It’s no secret that Newport Beach has excellent restaurants, and excellent wine lists.
The Wine Spectator magazine agrees. A handful of local restaurants have received an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator, as noted in the magazine’s August issue.
Launched in 1981, the Restaurant Awards are judged on three levels: Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence, and the Grand Award, given to 100 restaurants around the world.
“We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on the destinations around the world that show devotion to their wine program, while also creating a comprehensive global dining guide for our readers to enjoy,” Marvin Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator, said in a prepared press release. “Both novice wine lovers and seasoned sommeliers alike actively seek and frequent restaurants with exciting, well-curated wine lists.”
The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers. Best of Award of Excellence recipients offer more extensive selections with significant vintage depth and excellent breadth across multiple regions.
The Grand Award is the program’s highest honor. This elite group comprises the world’s best wine programs, which deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vantages, excellent harmony with the menu and superior presentation.
This year, Studio at the Montage in Laguna Beach has been given a Grand Award, the sixth year in a row the restaurant has received that designation.
Studio’s extensive wine list excels in collections produced in California; Burgundy, Rhône, Bordeaux, and Champagne, all in France; Italy; and Spain. The restaurant’s wine program is comprised of approximately 2,500 selections with 30,000 bottles in inventory. The restaurant’s sommelier team is comprised of three full-time sommeliers, three of whom hold the advanced sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In the Best of Award of Excellence category, local winners include The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar (with a wine list curated by the always affable and enthusiastic sommelier William Lewis), Andrea at Pelican Hill Resort, and Mastro‘s Ocean Club; and a couple from neighboring Laguna Beach: Selanne Steak Tavern and Splashes at Surf & Sand Resort.
The Award of Excellence was bestowed on Eddie V‘s Prime Seafood, Canaletto Ristorante Veneto, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Bayside Restaurant, Rusty Pelican, The Cannery Seafood Of The Pacific, The Quiet Woman, and Harley Laguna Beach.
One restaurant I expect to see on the list next year is the new Louie’s by the Bay. Co-owner Piero Selvaggio, who previously owned the famed Valentino restaurant in Santa Monica and its equally famous wine list, brought his bottles with him to his new restaurant on Coast Highway.
For more information, visit WineSpectator.com.