The Morrell name is a representation of all aspects wine; it is the only wine retailer in New York encompassing a wine bar, an auction division, an e-commerce site, and a storage company. Morrell has been offering fine wines on the market for 70 years now, and enjoys including local New York state wines, covering regions from Long Island to Finger Lakes. The name is derived from brothers Joseph and Samuel Morrell, who first inserted themselves into the wine trade as salesmen in the 1920s.
The wine list at Morrell Wine Bar and Café displays a dedicated by-the-glass selection, a reflection of the exponential improvement of by-the-glass offers, which is arguably the most significant development in the recent history of wine service. Where once most establishments limited themselves to a handful of lower-priced offers—and in many cases to the house wine alone—a good wine by-the-glass choice is now seen an essential part of the list: a chance for sommeliers to introduce consumers to new styles, and to explore more expensive wines that they simply could not afford if their choice was confined to a whole bottle.
Even in this much-changed landscape, the list at Morrell Wine Bar & Café remains a standout. It’s a mouth-watering invitation to explore, with a depth and creativity that is missing in many restaurants’ core, bottle-based lists, and was a worthy winner of the inaugural Best Wine-by-the-Glass List in the World in 2014. Furthermore, it has continued to uphold a prestigious three-star award in the World’s Best Wine Lists for 2014, 2015, and 2016.
And Morrell continues to impress. The wine list is presented with intelligent, informative notes, the choices are divided by color and region, and are sourced from around the world, with particular strengths in Burgundy, Bordeaux, California, and Italy, and featuring a number of esoteric choices.
But the by-the-glass program is really just the beginning of what the judges at the World’s Best Wine Lists called a “brilliant selection.” With its “informative, well-designed presentation,” it’s an exciting list that has been “really lovingly tended throughout.”
The duo of Jeremy Noye and Eric Guido oversee the wine program as wine managers, preserving the excellence of the wine choices available, beside head sommelier Christian Fentress. Together, the wine team ensure an ever-exciting – and consistently changing – selection of 85-100 wines by the glass every day. These vary from renowned estates to rising talented producers, and include many limited production wines. Some of the options cover top growers of sparkling wine and Champagne like Gimonnet all the way up to Krug Grande Cuvée and Dom Pérignon. Special attention is afforded to New York state wines from top winemakers in the Finger Lakes and Long Island. White wines by the glass comprise some outstanding classics, but also eclectic whites from the rest of the world, such as Terlan Sauvignon Blanc Winkl (Alto Adige), Kartäuserhof Riesling Kabinett (Mosel), and Quinta do Ameal (Vinho Verde). Reds include cult Beaujolais from Marcel Lapierre and Domaine Foillard; big-name red Burgundy from Leroy and Roumier, but also Loire Pinot Noir in the shape of Vacheron Sancerre Rouge; in addition to top Bordeaux and California Bordeaux Blends, from Calon-Ségur and Cos d’Estournel, to Opus One and Turley Estate.
To cap it off there is an excellent range of very varied fortified and sweet wines, too: from Valdespino’s great Fino Inocente, to Château de Fargues, D’Olivieiras 1968 Boal Madeira, and Ramos-Pinto 20-Year-Old Tawny. And that’s just the wines by-the-glass list; we’re just getting started. A highlight of the list of bottles is the extensive top-flight Chablis (Raveneau, Dauvissat) but also very rare and unusual white Burgundy (Domaine d’Auvenay Meursault Narvaux, Ponsot Morey-St-Denis Premier Cru Clos des Monts Luisants) alongside famous Côte de Beaune whites (Bonneau du Martray, Coche-Dury, Lafon, Leflaive, Ramonet, Roulot, Sauzet). Other whites featuring are good new wave California and Oregon Chardonnay (Antica Terra, Arnot-Roberts, Paul Lato) alongside legendary producers (Kistler, Kongsgaard), and good whites from Austria, Germany, Alsace, and Bordeaux, from the likes of Hirtzberger, Egon Müller, Zind Humbrecht, and Haut-Brion, respectively.
A plethora of by-the-glass options are just one of the many elements that make Morrell Wine Bar & Café an award-winning establishment, making it a key destination for wine lovers and collectors alike from across the globe.