Expanded Wine List

One might look at The Pillar House Wine List in its current form and call it "expansive, encompassing, comprehensive, wonderful, and even overwhelming." Those are some of the words that our guests use to describe our wine selection. So why add or change anything that seems to be already performing well? The main reason is that the current wine market has been full of new and interesting wines that simply beg to be exposed to the public. The other reason is somewhat disappointing in that many of our older wines have sold out and are virtually impossible to replace. As a result, new vintages have been added to continue the tradition. The latter is especially true in the case of Californian Cabernet.

What is new? For starters there are several new Champagnes available to accompany any festive occasion. The Roederer Brut Premiere is well balanced with plenty of bright fruit on the palate, while the 1990 Veuve Cliquot Brut is full-flavored and offers tremendous complexity. The latter is my personal favorite.

Who needs another Chardonnay? Well, you may think differently after sampling new offerings from Staglin Vineyards, Flowers, Ramey, Patz&Hall, and Babcock. The White Burgundy section now features many wines from the outstanding 1996 vintage. Several Premier and Grand Cru level wines are worthy of particular attention. These wines are judged to be some of the best available in many years. Cabernet Sauvignon from California has consistently been on the rise both in quality and, often, in the price charged by many top wineries. The laws of supply and demand do work to the advantage of the wine trade.

There are, however, many attractive alternatives that certainly please the palette without breaking the bank. These would include efforts by Hess Collection, Benziger, Pine Ridge, and Silverado. For the connoisseur seeking the ultimate prize of Cabernet, let it be known that there are many trophy-type wines available, including releases by Caymus (both Napa and Special Selection), Groth Reserve, Beringer Vineyards Reserve, Dominus, Opus One, Chateau Montelena, and Silver Oak.

Merlot continues to be very popular among those who like a relatively full-bodied red wine, but don't care for strong tannins found in many Cabernets. Newton Vineyards has released two versions of their Merlot-Special Cuvee and Unfiltered, while Duckhorn has added half bottles of their award-winning Napa Merlot, to complement their regular size bottle. The half bottle approach is a very convenient way to try a great wine, without having to order a whole bottle.

One extremely exciting and rare selection has become available to us recently from Far Niente. Their Napa Valley Merlot has not been previously offered to the public so this is the first opportunity for even the most discriminating wine connoisseur to taste this precious wine. Many more wines have been added to the Wine List although it is not possible to mention all of them to you here.

Instead, I would encourage you to visit our website at www.pillarhouse.com to review the entire Wine List or ask for me personally during your next visit. I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

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By Patrick Dubsky

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