2013-08-05_1106Osteria IL Centro was recently awarded a 16th consecutive Wine Spectator “Best of Award of Excellence” accolade! To celebrate we gave all VIP members a 16% discount on every bottle they purchased for 16 days through Thursday, August 22nd.

Just for fun, we asked several notable OIC customers and other friends of the restaurant to pick one of their favorite bottles from the OIC Reserve Wine list. Each day of the promotion we posted one of the esteemed wine connoisseur’s picks on the website. (We actually had more wine picks than we had days of the promotion – we promise to post those picks in another promotion very soon!) If you’ve not tried the bottles mentioned below, why not consider one next time you visit Osteria IL Centro?


1. Gregg Johnson
Giacomo Borgono Barolo Riserva Figlia 1952

"We found cases of this wine ranging from 1952-1998 in a basement in New York. The vintner was called in and he uncorked all of the bottles to check for safety, and then recorked the lot. This red is rich in tannins, and spicy with nice depth. My favorite time to enjoy a bottle is on Christmas – or any special occasion."

- Gregg Johnson is the founder of Minsky's Pizza,  eggtc. and a popular Italian eatery just off the Plaza – with an exceptional wine list.

2. Cathy Allin
Chateau Montelena  Zinfandel 2004

"My favorite wine lately, at least for the last several years has been Zinfandel. Spicy, jammy, silky deep purple/red Zin created by the amazing vintners that meticulously harvest the mountains and valleys of the upper West Coast. Red Zin still seems a bit of a conundrum to those outside the U.S. Chateau Montelena disrupted the international wine community with its 1976 Paris Institute wine making award ­and also brought California to the attention of the greater wine world. Their philosophy is simple: Make the best, period. That's why I love this wine, and why I love Osteria IL Centro, they simply serve the best, ­period!"

- Cathy Allin is an entrepreneur with a knack for re-invention. She started her career in film and TV living in LA (where she had the opportunity to visit and sample many of the fine wineries and wine up and down the West Coast). She transplanted to KC in 1994 where she co-founded one of the city's first Internet development companies. Today she's President/CEO of Decision Insight, a company she transformed from local research firm into what is now a global provider of virtual shopping and Shopper Marketing research for the world's leading package goods companies. (Now that's a cereal entrepreneur!)

3. Taylor McCammon
Bergstrom "Bergstrom Vineyard" (Dundee Hills) 2008

"For me, this is quintessential Oregon Pinot Noir. It came from what I feel is the perfect vintage, 2008, where there were warm, sunny days with cool evenings. Everything is in perfect alignment and has everything I love about great Pinot: acidity balanced with mouth-filling fruit. That means it's great with food or on its own. It's graceful and silky, yet there is structure for aging."

- Taylor McCammon work's in the financial services industry, and is a wine enthusiast with a passion for Pacific Northwest wines. So much so, that he and his wife (both native Kansas Citians) moved to the Oregon in 2005 to be part of the wine experience. "From pouring in tasting rooms to helping at harvest/crush, we've seen that the wine world is much larger than just what's in the bottle. Wouldn't trade it for anything!", says Taylor. "My connection with OIC is Brent introducing me to a much larger wine world than white zinfandel several years ago - and I'm so glad he did! OIC became our go-to place for wine when dining out (plus, my wife and I had our first date at OIC!) Today, it's still our only "must visit" spot anytime we're back in KC." 

4. Jennifer Jo Cobb
Joseph Phelps Insignia 2004 & Veuve Clicquot PonsardinScreen Shot 2013-08-19 at 12.21.08 PM

"With such an extensive selection it is so hard to choose!  I am a full-bodied, heavy oak cabernet girl at heart.  A Silver Oak or Opus One is always delightful with any dish but my all time favorite cabernet is Joseph Phelps "Insignia."  My favorite Merlot is Washington state's Chateau St. Michelle.  However, sometimes you just have to celebrate a good day at the race track with some bubbles.  Dom and Cristal are nice, but Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is a personal favorite.  They say white wine with pasta, but the canneloni is deliciously rich and is a perfect match for my favorite Insignia.  I first tasted Joseph Phelps Insignia at a sponsor's event in Scottsdale, AZ. The wonderful memory accompanied by the delicious full flavor makes my mouth water thinking about it.  If you can splurge on the wine and love canneloni, you will have a meal at Osteria IL Centro that you will not soon forget."

- When not dueling it out at 200mph with the boys of NASCAR, KC native Jennifer Jo Cobb likes to visit IL Centro for a relaxing night out. Jen is a team owner and driver, fielding entries in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck series'. She's driven at our Kansas Speedway every year since 2002 and is the highest finishing female in any NASCAR series at the famous Daytona International Speedway.  She is the founder of Driven2Honor, to honor America's military women and currently competes full time at NASCAR tracks across the country while still maintaining a home in KC.

5. Rob Hagg
Joseph Phelps Insignia 2005

"My wife Jessica and I have enjoyed learning wines together. From first dates to fourth babies, we seem to find ourselves exploring year after year of Insignia. As we will never be the wine drinkers to discuss the deep mechanics and make up of the wines we drink, we are astonished in the consistency of amazing vintages each year. It truly is our celebration wine, we are very blessed to have been able to drink so many of these great bottles from Joseph Phelps."

- Rob Hagg is a suburban Chicago transplant to Kansas City. Married to Jessica with four children. He is the President of Insurance Strategies for Frontier Wealth Management in Kansas City. "Having four children has driven Jessica and I to become better wine enthusiasts due to being driven to greater consumption!" 

6. Brian Chansky
Jayson Red 2009

“This is an exceptional Cabernet blend that is big and bold with a long finish. This wine is not for the casual light red wine drinker, but if you are into cabernets and blends with a lot of body and style this is a perfect fit for you. I love this wine with the sausage and peppers dinner entrée.”

- Brian Chansky was born and bred in the Kansas City area, and is now working in the Medical Device Industry. He also happens to be a "huge fan of squished grapes!”

7. Charlie Podrebarac
Chappellet 'Signature' Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2010

"Chappellet is a classic long-lived Cabernet from the renowned ‘Pritchard Hill’ appellation high above Napa Valley. The reasonable price can be deceiving, but delivers excellent flavor. It's perfect for these cooler summer nights, and one of my favorite ways to relax after a long day of creative brainstorming for my next project."

- Charlie Podrebarac’s cartoons have appeared in newspapers and magazines such as Business Law Today, Nickelodeon, Playboy, and The New York Times Book Review. In addition, he’s produced creations for companies such as Hallmark, American Greetings, Paramount, the Kansas City Chiefs, and Boulevard Beer among others. And since 1984, he has written and drawn his single-panel cartoon, Cowtown, for the Kansas City Star Magazine (also on GoComics.com with his classic Fat Cats strip). On a tasty note, Podrebarac co-founded Cowtown Barbecue Products with his wife, Alicia, and the owners of Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue Restaurant in Kansas City.

8. Loy Edge
Pahlmeyer 2005

"This is a fantastic Bordeaux blend from Napa Valley. When you are in the mood for a big red to accompany a rich and flavorful dish like the Lamb Chops or the Veal Meatballs, this is really worth the splurge. If I had your money, I would drink this every night."

- Loy Edge was the man behind Harry's Bar & Tables, Zola, Raoul's, Buzzard Beach, and a place on the Plaza that didn't have a name. Twenty years ago this year, his vision inspired the first Friday night art crawl in what is now the Crossroads District -- it all began as a fundraiser for KCUR! He recently returned to town after living in LA.

9. Butch Rigby
Coppola Rubicon Cask 2007

"I chose this wine because I became acquainted with the winery when we opened our first Screenland Theatre, and thought a film director's wines would be a nice fit. Of course, we loved the wines he produced, and after meeting with the reps from the winery, I came to understand that Francis Ford Coppola makes his wines with the same passion with which he makes his films. That artistic passion is a key ingredient in any work of art-film or vino. The Rubicon Cask is the bottle I took home with me after I toured the winery."

- Butch Rigby owns the Screenland Theatres movie circuit in Kansas City. "I was really a 'late bloomer' in regard to wine, 30 years old before I really started to really enjoy it. Then, like any other passion, I wanted to know everything about it that I could. Like so many wine enthusiasts, I am just as happy with a nice, simple inexpensive bottle at dinner, and of course, my Wednesday 'date night' at Il Centro with Christy Cubbage always includes a glass (or two)."


10. Jim Yoder
Bruno Giacosa Barolo

"Any vintage of this hard-to-find wine is good. This particular selection exemplifies Osteria's extensive wine list of very affordable, drinkable wines. It is full-bodied, smooth and leaves no after taste. I truly believe that Osteria IL Centro is the best valued restaurant in Kansas City."

- Jim Yoder is a Kansas City native that works in the entertainment industry and is a venture capitalist.

11. Mayor Sylvester James
Caymus Special Selection

"I became a fan of Caymus in 1993 – and the last Irish Wolfhound that I owned was named Caymus Lady Beowin. It is a well-balanced, very dry, full-bodied California Cabernet of the highest quality. Osteria Il Centro is one of my favorite places to dine in Kansas City, even though the Caymus doesn't pair well with my favorite dish there, the Chicken Walnut Pasta."

- Sylvester James is Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

12. Cory Lagerstrom
El Corazon de Jonata 2005

"I have definitely gone through several buying cycles during my years of dining at Il Centro. My current fad is buying a bottle of Jonata after I get my cocktail at the bar when I arrive at the restaurant. My taste in wine continues to evolve and I have found myself drinking a lot of blends over the past couple of years. I temporarily kicked my Syrah and Red Zin habit and moved to the blends. Jonata is the sister vineyard of Screaming Eagle, so says the Screaming Website. I have come to the conclusion that I really like Jonata for 1/15 the price of her prom queen sister. No different than my job as wealth manager, I really like to find value in wine."

- According to Cory Lagerstrom, "By the time I graduated from college, my wine palette was so extensive I could actually identify the exact month the Boone's farm bottle I was enjoying was made, as in: 'Boy, that was a great October '93 bottle of Boone's Farm.' Shortly after college graduation I attended a dinner party where a family friend served Silver Oak. That was the night I become genuinely fascinated with wine. Unfortunately, my credentials in Boone's Farm are far more impressive." Cory works at Frontier Wealth Management, a company he co-founded in 2007.

 13. David Curry
Woodward Canyon "Old Vines" 2008

"If you are asking me to pick something a bit less “Every Day” than that, I pick the ’08 Woodward Canyon “Old Vines” from Columbia Valley in the Grand Old State of Washington.  The “Old Vines” from which the grapes for this wine were taken have combined to make a wine that stopped me in my tracks when I first tasted it at their tasting a few months back.  If you like a wine whose personality changes on your tongue more times than you can count before it makes its way down your throat, this is the one for you.  Just thinking about letting some of it slowly roll around on my tongue again is making my mouth water.  I own one bottle that I had intended to “sit on” for a good 20 years.  I hope I can forget it is down there!"

- Insurance by day, wine connoisseur extraordinaire by night, David Curry owns and operates Curry Insurance Group in Kansas City.

14. Ryan Wilhite
Mondavi Continuum 2009

"Tim Mondavi (son of Robert Mondavi) continues the legacy of Napa Valley's founding family, the Mondavi's. From the top of Pritchard Hill this wine gets better and better with each vintage. The 2009 vintage made with 80% estate fruit reminds me of the classic wines Tim made as head wine maker at Robert Mondavi, but now with a mountain fruit profile which I really enjoy."

Ryan Wilhite is a local wine enthusiast and regular customer at Osteria IL Centro with a passion for California wines, while also exploring and learning about wines from around the world. "I enjoy how sharing wine can bring friends, family, and strangers together."

 15. Doug Frost
Ridge Monte Bello 2006

"While I think the question I so often hear: “What’s your favorite wine?” is silly, my honest answer might be Montebello, at least if we’re talking about California."

- Doug Frost is a Kansas City author who writes and lectures about wine, beer and spirits. In 1991 he passed the rigorous Master Sommelier examination and two years later became America’s eighth Master of Wine. He was the second person in history to complete both exams and almost two decades later he is still one of only three people in the world to have achieved both these remarkable distinctions.

16. J.P. Gilmore 
Aldo Conterno Bussia Soprana Barolo 1997 is a bargain at $130. Italy - From Piedmont

"A classic Barolo from one of the best producers who is known for long lived wines. This wine is still a baby and is a bargain for a world renowned wine with 16 years age on it."

- JP Gilmore is the proprietor of Vintegrity, a fine wine and spirits distributorship in Missouri. Vintegrity represents artisanal wineries and spirits producers. JP has 17 years experience in the wine and spirits business, beginning his career at a fine wine shop and working as a sales manager at Missouri Conrad & Glazer’s before starting Vintegrity in 2008. JP is also an avid personal wine collector.