FrontRunners: Vine Dining

After 14 years of creating cuisine for the annual Boston Wine Festival, Daniel Bruce, executive chef at the Boston Harbor Hotel, is an expert at pairing wine with food. Now he has made the practice a year-round venture by opening Meritage (617.439.3995, (www.meritagetherestaurant.com), his signature restaurant in the waterfront hotel. Unlike most restaurants where wine is chosen to complement the food, Meritage places wine in the leading role, a point that is underscored by the floor-to-ceiling wine cases at the entrance. Meritage’s menu charts a progression of flavors from lightest to heaviest in the style of a wine list, with categories ranging from “Sparklers” to “Robust Reds.” Guests are encouraged to think wine first and then select the food to heighten the wine experience. “Enjoying wine is not about the label or the vineyard, but about the flavors,” says Bruce. “The right combination of tastes only serves to escalate the experience to a whole new level of appreciation.”

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