After watching Levi Dalton’s interview with Raj Vaidya, I had to go and check out Daniel’s list. I knew from the beginning that it was going to be filled with big guns, but I aimed to seek out the values for economical wine drinkers, like myself, who want to experience Daniel without blowing a huge hole in their budgets.

Predictably, this was a bit of a challenge. Daniel and its wine list is all about the best. While the best is not necessarily synonymous with the most expensive, there is a definite correlation. Consider, for example, the extensive selections on offer from Dauvissat, Raveneau, d’Yquem, Mouton and Lafite.

These names represent some of the greatest, most sought after wines on earth. It is no surprise to find them priced well beyond the means of most ordinary folk, even those bold enough to venture to Daniel. The key to my wine list adventure was to track down the values interspersed among these gems.

Daniel NYC
60 E 65th St 
New York, NY 10065
(212) 288-0033

To start with, as seems fitting in such a celebrated and celebratory space, a bottle of Champagne might be in order. The Guy Larmandier “Cremant Grand Cru” at $125 a bottle seems like a reasonable price among the many premium offerings.

If Champagne is not your thing, Chardonnay might be, and with so much Chablis, White Burgundy and other offerings on the list, it is certainly a wine to take note of when thinking about pairing with Daniel’s menu. While I loved the Chablis selection, nothing really stood out to me as value. If I was in the mood for White Burgundy, there were a trio of well priced offerings that would make for a lovely start to the evening.

2008 Domaine Mortet $80
2008 Domaine Jean-Marc Roulot $75
2009 Domaine Louis Carillon “Champs Martin” $105

Maybe even closer to the mark in some ways were the trio of vintages on offer from Lopez de Heredia. A mini vertical of  is cause for celebration in and of itself, and at these prices 1993 ($115), 1992 ($120) and 1990 ($120) it is an affordable celebration at that.

I thought the list was surprisingly light on Italian white wines, though the following pages, laden with finds from Austria and Germany, made me quickly forget this minor shortcoming. While one Austrian wine caught my eye, the 2006 Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner “Achleiten” Smaragd ($85), it was the great selection of German wines that drew me in.

I don’t know how to choose from so many fine and well priced offerings, so here’s a mini selection that would do any restaurant list proud.

2004 Karthäuserhof “Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg” Kabinett $60
2004 Karthäuserhof “Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg” Spätlese $85
2008 Willi Schaefer “Graacher Domprost” Kabinett $60
2007 Zilliken “Saarburger Rausch” Kabinett $60
2009 Dönnhoff “Oberhäuser Leistenberg” Kabinett $65
2007 Schäfer-Fröhlich “Bockenauer Felseneck” Spätlese $95
2006 Schäfer-Fröhlich “Bockenauer Felseneck” Spätle $75
2010 Weingut Keller QBA Trocken “Von der Fels”  $75
2009 Weingut Keller QBA Trocken “Von der Fels” $75
2008 Weingut Keller QBA Trocken “Von der Fels” $70

Rounding out the white wine selctions was a well thought out domestic Chardonnay list, which offered the 2009 Jordan ($90) and the 2009 Lange Vineyards “Three Hills Cuvée” ($85) as enticing selctions. But the next great find on the list, and one that I would be excited to pair with the menu, was the 2009 De Morgenzon Chenin Blanc ($75) from Stellenbosch, South Africa.

Interestingly, Daniel’s list transitions from whites to dessert wines, so let’s just roll out the props here for the monumental dessert wine list. It includes an exceptionally extensive d’Yquem list! With the 1995 at $550 not being a terrible buy!

I wouldn’t pretend to be a large enough fan of dessert wines to even consider ordering an entire bottle in a restaurant, so after a cursory glance, it was time to move on to the meat of the list. The reds.

The selection of red wines starts off with pages and pages of red Burgundy. The selection and prices are enough to make your head spin, including the impressive selection of DRC. In fact, the whole Burgundy list, while filled with exceptional wines, is pretty exceptionally priced. In rides 2009 Beaujolais to the rescue! Any of their current offerings make for a brilliant accompaniment to their menu.

Domaine Jean Paul Brun “Terres Dorées” Côte de Brouilly $60
Domaine Marcel Lapierre Morgon “Cuvée Marcel” $95
Domaine du Vissoux Fleurie “Poncie” $70

After a brief burst of modesty, the list returns to lofty heights with premium selections from the Rhone, lots of LaLas, and of course Bordeaux. If you’re interested in a Bordeaux-styled wine with dinner, you’re best bet is actually a fine Cabernet blend from Trentino. The 2001 San Leonardo at $115 a bottle is a lovely and discerning choice for the list.

While the Italian red wine list is not quite as brief as its white wine options, it’s a little light on great values, though two of the best deals on the list are a pair of simple, fresh Italians. The 2008 Vietti Tre Vigne Barbera d’Asti ($45) might be very familiar to people, while the 2008 Grosjean Cornalin ($65) is more of a mystery. And it’s a delicious, light and elegant mystery that harks back to Beaujolais, with a little more Burgundy thrown in for good measure.

That’s the end of the true finds amongst all the trophy red wines. There were several other appealing wines, such as the  2001 CVNE “Viña Real” Gran Reserva ($100) and a trio of excellent Oregon Pinot Noir: 2009 Bergström “Cumberland Reserve” ($90), 2007 Cristom Louise Vineyard  ($120), 2009 Evening Land Vineyards “Seven Springs Estate” ($110), but I identified the whites and reds I would be most likely to try.

So as it turns out, on a list that is decidedly crafted to appeal to the high rollers of the world, there were plenty of lovely, affordable and well chosen wines that would keep any wine lover happy. In fact, to fully appreciate the breadth of these values, one might have to schedule several visits to the restaurant. I think I’ll start with one!

Daniel NYC
60 E 65th St 
New York, NY 10065
(212) 288-0033