In the Cellar with Phillip Dunn of Spago

<< Back to , August 2014
AUGUST 01, 2014

Pop Art

Late last year, Phillip Dunn took charge of one of the best restaurant wine cellars in the country: the 30,000-bottle collection of Wolfgang Puck’s Beverly Hills flagship, Spago. Dunn, who previously was a sommelier at Canlis in Seattle, has a global selection at his fingertips, and is as apt to reach for an Austrian Blaufränkisch as a Napa Cabernet. But he is particularly ardent about grower Champagnes, and he is expanding the sparkling list to 120 selections, with 10 by the glass and many in magnums. His personal taste leans toward Chardonnay-based bottles: “I like the elegance,” he says. “They tend to be more nutty and brioche in  character, and the minerality of the grapes grown on those chalky soils is more expressive.” His top five Champagnes for collectors also show a preference for a minimalistic approach to winemaking, with low dosage, biodynamic methods, and a general hands-off technique. This is winemaking on the edge, and these bottles demonstrate the reward of risking it all for greatness. But he is particularly ardent about grower Champagnes, and he is expanding the sparkling list to 120 selections, with 10 by the glass and many in magnums. His personal taste leans toward Chardonnay-based bottles: “I like the elegance,” he says. “They tend to be more nutty and brioche in character, and the minerality of the grapes grown on those chalky soils is more expressive.” His top five Champagnes for collectors also show a preference for a minimalistic approach to winemaking, with low dosage, biodynamic methods, and a general hands-off technique. This is winemaking on the edge, and these bottles demonstrate the reward of risking it all for greatness.

Featured Slideshows

From animals to antique coins, these inventive accessories will accentuate any formal attire.
These five two-wheel wonders feature aggressive designs and heart-palpitating performance.
Burberry, Tom Ford, Brunello Cucinelli, and other brands present the perfect balance of style and...
On January 24, the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples, Fla., will host the 2015 Naples Winter Wine...
Discover the finest offerings from Taylor Fladgate, Graham’s, Sandeman, and more.
Richard Mille and De Bethune exhibit their latest designs.
previous next
1 of 6
The lots from the private auction become available through the retailers and restaurateurs bidding…
More than 60 exclusive treasures and experiences will cross the block…
Photo by Paul Dimalanta
At the Judgment of Paris in 1976, a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena...
As prices for rare Cubans rise, it is getting harder to put a match to the most collectible cigars...
Packshot Factory
Back by popular demand, Supernova is one of the most robust single malts ever produced...
After 22 years of aging, the second installment of the 1992 vintage has reached full maturity…
Now in its 15th year, the wine- and food-filled festival has raised more than $123 million for...
Photo by Cordero Studios
The Arturo Fuente 100th Anniversary Destino Siglo ($416–$520; www.cigar​family.com) is aptly...
Earthy mushrooms, both pungent and delicate, will enhance every sip of these Cabernet Sauvignons,...
HIGHLAND PARK DISTILLERY Highland Park is made today with the same enduring belief and integrity,...