a generous selection of dessert wines from Europe and the United States. French Champagnes that excel as accompaniments to dessert include Moet & Chandon Rose "Nectar Imperial" ($110) and the Mumm "Joyesse" Demi-Sec ($99), both are non-vintage. 

The French Dordogne wine group is headed by a 1982 Cos Fontindoule-Monbazillac ($165) and a 1990 Domaine de L'Ancienne Cure-Monbazillac "Cuvée Abbaye" ($145).  Several outstanding French Sauterne wines are in the collection, including some rare Château D'Yquem wines such as the 1986 vintage ($900) and the 1990 vintage ($505 for 350 ml). Another great find is the 1962 Château Rieussec ($585).  

Among the ample selection of international dessert wines is the 1999 Elderton Golden Semillion ($105 for 350 ml) from southeast Australia, the 2001 Kracher Muskat Ottonel Trockenbeeren Auslese "Number 2" ($150 for 350 ml) from Austria,  the 2000 Royal Tokaji Wine Col. "Birsalmàs" 5 Puttonyos ($135 for 500ml) from Hungary. Porto wines are stunning, including the 1977 Smith Woodhouse Porto ($365) and the 1970 Dow's Porto ($395).  

Wines by the Glass Selections
Guests who prefer a smaller serving of wine will be pleased that Oceanique has built a list of five white wines and five red wines that are exceptional values and can be purchased by the half glass, full glass or by the bottle. Featured white wines include a 2007 Compte Lafon Macon-Chardonnay "Clos de la Crochette" from France ($10 half glass; $18 full glass; $72 bottle) a 2010 Clos Pegase "Mitsuko's Vineyard" Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley ($9/$16/$64) and a 2009 Bibi Graetz "Cicala Del Giglio" from Italy ($9/$16/$64). Red wines on this special list include a 2006 Saint Martin Fixin "Hervelets" Premier Cru Pinot Noir from France ($14/$25/$100), a 2009 Cypher Winery "Anarchy", a Syrah-Zinfandel-Mouvedre blend from Paso Robles, California ($10/$18/$72) and a 2006 Heredad Soliterra Carignon-Grenache-Syrah blend from Spain ($9/$16/$64). 

Half Bottle Selections
Paul Hobbs ($125), both from Napa Valley. A delicious red wine blend is the 2006 Elyse "Nero Misto" from California, a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Primitivo, Carignan and Syrah ($50). Zinfandel lovers will enjoy the 2006 Elyse Morisoli Vineyard from Napa Valley ($60).

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