When I dined recently at the Meat Market in Tampa’s Hyde Park Village, sommelier Pablo Salinas was a trusty guide, offering two very interesting red wines to try with my meal — a 2016 Golden Eye Pinot Noir with my appetizer of jumbo shrimp and Dragon’s Tooth from Trefethen with my NY strip. I knew I had to come back and talk to him some more about my favorite subject, and when I returned, I learned some exciting news:
Meat Market is launching its 100-Points Wine Selection, a very select list of 20 bottles rated 100 points each by industry experts and magazine critics.
The restaurant was able to obtain only two to three bottles of each variety so the exclusivity and price of each ensures a VIP experience for oenophiles. According to Pablo, few restaurants across the country have pulled together a list of such wines, which will be served in fine crystal decanters (below).
The 100-Points List list is divided into three categories: Champagne & Old World Whites, Old World Reds and New World Reds. The Old World Reds include Bordeaux from France, a Grand Cru from the Burgundy region and bottles from the Rhone Valley and Tuscany. The New World Reds include wines from both Bordeaux and California. Four are cabernet-based and the rest are blends of merlot, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon.
If you love French wine, Meat Market is the place to go. They carry all five of the First Growths of Bordeaux, a classification that recognizes these wines as existing in a class by themselves. (My favorite is the Chateau Lafite Rothschild.) The 2016 Paulliac on the list is available for $6,000. Prices on the 100-Points Wine Selection menu start at $550 and go up to $6,000 a bottle. John Balian, wine director for all Meat Market locations, is presenting it only at the Tampa restaurant for now, with plans to roll it out to other locations in the future.
If $6,000 bottles are a bit too pricey for your pocketbook, Meat Market has wines to fit every price point. Thirty wines are available by the glass and bottle on the regular wine list, and the reserve list offers many bottles under $500.
The 2015 Dunn Vineyards from Howell Mountain in Napa, CA is a high-quality, full-bodied red with a small production, but is known in the industry. It is priced at $360 a bottle.
A 2016 Ovid Hexameter Red Wine from Pritchard Hill winery in Napa Valley has a cabernet franc base providing dark fruit notes and aromas of chocolate and molasses. Pritchard Hill is a new winery — 2005 was its first vintage year — with Andy Erickson consulting. All of their releases have been rated between 96-100 points. This bottle is priced at $490.
Finally, Pablo showed me two wines from DRC – Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. DRC is a small vineyard in France that produces only 3,500 bottles a year that are among the most sought-after wines in the world. Meat Market’s two DRC bottles, both 100% pinot noir, are the 2017 La Tache Grand Cru, which sells for $5,000, and the 2017 Romanee-Conti. Meat Market has only one bottle of the latter, which is being sold for $15,000.
When you go to Meat Market for a meal, you will enjoy wonderful food — but when you consult with Pablo, you’ll also meet a sommelier who can lead you to wines that enhance the cuisine.