Graycliff Restaurant has once again received a Grand Award from Wine Spectator, an award which it has won since 1988 for the restaurant.
The West Hill Street restaurant world-renowned for its wine cellar was one of 100 Wine Spectator Grand Award winners.
According to Wine Spectator, which will release the winners in its August issue, Graycliff’s wine strengths are Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany, Italy, California, Port and Spain, with a French Bahamian cuisine.
Graycliff’s wine cellar boasts an inventory of over 250,000 bottles from over 5,000 vintners in 20 countries, making it a connoisseur’s dream. The inventory ranges from today’s most popular vintages to some of the rarest, including an 1865 Château Lafite, and the oldest and one of the most expensive bottles in the world, a 1727 Rudesheimer Apostelwein from Bremen Ratskeller in the Rheingau region.
Graycliff, which is owned by Enrico and Anna Maria Garzaroli, was in the top 100 among the likes of Tribeca Grill, New York; The French Laundry, California; Per Se, New York; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas; Robuchon Au Dôme, China; Spago Beverly Hills, California; Joël Robuchon Restaurant, Las Vegas; La Pergola, Italy; Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, New York; Delmonico Steakhouse, Las Vegas; Emeril’s New Orleans, New Orleans; Jean-Georges, New York; 21 Club, New York; and Bern’s Steak House, Tampa, Florida.
Enrico Garzaroli also serves as the restaurant’s wine director.
Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.
To qualify for an award, a wine list must present complete, accurate information, including vintages and appellations for all selections. Complete producer names and correct spellings are mandatory, and the overall presentation of the list is also considered. Lists that meet the requirements are judged for one of their three awards:
Award of Excellence (of which there were 2,447 winners) – wine lists which offer at least 90 selections, feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Whether compact or extensive, focused or diverse, the lists deliver sufficient choice to satisfy discerning wine lovers.
Best of Award of Excellence (of which there were 1,244 winners) – wine lists which display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation. Typically offering 350 or more selections, these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.
Grand Award (of which there were 100 winners) – the highest award, given to restaurants that show an uncompromising and passionate devotion to the quality of their wine programs. These wine lists typically feature 1,000 or more selections, and deliver a serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu and superior presentation. These restaurants offer the highest level of wine service.
Eight new Grand Award winners were included on this year’s list – Alfredo Di Roma Mexico, Mexico, a powerhouse of Italian food and wine; Fiola, Washington, D.C., a love affair with wine and food; Griggeler Stuba, Austria, a fusion of wine, art and natural beauty; Mastro’s Steakhouse at the Post Oak Hotel, Houston, Texas, a monumental wine list with a side of steak; Pappas Bros. Steakhouse Downtown Houston, Houston, Texas, a deep caller supports a classic menu; The Pool, New York, a fabled dining destination reborn; Ristorante Cracco, Milan, Italy, modern cuisine meets Old World wine; and Vantre, Paris, France, the very model of a modern Parisian wine bar.
Wine Spectator’s awards program evaluates wine lists, not restaurants as a whole, although they assume that the level of food and service would be commensurate with the quality of the wine lists.
The awards are designed to elevate wine selection and service around the world, and encourage strong programs that complement a variety of cuisines, settings and prices.
The Grand Award made its debut in 1981 and was created as a way to recognize restaurants with extraordinary wine lists at a time when wine sales were surging, the California wine industry was expanding rapidly and an appreciation for wine was becoming an integral part of American culture.
That year, 13 winners in the United States were selected for the Grand Award honor from more than 500 restaurant candidates nominated by wine writers, consultants, importers and distributors. Each wine list was reviewed for its quality of selection, breadth and depth, value and presentation. In addition, editors personally visited the final candidates to evaluate inventory and storage, service and ambiance and the quality of the restaurant’s cuisine.
The program grew steadily, and in 1982, 12 more restaurants achieved the Grand Award, and another 75 restaurants were awarded honorable mention, coming together to create Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Restaurant Wine Lists in America for 1982. In 1984, the program honored its first international award recipients, and in 1985, Wine Spectator debuted the Award of Excellence and Best of Award of Excellence categories to create the three-tiered award system that is still used today.
Today, the program encompasses more than 3,500 award-winning lists from more than 70 countries and all 50 states. Restaurant owners are increasingly attuned to offering value and diversity in their wine programs. Wine regions across the globe are represented to match with cuisines from six continents and categories from classic steakhouses to tapas to seasonal farm-to-table, vegetable-centric establishments.
The three award categories are designed to serve as a guide for readers and set a level of expectation for a restaurant’s wine program. Wine lists that earn an award of excellence, whether compact or extensive, deliver sufficient choice to satisfy discerning wine lovers.
Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.