Best Wine Selection in a Restaurant - 2003
Morton's of Chicago
Yes, it's a chain, and of course, this publication often takes shots at such bastions of the Establishment. But sometimes you just have to acknowledge that, to do things right, one needs a certain amount of money and booze. See, it takes the right number of dead presidents to hire a food-and-beverage director or sommelier who has trained his or her palate for years, teetering on the edge of poverty, just to be able to tell us if that Bordeaux has aromatics of glove leather or tobacco and flavors of menthol or tar. It behooves a corporation to court, by sponsoring winemakers' events and fundraisers, the savviest purveyors and distributors, who can maybe come up with that last case of limited-production cult Cabernet that was purportedly sold out. Most of all, an excellent wine list requires the capital that is needed to lay down an extensive cellar, a good third of which needs to bottle-age before it is even sellable to the dining public. Judging by its 175-bottle list, ranging from New World Sauvignon Blancs to Old World Burgundies, Morton's got not just the bucks but the props.