Interview With a Vintner

Les Caves Taillevent

At Taillevent, the 58-year-old Paris institution, owner Jean-Claude Vrinat's 300-bottle wine list (he keeps 400,000 bottles in his cellar) is as impressive as the three-Michelin-star cooking. And for diners looking to bring home the vintage that helped make their meal so memorable, there's only one place: Les Caves Taillevent, the restaurant's own wine shop. Vrinat's edit is superb—white Burgundies, red Rhônes, and all your freshly anointed favorites. At 199 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré; 33-45-61-14-09;

1. THE SURPRISE BUY Fruity, rich, and velvety, the Col du Vent Montpeyroux Coteaux du Languedoc 2001 ($6) is a red that, when served very slightly chilled, can accompany either fish or meat.

2. GREAT FIZZ With its perfectly clear yellow color, sharp character, and fresh, fruity taste, Champagne Taillevent S.A. Brut Grand Réserve ($29) is an ideal apéritif.

3. A BOLD DISCOVERY The Riesling Muenchberg Domaine Ostertag 2001 ($34) is generous, captivating both the nose and the mouth. Rich and elegant, it can be proudly paired with something like sea bass or clams.

4. BLOCKBUSTER BOTTLE Power and elegance define Pierre Lurton's Château Cheval Blanc 1999 Saint-Emilion ($287). Lurton is an exceptional winemaker, and this single-soil wine is meant for life's great moments.