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Wine Passport Series at Mon Ami Gabi in Lincoln Park

Red, White & New: Lettuce Somms’ Favorite Wines

Check out these picks from across Lettuce

Ahead of the summer dinners and soirées, we asked Lettuce sommeliers to share their current favorite red, white and new wines from across our menus.

Some somms admitted this was a tough assignment—for example, Grant Barnow, wine director at The Oakville Grill & Cellar, which has more than 1,000 exclusively Californian wines on its list, shared: “There are too many amazing people making magnificent wines in California. I could have a laundry list in each of these categories. I love them all and love getting to celebrate and share their stories, visions, and wines!”

Check out their best-of-the-best picks, then book a reservation to try these somm-selected favorites for yourself!

Explore more of Lettuce’s one-of-a-kind wine experiences.

John Slatter, Divisional Sommelier, Aba & The Dalcy

Wines at AbaRED: Whitcraft “La Lie Fine” Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California, 2021
“Aba’s Chef CJ Jacobson is originally from Southern California, so I love seeking out wines from SoCal that embody the same ethos we do—sourcing organic and sustainably farmed products,” says Slatter. “‘La Lie Fine’ Pinot Noir is a blend of all the single vineyards Whitcraft works with, and it works great from the start of the meal to the end. My current favorite pairing here is Aba’s Fava Bean Hummus with morel mushrooms, white asparagus and pickled ramps.”

WHITE: Domaine Hatzidakis “Cuvée No. 15” Assyrtiko, Santorini, Greece, 2021
Hailing from the Greek Island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea, Slatter says, “Volcanic soils, briny sea air and bright sunshine combine to give this white, made from the native Assyrtiko, an intense mineral character, ripeness and purity of fruit. Naturally, this wine pairs beautifully with seafood, especially Aba’s Hamachi with kiwi, serrano and sweet lime vinaigrette.”

Aba Sommelier John SlatterNEW: Zulal Areni, Vayots Dzor, Armenia, 2019
Recently added to Aba’s list of old and new world selections from across the Mediterranean, Italy, Spain and Calfornia, is this ancient variety indigenous to Armenia. “Winemaking in this region can be traced back to 6000 BCE,” Slatter says, and Zulal’s Areni does justice to the historic region, making it one of his current faves. “Zulal farms organically and only works with native varieties, showcasing wines with a true sense of place.”

Make a reservation at the Aba location nearest you

Kevin Bratt, Beverage Director, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Shaw’s Crab House + Tokio Pub

Glasses of red wine at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

RED: Timo Mayer Pinot Noir ‘Bloody Hill’, Yarra Valley, Australia, 2022
“If you ever get a chance to meet Timo Mayer, you’ll be captivated by his jovial character. However, his wines are a more serious matter,” Bratt says. “He makes Yarra Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, among others, but it’s the ‘Bloody Hill’ Pinot Noir that’s my favorite, especially when matched with Chinook Salmon. When asked how the wine got its ‘Bloody Hill’ name, he simply replied, “Cuz’ that hill [where the grapes grow] is bloody steep, mate.”

WHITE: Tolpuddle Vineyard Chardonnay, Tasmania, Australia, 2020
Bratt says this Chardonnay, which is packed with fresh yellow fruit notes and a firm backbone of acidity and minerality, pairs incredibly well with chilled King Crab. Plus, he says, “What I like most about this wine is that it drinks like some of the best Chardonnay from Burgundy, but at a fraction of the price.”

Kevin Bratt, wine director at Joe's Seafood, Shaw's Crab House and Tokio Pub

NEW: Porseleinberg Syrah, Swartland, South Africa, 2016
“During a recent trip to South Africa, I traveled to what felt like the middle of nowhere to meet Callie Louw at his Porseleinberg winery in Swartland,” Bratt says. He discovered this small production Syrah wasn’t currently available in any market he represents, including Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., and he knew immediately he needed to fix that. “If you love the red wines of the northern Rhone like I do, you should definitely give this one a shot with Joe’s Garlic & Rosemary Lamb Chops.”

Make a reservation at the Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab | Make a reservation at Shaw’s Crab House | Make a reservation at Tokio Pub

Kat Hawkins, Wine Director, Miru

An assortment of brunch dishes at Miru
RED: Marcel Lapierre Gamay, Morgon, France, 2021
Hawkins says this
cru Beaujolais available by the glass at Miru is the perfect easy-drinking red wine for a restaurant where fish dishes are the star of the show, however, she says it also shines paired with the Duck Yakisoba noodles.

WHITE: Domaine Huet “Le Haut-Lieu” Vouvray Demi Sec, Loire, France, 2022
“At Miru, there’s usually a lot of different dishes on the table at once, which is why having something as versatile as Chenin Blanc can be extremely important,” says Hawkins. “Domaine Huet’s ‘Le Haut Lieu’ Demi Sec can be this wine. It has a touch of residual sugar that helps to quell the spice of Miru signatures like Shrimp Fried Rice, and is also bright and light enough to accentuate diverse platters of sashimi and maki.”

Kat Hawkins pouring champagne at Miru
NEW: Muroka Nama “Ice Breaker”, Tamagawa, Kyoto, Japan 2022
As part of a forthcoming overhaul to Miru’s wine and sake by the glass list, as well as additions to the bottle list, Hawkins shares, “I am tremendously excited for a new sake by the glass called ‘Ice Breaker.’ It’s a Junmai Ginjo Muroka Nama by Tamagawa, with lush, tropical notes of mango and pineapple, but it is made in such a way to be served over ice and sipped leisurely on the terrace.”

Make a reservation at Miru at The St. Regis Chicago

Alex Myerchin, Head Sommelier, Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas

Dining table and dinner at Mon Ami Gabi Las Vegas
RED: Domaine Raspail-Ay, Gigondas, Rhone Valley, France 2020
Myerchin says this Grenache blend from France’s Southern Rhone Valley “has everything you could want—fruit, earth, brightness—all with an approachability that can pair with seafood, meats and even Mon Ami Gabi’s famous Roast Chicken a la Grand-Mère.
WHITE: Gustave Lorentz Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2021
“This is my go-to for lighter, spicier dishes,” Myerchin says. “This wine is incredibly aromatic with notes of tropical fruits and lychee, with a rich and complex flavor. If you’re looking to try something off the beaten path (and fun to say), this is the wine for you.”
Mon Ami Gabi Las Vegas Sommelier Alex Myerchin
NEW: Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2014
Not all of Myerchin’s faves are French! Of this 2014 vintage, he says, “The Dunn family keeps their alcohol levels moderate—for Napa, that is—which has allowed this wine to really transform over the past 10 years into a truly complex and layered wine.”
Make a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi – Las Vegas

Isabella Tenorio, Head Sommelier, RPM Seafood

Drinks and Dinner at RPM SeafoodRED: Jean-Marc Pillot “Mes Vieilles Vignes”, Chassagne-Montrachet, France, 2019
“This is a stunning expression of Pinot Noir from a southerly village in Burgundy, France, that usually specializes in white wine from the Chardonnay grape,” says Tenorio. “Because of this, the Pinot Noirs from this village fly way under the radar and are wonderfully priced for red Burgundy. This one has a beautiful softness and supple fruit characteristic that the reds from the Northern part of Burgundy do not express as vibrantly, making it a perfect first foray into this varietal for guests who enjoy American Pinot Noir. It’s also wonderfully seafood-friendly because of its soft texture and gentle tannins.”

WHITE: Emmerich Knoll “Ried Kreutles” Grüner Veltliner Smaragd, Austria, 2016
Tenorio says, “Austrian white wine is my favorite hidden gem of the wine world, as these wines are made to some of the strictest quality standards in Europe while providing a uniquely fresh, minerally, savory, and food-friendly dry white wine.” Emmerich Knoll, which hails from single vineyard Grüner Veltliner in Wachau, Austria, is late harvested but fermented to dryness, which Tenorio shares makes it “wonderfully textured, complex in flavor and allows it to act almost as an additional seasoning to the many varieties and preparations of fish on RPM Seafood’s menu.”

RPM Seafood Sommelier Isabella TenorioNEW: Realm, “The Bard – Riverbound Edition” Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, 2023
Tenorio raves about this new, high-end, by-the-glass pour sourced from a single vineyard: “It perfectly balances the richness and opulence of Napa Sauvignon Blanc with the fresh acidity and mineral backbone of White Bordeaux.” Made by a cult Napa Valley Cabernet producer that makes very small quantities of Sauvignon Blanc, RPM Seafood is among a select few restaurants to have their hands on the rare release of this cuvée in the fresh 2023 vintage.

Make a reservation at RPM Seafood

Want to get up close and personal with an RPM somm? Book the RPM Sommelier Experience at RPM Seafood and RPM Italian – Las Vegas.

Richard Hanauer, Wine Director, RPM Restaurants

Pizzeria portofino cheersRED: Domaine Pierre Damoy Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Gevrey-Chambertin, France, 2011
“It’s really fun to be able to drink a 13-year-old Burgundy by the glass,” says Hanauer. This one, available at RPM Steak, is ideal for warm-weather sipping. “With summer heat upon us, it is really nice to garner complexity from a lighter-bodied red wine. Although it’s interesting on its own, it has splendid earth tones that compliment the intensity of different steak profiles.”

WHITE: Poggio al Tesoro “Solosole”, Bolgheri, Italy, 2022
Hanauer recommends snagging a spot on the sunny patio at Pizzeria Portofino and ordering a glass of this Vermentino from the Tuscan shores. “Essentially a white Super Tuscan, it is sunshine in a bottle, and is the perfect complement to both Pizzeria Portofino’s generous Southern Italian cuisine and the warmth of the season. No better way to spend a day.”

Richard Hanauer
NEW: Realm “The Bard – Riverbound Edition” Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, California, 2023
Hanauer is aligned with Isabella Tenorio’s pick for the best new wine available exclusively by the glass at RPM Seafood (and The Oakville Grill & Cellar). “Lettuce restaurants have always offered many different labels of this cult Napa Valley winery, but we’re pleased to offer the inaugural release of this white wine by the glass for the first time. It combines classy winemaking with intense fruit to create a uniquely textured and creative interpretation of the grape.”

Make a reservation at an RPM location nearest you
Make a reservation at Pizzeria Portofino

Grant Barnow, Wine Director, The Oakville Grill & Cellar

A glass of red wine at The Oakville Grill & Cellar
RED: Whitcraft “La Rinconada” Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills, California, 2020
Another vote for a Whitcraft red! Sourced from one of Napa Valley’s most incredible, storied vineyards, Barnow loves the “super heady black tea, floral, dense cherry” notes, which strike “an awesome dichotomy between intensity and elegance. Plus, Drake Whitcraft is just an awesome human producing some wonderfully complex wines.”

WHITE: Littorai “Charles Heintz Vineyard” Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California 2021
According to Barnow, this white is his current fave because, “Littorai proprietor Ted Lemon has got that dog in him. He is so important to the paradigmatic shift toward sustainable viticulture. Chardonnay is such a wonderful grape that has an enormous range of different expressions. And Littorai’s Charles Heintz’s bottling shows such explosive bosc pear, meyer lemon, and bright acidity, with just a kiss of oak.”

The Oakville Grill & Cellar Sommelier Grant BarnowNEW: Cruse Wine Co. Tradition Sparkling Wine, Napa Valley, California
“Michael Cruse is one of my favorite winemakers in the state of California and he’s doing an insane job of crafting beautiful, complex sparkling wines,” Barnow says. This sparkler is “zesty, herbaceous, mineral-driven bubbles. Bubbles are fun. Bubbles make the bad days, good, and the good days, great.” Hear, hear!

Make a reservation at The Oakville Grill & Cellar

Make a reservation at The Cellar Door at The Oakville

Kat Hawkins, Wine Director, Tre Dita

Steak at Tre Dita
RED: Cerbaia, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy, 2015
At Tre Dita, Hawkins says the Brunello di Montalcino category is king. This 2015 Cerbaia Brunello is a “bold, rich, and structured Sangiovese but with beautiful complexity and nuance from having almost 10 years of bottle age. It is the perfect accompaniment to Tre Dita’s Bistecca alla Fiorentina, as well as the Tagliatelle alla Ragu.”

WHITE: Michele Satta “Costa di Giulia” Vermentino & Sauvignon Blanc, Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy, 2019
“Coastal Vermentino from Tuscany should be the wine of the summer,” declares Hawkins. “It is crisp, refreshing, and at its best has notes of honeydew melon and salted cantaloupe. Michele Satta’s bottling, ‘Costa di Giulia,’ is a perfect pairing with Tre Dita’s Linguine alla Limone, as the wine is light enough to let the sauce shine.”

Kat Hawkins, wine director of The St. Regis Chicago
NEW: Impossible to pick! 
Per Hawkins, Tre Dita’s list of more than 700 exclusively Italian wines is so dynamic that it has something new almost every day. “Our collection is always evolving, so please allow the team to select something to match your occasion when you stop in!”

Make a reservation at Tre Dita

Brad Wermager, Wine Director, Wildfire

Wildfire's Macadamia Nut Crusted Halibut
RED: Dry Creek Vineyard “Heritage Vines” Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California
“This wine has everything that I love about Zinfandel. It’s complex, jammy, juicy, yet dry and slightly spicy!” says Wermager. With notes of black cherry, boysenberry and plum, along with nuances of warm spices, mocha and white pepper, he recommends pairing with Wildfire’s BBQ Ribs or a signature steak with a blue cheese crust.

WHITE: Chateau Ste. Michelle “Canoe Ridge Estate” Chardonnay, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington
It’s halibut season, so Wermager recommends pairing this “creamy, silky Chardonnay” with Wildfire’s Macadamia Nut-Crusted Halibut. “I love to taste a hint of butterscotch and feel the creamy, silky texture in my Chardonnays,” he says. Anyone who finds the varietal to be too “oaky and buttery” should give this a try, to appreciate the slightly acidic but smooth wine with aromas of lemon zest surrounded by pear, vanilla and butter.
Wine at Wildfire

NEW: Lonesome Rock “The Estate” Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Wermager says former Chicagoan Daniel Klieman moved to Willamette Valley to pursue his dream of making and selling his own wines, and has achieved something special in this wine that has all the “bells and whistles” that Pinot Noir has to offer. Balanced, complex, juicy and silky, Wermager recommends drinking this remarkable pour with Wildfire’s Cedar-Planked Salmon or Mushroom-Crusted Pork Chops.

Make a reservation at the Wildfire location nearest you

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