Where does one go when nothing less than a Château Margaux 1982 will do? If you live in Westchester, the answer is Winston restaurant in Mount Kisco. Nestled in the center of this sleek, tri-level eatery is a world-class wine “cellar” featuring a collection of older, rare, and quality bottles known as a library wine list. Château Lafite Rothschild 1983? Got it. Château La Mission Haut-Brion 1989? Of course! So why the fancy vino? After all, Winston’s vibe (with ground-floor gastro pub and trendy rooftop bar, in addition to a second-level dining room) leans more toward hip than haute. Turns out, the amazing vintages are all part of the restaurant owner’s private collection. Happily, manager and wine steward Paul Neagu is there to curate. A sommelier, he claims the rare wines of the library list are “alive” and need care “like babies.” While most babies wouldn’t appreciate the 54°−55° cave a vin, Neagu’s exhaustive knowledge suggests the exquisite vintages are in excellent hands. Good thing: Many of the bottles cost hundreds, even thousands.
Not to worry, though, if your budget is more wines-by-the-glass, as Neagu is equally enthusiastic about those offerings. He can advise on wine pairings with Chef Michael Williams’ menu but points out that most library-list customers already know things, like that 1982 was a monster year for Bordeaux. Still, he makes sure to include a bin number with each special wine, so if you want the Chateau d’Yquem Lur-Saluces 1975 with your petit fours plate (and who wouldn’t?), no need to fret about pronunciation. Simply say: “Number 2006,” please, and enjoy.