The Corkscrew Concierge – August 2018
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Houston certainly has a fantastic wine scene. Local oenophiles already know this, but the city continues to gain more and more national respect and recognition. There are numerous wine bars around town where you can taste new and unusual varietals to your heart’s delight. And while I do frequent those places, one of my favorite things about wine is indulging with my meal. Many great winemakers envision a bottle on the table with a meal when crafting their wines. As such, I’m always on the lookout for a restaurant with a fantastic wine list. But as I indicated in my last installment of great Houston restaurant wine lists, the restaurant must have great food, there should be a nice variety of wines on the list, and the markups must not be ridiculous. So here’s a list of Houston restaurants that would make any wine lover proud. I should also note that many of the restaurants are committed to seasonal offerings so some of the dishes may be available at different times during the year.
Potente is the upscale Italian restaurant conceived and brought to life by Astros owner Jim Crane. The restaurant oozes swanky, over the top sophistication. Perfect for special occasions or just a nice night out. As the restaurant is Italian, the wine list features a significant amount of Italian wines – about 65% – that will take you up and down the regions of the boot. Everything from the very popular to the quite geeky selection can be found on the list. And while I’ve always indulged in an Italian wine on my visits, the USA is well represented. Ordering a bottle of wine at Potente is quite the adventure as your wine is poured in a super-cool decanter. Don’t judge me. You know this is an impressive looking decanter.
You would think with all the high-end finishes that the wine list would break the budget, but that is not the case here. The wines have blessedly low markups. Wine Director Vinny Montecuollo says he wants guests to truly explore the list and not be afraid to try something new due to sticker shock. On my most recent visit for my anniversary, I had Vinny choose a bottle as I was having a difficult time given the varied cuisines being consumed. Of course, he nailed it.
And don’t forget about the food! The Amarone Braised Veal Cheeks with Risotto is nothing short of ah-mazing! But why, oh why, couldn’t I do it any justice with my pic?!