Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, specializing in small plates that put modern twists to Italian classics and fine wines from around the world, announced the expansion of its wine program at its location in Clifton, NJ. The restaurant – which has received Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for six years running for its selection of over 150 wines by the bottle – now offers over 350 world-class wines available by the bottle, with more than 60 wines by the glass.
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas offers options to meet all budgets and tastes, with the goal of making wine approachable and unpretentious for both newbies and connoisseurs. This includes its everyday list featuring wines ranging from $20 to $2,000 per bottle and representing 14 different countries, including 18 of the 20 wine regions of Italy, to its reserve list of over 100 highly-allocated and highly-rated wines, to its selection of small and large format wines ranging in size from the 187-ml split and 375-ml demi to the six-liter Imperial, along with daily wine flights.
“Since opening our doors in April of 2012, the team at Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas has had a passion for providing guests with dishes starring fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and a wine program that is every bit as important as the food coming out of our kitchen,” said Brian McAllister, wine director and general manager of the Clifton restaurant. “We operate under the philosophy that wine enhances a great meal, and the expansion of our wine selection allows us to further cultivate a destination that allows our guests to sip and sample their way through a dining experience they will always remember.”
Aside from the sheer size of its wine list – from which Spuntino Wine Bar sold an average of over 130 bottles and 1,100 glasses per week in 2017 – there are several points that set its wine program apart from the rest, including:
- A rigorous wine selection process: To determine which wines are ultimately rotated into the list (which is updated by 12-18 wines quarterly, with additional specials added regularly), Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas relies on a tasting panel led by Brian McAllister, wine director and general manager of the Clifton restaurant, who taste 10-12 wines per session. The panel format is unique as it allows for a diverse range of palates, rather than one individual sommelier, to ensure that each wine added is a fit. The goal is to curate a selection consistent with the diversity of the 60+ item menu.
- State-of-the-art wine preservation: Custom-made, climate-controlled walls house floor-to-ceiling wine cabinets that hold over 1,800 bottles, a visually stunning, state-of-the-art wine preservation system. Once opened, each bottle is vacuum-sealed using the Vinfinity wine preservation system, which uses patented FlashVacuum™ technology to remove the optimal amount of air in an open bottle in less than two seconds, extending the life of an open bottle for up to three weeks. Each open bottle is also dated upon opening and tasted daily to ensure top quality.
- A comprehensive wine education program for employees: All managers, bartenders and servers partake in thorough training, which involves the tasting of 10 – 12 wines per day during the first few weeks, along with daily verbal quizzes and weekly written quizzes. This ensures that each member of the staff learns the complexities and nuances of each wine and how to pair wines with its diverse tapas-style menu, in addition to learning the specialty wines rotated in regularly.
The restaurant also offers specials and activations that provide guests with experiential avenues to explore its diverse wine selection.Specialty wine dinners are offered on an ongoing basis throughout the year and highlight authentic regional dishes developed to pair with wines from featured and local vineyards. Guest speakers from the wineries are often on-hand to share tasting notes to go along with the cuisine. Bin Night, offered every Monday at the Clifton location, provides an opportunity for wine lovers to experience specially-priced fine wines from famous appellations around the globe, and its Thursday Flight Night series showcases three wines – offered in two-ounce pours – grouped via a weekly theme, with the option to pair tapas to each flight.
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas features a chef-driven, scratch-made menu that changes seasonally, focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients. To complement its menu, Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas has an extensive list of over 350 world-class wines available by the bottle with more than 60 wines by the glass.