Restaurant Spotlight: Granita

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Located a two-hour drive northwest of Boston in Keene, N.H., Granita brings Italian-inspired food and an impressive wine list to the small, quintessentially New England town. Opened in early 2020, the restaurant was quickly forced to switch to takeout when the pandemic struck. But Granita returned full steam in May 2021, earning Wine Spectator's Best of Award of Excellence within a month of reopening.

At its core, Granita serves hyper-local and seasonal dishes, supported largely by a partnership with Seward Mountain Farm, a family-run operation just 10 miles away from the restaurant. That's in addition to regular sourcing from other specialty growers and purveyors nearby. Chef Andres Joaquin uses these ingredients for dishes like classic meatballs, butternut agnolotti and grilled black cod with a caramelized sweet potato broth.

Consultant and wine director Maureen Downey manages the extensive wine program in collaboration with the restaurant's owner, Moe Kelley. With 2,000-labels, the list has a strong focus on landmark wines from the Old World and California, including landmark and rare bottlings from producers like RidgeWilliam Fèvre, and Gaja.

The by-the-glass list is just as lengthy, offering nearly 70 selections sourced entirely from Italy. For a more curated experience, Granita offers about 20 different wine flights with themes like "the elegant reds of Valtellina" and "floral, herbal Nebbiolo blends." Downey notes that a key component of the program is value, opening up the opportunity for guests to explore the wide variety of rare and sought-after wines at near-retail cost, all enticing allure for enophiles.