Wine Spectator Winners in Fairfield County
Nine local restaurants recognized for their outstanding wine programs
The Wine Spectator Dining Guide program was created in 1981 with just over a dozen participants recognizing those restaurants with outstanding wine lists. In 2014 Wine Spectator saw the list grow to include over 4,000 participating restaurants worldwide, with a few of the original winners still in the program. Over the years the program expanded from a single award category to the current, which now includes three tiers. Gillian Sciaretta, Restaurants Award Manager, explained that “wine programs have become much more popular and more important over the years.”
This year nine Fairfield County restaurants, and 26 restaurants in the Nutmeg State were selected for the special issue. These restaurants all earned the Wine Spectator Award for their wine programs in 2014. Selections were based on Wine Director/Sommelier, wine strengths, selections, prices, corkage, cuisine type and prices. Sciaretta noted, that the program evaluates the wine lists and not the restaurants. While it is assumed that these restaurants offer the best quality and service, this may not be the case. Food is not taken into consideration. While many editors dine anonymously many of these restaurants, due to the sheer number of entrants and winners, it is impossible to visit each and every restaurant.
There are three award tiers: 2,701 winners of the Award of Excellence, 883 winners of the Best of Award of Excellence and 74 winners of the Grand Award.
The Award of Excellence: basic award for restaurants with lists that offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers along with a thematic menu in price and style. These lists offer at least 90 selections.
The Best of Award of Excellence: second-tier award that gives special recognition to restaurants that clearly exceed the standard requirements. These lists will display vintage depth, vertical offerings from several top producers from major regions and excellent breadth that is spread over several winegrowing regions.
The Grand Award: highest award and given to those restaurants showing an uncompromising passion and devotion to the wine program. These restaurants typically offer over 1,500 selections and feature a serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, superior organization, presentation and wine service.
Of the nine Fairfield County Restaurants to be nominated, four have earned the Best of Award of Excellence.
Five restaurants earned the Award of Excellence:
Rounding out the list other restaurants in Connecticut include:
The Capital Grille, Hartford
David Burke Prime Steakhouse, Mashantucket
Esca Restaurant and Wine Bar, Middletown
Fife ‘N Drum Restaurant Inn, Kent
Flemming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, West Hartford
Go Fish Restaurant, Mystic
Goodfella’s Restaurant, New Haven
The Griswold Inn and Wine Bar, Essex
Kensington’s, The Spa at Norwich Inn
Max Downtown, Hartford
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Newington
2Hopewell, South Glastonbury
Vivo Season Trattoria, Hartford
Zinc Restaurant, New Haven
The 2015 Wine Spectator Restaurant Wine List Awards will accept new entries and renewals starting on January 2015. Visit www.winespectator.com/awards.
The current issue of Wine Spectator is currently available at newsstands.