BAE16colorOIC's "Sensational 17" Bottles as Selected by Osteria IL Centro Customers!

When Osteria IL Centro was awarded its 17th consecutive Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence” accolade we asked 17 notable OIC customers and other friends of the restaurant to pick one of their favorite bottles from the OIC Reserve Wine list. See below each of the esteemed wine connoisseur’s picks here. Why not consider one the next time you visit Osteria IL Centro?

PicMonkey Collage

Gregg Johnson (owner of OIC) and I in Napa Valley in February 2014

1. Brent Wittrock - Larkmead Cabernet

I have been lucky enough to try some spectacular wines over the last 13 years working here at OIC. One Vineyard I always seem to come back to (when available) is Larkmead. The wines they produce are always top notch and Sonny took great care of us in February when we were in Napa Valley.

Brent D. Wittrock is GM of Osteria IL Centro and lives in Brookside with his wife Katie, and daughters Audrey and Avery.

2. Doug Newman - 2002 Sequoia Grove Rutherford Reserve

NewportNuptialsMy wife and I were at a wedding in Newport, Rhode Island last summer and enjoyed dinner with close friends at Canfield House. One of their friends is a head honcho at St. Francis and Sequoia Grove (and Domaine Carneros and Louis Jadot!). He was nice enough to order the wine and introduced us to the Sequoia Grove Rutherford Reserve. It's a fantastic Cab that's very reasonably priced.

Doug Newman is a partner at DMH, an advertising agency in Kansas City. He and his wife, Mary Catherine, live dangerously close to Osteria Il Centro. Photo taken by Mary Catherine Newman.

3. Rob Hagg - 2005 Pahlmeyer

A great blend that never seems to let us down.  The last time Jessica and I drank it we were celebrating at Il Centro my new job offer.  It has always been a great wine that we enjoy, but it seems a little better when celebrating a major event.

Rob Hagg is the Senior VP of Life and Integrated Financial Services distribution for CreativeOne located in Leawood, KS

Shelley and AC Mondavi 20134. Shelley Hall - Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet

I've been lucky enough to have visited the Mondavi Winery a couple of times but the most memorable was last summer with 3 of my girlfriends.  Robert Mondavi is the man who brought worldwide recognition to the premium wines of Napa Valley, so the winery is a must see for any true wino.  We were given a private tour and did a vertical tasting of the Mondavi Reserve Cabs, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.  The wines were drinking spectacular and tasting each vintage next to each other was a very special experience.  The picture I have attached is my friend Amber Carlson who has just recently joined my team at Glazers and I in the To Kalon vineyard where Mondavi sources the Cabernet for the Reserve bottling.  It was a very special day and this wine will always have a special place in my heart.

Shelley Hall is a District Sales Manager for Glazers Midwest, the largest wine and liquor distributor in the state of Missouri

5. Cory Lagerstrom - Woodward Canyon Columbia Valley Merlot

In the vast world of wine, it is always great to be pleasantly surprised by a new wine and different varietal than we normally drink.  While attending an Il Centro wine tasting (if you have not attended one, you should) with the Woodward Canyon vineyard we were educated about the differences of California merlot and the northwest merlots of Washington State and Oregon.  Because the nights are cooler in the northwest prior to the harvest, it lengthens the ripening period which allows for much deeper and heavier merlots than their California counterparts.  Julianne and I instantly loved this bottle of wine.  It has a great price point and has the body of a light California Cabernet.  Our thinking on the Merlot grape instantly changed and we consistently keep a case of this wine in stock for our cellar.

Cory is an entrepreneur that enjoys traveling with his family, wine, BBQ, and hunting and fishing. 

6. Ryan Wilhite - 2009 Carlisle Russian River Papera Ranch Zinfandel

I have always been a huge fan of Carlisle wines. I think they are making some of the best Zins and Syrahs coming from California, especially for the price. I know there is an extensive wait time to even get on the mailing list, like 3-4 yrs., so to find these wines on a restaurant wine list is a rarity. I like the Zin because it can be very versatile and I feel like it can accompany any of the food at Il Centro. I don’t have strict rules about only drinking white wines with certain dishes and red wines with other dishes, I just go with what I like. This wine in particular has a great dark fruit and mocha nose with flavor profile that follow suit. There is a balance to the wine that blends the fullness of ripe fruit with the acidity that keeps it vibrant.

Ryan lives with his wife, Liza, and daughter Quinn, in Fairway and has been coming to IL Centro for around 6-7 years. "We love the restaurant and the staff feels like family – and the wine list isn’t too bad either."

 7. Taylor McCammon - 2005 Cristom Signature Cuvee Pinot Noir

I strongly recommend The 2005 Cristom Signature Cuvee Pinot Noir.  For both enjoyment in the near- and long-term, Cristom pinots are extremely well balanced.  There's always a portion of the wine that is made with whole cluster pinot grapes - this gives the wine a structure not normally tasted in pinot, and produces an expressive, aromatic nose that can be tasted with a long finish.  This is one of our favorite Oregon producers who never disappoint with any of their wines.  (Plus, 2005 has a special meaning for us as we moved from KC to Oregon!)

Taylor is an L&D Project Manager for a financial services company.  He was born and raised in KC, but now calls Portland, Oregon, home.  He and his wife come back each year to visit family, friends....and Il Centro!

Mark and Donna Friedell in Verona

Mark and Donna Friedell in Verona

8. Dr. Mark Friedell, MD - Zenato Amarone and Zenato Ripassa

Zenato Amarone and Ripassa  are some of the favorite Italian wines of my wife and I from the years that we lived there.  They are fruit-forward with notes of cherries, plums and currants and have a smooth finish.  Chocolate is noted on occasion in the more complex Amarone.  Because they are immediately drinkable and do not need hours of decanting they are perfect Italian wines to order when dining out.  Have the Amarone for special occasions and the “little brother (or sister)” anytime.

Dr. Mark Friedell, MD is the Chairman of Surgery at UMKC School of Medicine, Truman Medical Center and Saint Luke’s Hospital



9. Rick Redhair  - 2004 Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino (Sangiovese)

Celebrating our Anniversary at Il Centro, we asked Brent to take us up a notch from our usual routine. We are not wine experts. But with Brent and his staff’s education, we are well on our way to appreciating the nuances of wine. We enjoyed the nice balance with the flavor leaning to more red than black fruits. A wonderful bottle of wine on a special day.

 Rick Redhair is the Founder of Fillamental, a unique, curated guide to experiences in Kansas City

10. Kristin NorellAndrew Will “Ciel du Cheval Vineyard” (Red Mountain, WA) 2014-07-29_0930

I’m lucky enough to have family 10 minutes from this vineyard in the southeast corner of Washington state, and took a visit there on a uniquely frosty day this past winter.  “Ciel du Cheval” is French for ‘sky of the horse’, and the name is a nod to the Horse Heaven Hills, the ridge that borders and faces Red Mountain.  Red Mountain is one of the most recent AVA’s in Washington, and the region alongside the Yakima and Columbia Valley.  The area was recently defined by USA Today as being  undiscovered, unassuming,  unpretentious and welcoming to amateurs and connoisseurs alike. There are  a number of boutique wineries in the region, and any of the labels that bear the Ciel du Cheval vineyard will not disappoint! I’ve worked at a few of the wineries in the area and anytime there was a Ciel du Cheval grape on the list it always brought great interest from visitors. I was then so excited to see that Il Centro is carrying this Andrew Will , a not always exported winery with boutique productions.

I generally prefer a single varietal over a blend, but the blend of the Merlot and Cab, two varietals that this vineyard is especially known with more of a Cab Franc, is fruit forward and balanced and a dedicated evening with this drop is something to look forward to! I would drink this on its own, with the Osteria Bruschetta, Prosciutto Pizzette or those divine Lamb Chops!

Kristin Norell is the Global Sales Director for Andrews McMeel

11. Chris Kemp - Penfolds "Grange"

Following my graduation from college, I moved to Australia for a period of time and immediately fell in love with the wines “Down Under.” While I love the depth of a great Napa Cabernet such as Harlan Estate’s Bond or a wonderfully complex blend like the Rudd “Crossroads” Oakville, I have yet to replicate the experience of first encounter with the king of Australian wines, the Penfolds “Grange.”  This South Australian wine made predominantly from the Shiraz grape has defined the best of Australian wine making.  I absolutely love sharing a bottle of this on a special occasion with good friends as it always generates conversation as the wine dynamics change sip after sip!

Chris Kemp is an Executive at Cerner Corporation

12. Pat Coughlin  - Petrolo Galatrona Merlot

"I recommend the Petrolo Galatrona Merlot. Once aired, it gives new meaning to the term "decadent." Decant it, kick back and savor the flavor(s). Cheers."

Pat is a retired fire chief who enjoys gardening and cooking for friends.

13. Kendal and Jennifer Smith1994 Mount Veeder Reserve Meritage (Napa Valley).

 "We started with the 1992 vintage and have shifted to the 94 over time. In a word, the wine is exquisite. Versatile – it goes with almost any dish on the menu, well balanced – it’s a blend rather than a “big time, slap you in the face” Cabernet, and once it’s opened up (have a “starter glass” of something and relax) – it’s old-world in style but still very drinkable. The winemaker took great care in crafting this blend, plus it compares very favorably to bottles costing much more."

 Jennifer & Kendal Smith – members of numerous California wine clubs – “we’ve lost count, the bottles keep showing up, so we keep cellaring and drinking them!”.

14. Tony WisselCain Cuvee 

"Cain Cuvee is a fabulous easy drinking Meritage perfect for the atmosphere and food at Il Centro. I have been coming to Il Centro at least once a week with BK Christopher, an Attorney in Kansas City, for the last 5 years. We both live nearby at the Sulgrave Regency Condominiums and consider Il Centro our version of "Cheers" as we run into neighbors and friends on every visit. We love the way that Cain pairs with all the food but I am especially fond of it when the menu special is the Steak Spiedini!"
 Anthony works in Venture Capital with early stage software companies.

15. Sonya Jury1988 Marques de Riscal “Baron de Chirel” Reserva Tempranillo 

"After traveling through Rioja, I fell in love with the Tempranillo grape. My husband and I had the opportunity to tour this vineyard and learn about the labor of love process used to create their wines. We also dined in the Frank Gehry designed hotel and restaurant for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We got to dine before the King and Queen of Spain! This wine will not disappoint -- full-bodied red dark cherry-red with complex aromas with notes of ripe dark berries and light toasted essence. The long fresh finish is amazing – try with a jamon and manchego cheese platter. Cheers!" 

Sonya Jury is an Architect at 360 Architecture.

16. Julie HenslerMt. Veeder Cabernet 

"Mt. Veeder is like your favorite pair of jeans - comfortable, familiar and easy with a great finish." 

Julie Hensler is a 30 year veteran with Hyatt Hotels and food and wine enthusiast.

17. Erika KauffmanSullivan’s Cabernet 

"Two summers ago I went to Sullivan Vineyard in Napa for a “college reunion” with my 2 best friends.  Sullivan’s was my favorite vineyard and we had such a perfect experience there.  I love that I can sit at my favorite restaurant in Kansas City and enjoy a glass of Cab from Sullivan’s and cherish the memories of my time in Napa." 

Erika Kauffman is a Realtor with the Kauffman Group.