Boston’s Grill 23 & Bar Reintroduces Château Margaux to the States
It's no secret that Boston’s food scene has been one to watch lately. Off-menu items, exclusive supper clubs, and super-impressive wine lists have made Beantown a favorite for diners. One restaurant in particular has been leading the charge for decades.
Grill 23 & Bar opened in the former Salada Tea Building in the 1980s as a classic steakhouse. Since then, it has been serving premium natural meat and classic steakhouse sides to a full house nightly. The wine program has always been impressive, and these days the world is taking notice.
The wine list is comprised of more than 1,900 selections, most hand selected by the restaurant’s master sommelier and corporate beverage director, Brahm Callahan. “This is a book, not a list,” he said at a recent dinner celebrating the history of the famous Château Margaux winery.
“When we decided to reintroduce Château Margaux to the United States, Grill 23 was the obvious choice,” explained Thomas Burke, the U.S. business development manager for Château Margaux. The restaurant, he explained, has always been exceptional at sharing the experience that wine brings to a meal, and Callahan is a big reason why. “His taste is impeccable and we knew he could help craft a dinner that really showcased the wines tonight.”
The château has undergone some changes recently. After the death of its managing director, Paul Pontallier, owner and CEO Corinne Mentzelopoulos appointed Philippe Bascaules to the role (though he will also remain director of winemaking at Inglenook in California). Château Margaux is not new to Bascaules. He worked with Pontallier in years past. “I am very honored Corinne Mentzelopoulos has appointed me managing director of Château Margaux and I like to think that Paul Pontallier would have been happy for me to carry on his work. I am thrilled to be reunited with my former colleagues at Château Margaux and delighted to be working on the wines and vineyards of the estate.”
Bordeaux, with its storied history, makes up an important part of the immense wine library at Grill 23. Callahan explains “We feature all first growths and ‘super seconds’ in all classic vintages back to 1959.” Grill 23 is one of the only restaurants in the country to offer the 1982 Château Margaux vintage. At $1,842 per bottle, it is one of the most special bottles of wine you will ever consume.
This was paired with a perfectly cooked filet and seared duck breast at the Château Margaux dinner but not before guests — mostly regulars who not only eat at Grill 23 but go to enhance their educations on fine food and wine (Callahan is an amazing and generous teacher) — got to sample two vintages of Pavillon Rouge, a 2009 and a 2003 served alongside chef Brian Kevorkian’s famed short rib and egg ravioli with spinach and truffles. “The pairing is eye-opening,” said one guest. “This is why we come here. We don’t just eat, we learn.”