by Ian Froeb
The August 31, 2007, issue of Wine Spectator -- in my mailbox this week -- features the mag's annual Restaurant Awards, which this year honor the wine lists of nearly 4,000 restaurants
nationwide worldwide. This might be the most prestigious wine-related award an American restaurant can win. Victory ain't cheap, though. Just submitting a wine list to be considered costs a restaurant $250.
There are three awards. An Award of Excellence recognizes a list that offers "a well-chosen selection of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style." The Best of Award of Excellence honors a list that displays "either vintage depth, with vertical offerings of several top producers from major regions, or excellent breadth spread over several winegrowing regions."
The big kahuna, the Grand Award, honor lists that
typically offer 1,500 selections or more, and feature serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu and superior organization, presentation and wine service.
This year's awards honor 21 St. Louis restaurants. Of those, the magazine has designated four as "new winners" (i.e. they weren't on last year's list): Harvest, Lucas Park Grille, Savor and Vin de Set.
The biggest news for St. Louis restaurants might be the upgrade of Monarch from an Award of Excellence to a Best of Award of Excellence, a nice feather in the cap of the restaurant's former sommelier, Chris Hoel. (Read my colleague Kristen Hinman's profile of Hoel here.) Truffles and Annie Gunn's are the only other area restaurants with Best of Awards of Excellence.
The full list of St. Louis winners is after the jump. EDIT: The original draft noted that the magazine recognized nearly 4,000 restaurants nationwide. In fact, the awards recognize restaurants around the world.
Awards of Excellence: Cardwell's at the Plaza Eleven Eleven Mississippi Faust's Fleming's 400 Olive Harvest LoRusso's Cucina Lucas Park Grille Luciano's Trattoria Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood Morton's Portabella Remy's Kitchen & Wine Bar St. Louis Fish Market Savor Tony's Villa Farotto Vin de Set
Best of Awards of Excellence: Annie Gunn's Monarch Truffles