Best Wine List (Price Be Damned) St. Louis 2013 - Elaia
Elaia proves that an exploratory trip to Spain and France can work wonders for a wine list. At least, that's the tough gig that Andrey Ivanov had to endure when masterminding Elaia's cellar selection. The result of his labor is an oenophile's dream, as the best wines from traditional producers share equal time with more up-and-coming regions like Romania, Greece and Lebanon. This is not a place where the Kendall Jackson chardonnay flows (can something with that much popcorn-butter viscosity actually flow?). Instead, Ivanov aims to gently nudge patrons toward the unexpected. In this spirit, Elaia pulls its glass selections from the cellar nightly in order to match the evening's food. Ivanov listens to each individual consumer, finds out what she likes and steers her toward something that expands her wine consciousness while satisfying her wants. This takes the finesse of a master, and Ivanov has it in spades.