Now at both David Burke’s Primehouse and JIMMY, sommelier Matthew Bills’ Cellar Glass Pour program offers patrons a carefully selected line-up of rare wines that can be purchased in 3oz. and 6oz. pours.

Exposing a bottle of wine to air means the clock is ticking on how long it can be enjoyed. With the use of a recently developed tool called the Coravin, wine can be poured without taking the cork out of the bottle. A single glass or half glass can be poured while the rest of the bottle is perfectly preserved. Matthew Bills has put this technology to brilliant use with the Cellar Glass Pour program. He shares the latest news on his program’s success below.

How does the Cellar Glass Pour program work?
We offer a special line-up of about a dozen fine wines that I have personally selected. Each wine on the Cellar Glass Pour menu is available in 3oz. and 6oz. pours (by the half and full glass) and most are priced between $35 and $75. The menu is constantly changing, so someone coming in a month from now will find new offerings.

How does a fine wine differ from an everyday wine?
Fine wines are typically smaller productions and a lot goes in to making them. Mass produced wines may include grapes from an entire region or entire state, so they tend to be one noted, homogenized. Fine wines will typically be produced with grapes from one vineyard, so the soil and climate in that location in that year, and the quality of the oak barrels in which it was stored, create a distinctive flavor with many subtle notes. Mass-produced wines can be stored in stainless steel vats, perhaps with oak chips added to them, and the taste just isn’t the same. The very best French oak barrels will impart flavor and also let the wine breathe, which softens it.

What’s new in the program?
We recently expanded the program to JIMMY, so that a guest can finish their dinner at Primehouse, continue their evening at JIMMY, and order again from the Cellar Glass Pour menu. In keeping with  IMMY’s 1970’s theme, we’ve added a selection of 1970’s vintages to our menu. Bordeaux, cabernets and ports from the 1970s are coming in to their drinking prime right now.

Who are this program’s customers?
It’s really a range. Single diners love it, because they can enjoy a small flight of fine wines without ordering a bottle just for themselves. We have oenophiles who are delighted to try new wines without committing to a $200 bottle. We have guests who are novice tasters who are interested in the experience of sampling a truly fine wine. We have guests who come in on their birthday and want to drink a wine from their birth year.

How do these wines pair with food? Can a guest get a personal recommendation?
I welcome any Primehouse guest to ask me for a recommendation. Helping a guest find a wine that suits their tastes and perfectly complements their course is one of the things I enjoy most about my job.

A few of my personal favorites on the current menu include:

1976 Domaines Schlumberger Gewurztraminer Cuvée Anne
élection de Grains Nobles, Alsace, France
This wine has only been produced 11 times since 1945 because they only produce it when the harvest is ideal. It has tropical aromas; it’s quite floral. This wine pairs well with fois gras, and would also work as a dessert wine.

1998 Sangenis I Vaqué Clos Monlleó Blend
The grapes for this wine are grown in the Priorat region of Spain, just south of Barcelona. I am personally familiar with this producer – at one time I worked the harvest for this winery – and I purchased these particular bottles at auction. The vineyard is at a somewhat higher elevation and the soil is almost like a slate coming apart. The vines have to struggle a bit and the wine they produce is packed with minerality and somewhat earthy. This is a medium-bodied wine and would be fabulous with a filet.

1974 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley
This wine still has a great deal of complexity - lots of tannins and structure and nice acidity. The 45-day dry-aged ribeye on the Primehouse menu is my own steak of choice and this wine is a perfect complement to it.