A Closer Look reviews the winners from our 12th Annual Reader Restaurant Awards, which were announced March 16. We know you all love a glass of wine as much as we do, so this time we review the winners of the Best Wine List Category.

Food, service and ambiance taken into account, the final element that brings an excellent meal together for many is the wine. Thankfully for those of us living in 2015 Beijing, the days when restaurants only carried a few dusty bottles of expensive French wine are long gone. More and more restaurants - not only at the high end, although the winners of this category this year certainly veer more towards the fine dining end of the scale - are stocking interesting wines from smaller producers, new brands, and countries other than France. So get out there and start tasting!

Best: Temple Restaurant Beijing

As you might expect from Beijing's premier fine dining restaurant, the wine list at TRB is very much up to par. Also as you might expect from a fine dining restaurant, the wine list leans towards French wines, but that doesn't mean priority isn't given to wines from pastures less trodden, including Beijing's best restaurant selection of Chinese wines. The list of Chinese wines covers well-known brands such as Jia Bei Lan and 1421, as well as newer brands like Chateau Nine Peaks and Kanaan. With many accessibly priced around RMB 300-400, TRB is a great option to introduce out of town guests to Chinese wines.

Note that many of the wines on their list are available via their online store, trb-wine, including the aforementioned Chinese wines.

Outstanding: Capital M

Capital M's wine list is helpfully divided into a "short list" and "long list", taking the stress of out choosing a bottle for indecisive diners, but leaving plenty of leeway for those who are in the mood for something specific. The bottles are clearly marked as "organic", "biodynamic" or "sustainably farmed" where applicable. Wines on the short list are mostly in the RMB 300-700 range, while for connoisseurs (*cough* big spenders) bottles on the long list stretch up to RMB 4000. Capital M's own-label house wine, supplied by McLaren Vale (southern Australia) winery Angove, is not only eminently drinkable, but somes in handy 325ml carafes (red/white RMB 125, rose RMB 165) for when a bottles is just that bit too much. 

Outstanding: Brasserie FLO

As one of Beijing's top French restaurants (they snagged "Outstanding" in the Best French Fine Dining category at this year's awards), you might not be surprised to hear that Brasserie FLO has an excellent wine list. The list covers a wide range of French regions, including some from lesser-known appellations like Jura, Midi and those of the southwest of France. Of course, the big hitting, expensive Bordeaux wines are catered for, but there are many affordable bottles at the other end of the list. Brasserie FLO's consecutive success in the Best Wine List category shows that for many in China, French is still "best", but in this case we feel it is justified.

More stories by this author here.

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Photos: Philippe Put (Flickr)


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