'Your Sommelier' Launches on Zagat.com

Zagat Survey, LLC 06/23/2009 22:03
'Your Sommelier' Launches on Zagat.com - Zagat.com - dining - entertainment - restaurant - lifestyle


Choosing the right bottle on a wine list can be a daunting task, especially finding the best value. To solve this dilemma, Zagat has partnered with renowned wine expert Kevin Zraly to launch "Your Sommelier," an online guide to finding the best wines at the lowest prices at New York City's top restaurants, on ZAGAT.com and ZAGAT.mobi. Zraly will be publishing the 25th anniversary edition of his seminal Windows on the World Complete Wine Course book in fall 2009.



"With wine lists growing ever-longer and more ambitious, diners are often confronted by a sea of choices, few of them familiar and many of them expensive," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. "We've asked one of the world's best sommeliers, Kevin Zraly, to advise diners in advance about wines to order at the city's top restaurants."

Zraly, who created the legendary list at Windows on the World restaurant as well as the world-renowned wine school of the same name, pored (and poured) over the impressive wine lists at over 100 restaurants to identify "the real deals." He also looked at what percentage of each list was priced below $100, and below $50, to come up with a rough gauge of overall value. In addition to the concise menu descriptions and top picks for each restaurant listed at ZAGAT.com, Zraly offers the following tips for finding the best value wines:

  • "Bang for the buck" menus: If you're into wine, seek out restaurants with an extensive wine list and reasonable prices. In New York, Landmarc in the Time Warner Center is first choice among the city's major restaurants, with 78% of bottles falling under $100. At The Oak Room at The Plaza, you'll see deals like 50 wines under $50, and media watering hole Michael's has two pages of wines $50 and under. Becco has a vast selection of low-cost, quality options, with 100 wines for $25.

  • Buy by the glass: Many assume it's cheaper to split a bottle, but buying by the glass is the most straightforward way to conquer a complex wine list. Trying out one glass is much better than being stuck with a disappointing $75 bottle. And even if you have five rounds of $14 glasses, you're still spending less.

  • White wine is a winner: Since it costs more money to produce a red wine, there tend to be better selections of white wines under $50. When it comes to champagne, however, your best bet for sparkling white is a California sparkling wine a Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco.

  • For red, steer clear of big names: Prices have gotten crazy for classics like Bordeaux, Burgundy, Barolos, Barbarescos and even California Cabernets. Instead opt for Sancerre or Cotes du Rhone reds. In almost every single restaurant, they were the best, most reasonably priced alternatives.

About Zagat Survey, LLC

Known as the "burgundy bible," Zagat Survey is the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality. Zagat Survey rates and reviews airlines, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, resorts, shopping, spas and a range of other entertainment categories in over 100 countries and has been lauded as the "most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published" and as "a necessity second only to a valid credit card." Zagat content is available in print, on the web, on the Palm and Windows Mobile operating systems, on BlackBerry, on mobile phones and on TV. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com.

About Kevin Zraly:

Kevin Zraly is the founder and teacher of the immensely popular Windows on the World Wine School (over 19,000 graduates) and course book, which is the largest selling wine book in the world (three million copies). He co-founded the Parker & Zraly Wine Certification Program and moderates the Sherry-Lehmann/Kevin Zraly Master Wine Classes in New York City. Kevin is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Wine Council, the James Beard Award as the Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year and the Food and Beverage Association's Man of the Year Award. Kevin is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Culinary Institute of America. He has been teaching about wine with his easy and charismatic style for over 30 years, since the age of 20. Kevin has studied in all the major wine regions and his love and enthusiasm for wine continues to captivate audiences around the world. From 1976-2001 he was the Wine Director for Windows on the World at One World Trade Center. Zraly will be publishing the 25th anniversary edition of his seminal Windows on the World Complete Wine Course book in fall 2009.


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