It’s the “Best Restaurants for Wine Lovers” issue with a directory of all their award winners. I don’t want to rehash the legitimate questions about the level of scrutiny (or lack thereof) applied to these awards. I just want to take them at face value and make some observations.
1. Apparently, you can’t have a best-of-the-best wine programs without strength in Bordeaux. Of the 75 Grand Award winners around the world — the three glass ratings — only one doesn’t have Bordeaux (or France, generally) among the “wine strengths” listed in it’s profile. The sole exception to the rule is Del Posto, whose strengths are listed as Italy and Champagne.
More intriguing to me are the “Best of Award of Excellence” winners (what an awkward name) — the two glass ratings — that have a more interesting or unexpected emphasis:
- Everest (Chicago): Alsace
- Salpicón (Chicago): a “comtemporary Mexican” restaurant with strengths in California, Spain, Austria and Italy.
- Lotus of Siam (Las Vegas): a Thai restaurant with strengths in Germany and France.
- Hearth (NYC): wine strengths listed as “International” – I can imagine the editor reviewing their geeky-cool list, throwing his/her hands up in dismay and saying let’s just call it “International”
- Telepan (NYC): wine strengths include the Loire, in addition to California, Italy and Burgundy.
- Bleeding Heart (London): a contemporary French restaurant with strength in New Zealand wines (and French)
- Deli Swiss (Dominican Republic): a “French/Caribbean” restaurant with wine strengths in Spain, France, Chile and Argentina
2. There are no two or three glass winners here in Austin, Texas. That means we’re trailing noted culinary hotspots like:
- Pittsboro, NC (Fearrington House Restaurant)
- Moose, WY (Dornan’s)
- Iowa City, IA (Chef’s Table)
- Shepardstown, WV (Bavarian Inn)
- Hattiesburg, MS (Crescent City Grill)
- Anchorage, AK (The Crow’s Nest and Marx Bros. Cafe)
3. Outside of the restaurant awards section, I was struck by this while flipping through the reviews of new releases… I really need to start paying more attention to Austrian wines. There are tons of Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners rated Outstanding (90-94) in the under $30 price range. Producers: Johann Donabaum, Knoll, Gritsch Mauritiushuf, Petra Unger, Rainer Wess.