Every summer, Wine Spectator magazine—the Bible of the wine industry and read by wine aficionados—bestows its Restaurant Awards that recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.
This year, eight OC restaurants received the magazines’ Best of Award of Excellence, given to those with wine lists typically offering 350 or more selections that display excellent breadth across multiple wine-growing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation.
The local awardees were Mastro’s Steakhouse, Mastro’s Ocean Club, The Hobbit, The Ranch Restaurant and Saloon, Selanne Steak Tavern, Splashes, The Winery Tustin and The Winery Newport.
Bottles, By Glass
“We have a good program at our restaurants,” said The Winery Partner and Wine Director William Lewis, who noted that his Tustin restaurant, located at the District Tustin Legacy, has received that designation for 10 years in a row, while the Winery Newport along the water has received it for seven years.
Lewis said there is a difference between what people are drinking at the two restaurants.
“In Newport, people are buying bottles, but we sell more wines by the glass in Tustin. We get younger couples who may be on a budget, they come and see us because we offer a great value in wines by the glass or even wines by the bottle at the $60 to $65 range.”
Lewis noted that diners are drinking a lot of pinot noirs and blends, and of course cabernet sauvignon with steaks. When asked his favorite wine, he demurred by saying “I love all my children, it’s too hard to pinpoint one. I am trying to taste more French and Italian, and different blends.”
Selanne Steak Tavern in Laguna Beach received its sixth Excellence award. The restaurant is known for its 3,000-bottle inventory of 400 carefully chosen, diverse wine selections exhibiting both vintage depth and regional breadth. Along with its wide selection of wines from California and France, the list includes options from Washington, Oregon, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, and other countries.
“We are once again honored to be recognized as a Best of Award of Excellence recipient from Wine Spectator,” said Selanne Steak Tavern owners Teemu Selanne and Kevin Pratt in a press statement.
“Kudos and appreciation for their dedication and service are extended to Certified Advanced Sommelier Vito Pasquale and his team, Chef Vincent Terusa and General Manager Chad Sisco. Always many thanks to our loyal local California guests and to all who visit from around the world to savor the Selanne Steak Tavern hospitality experience.”
Selanne Steak Tavern: 1464 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, (949) 715-9881, selannesteaktavern.com
The Winery Tustin: 2647 Park Ave., Tustin, (714) 258-7600, thewineryrestaurants.com
The Winery Newport: 3131 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach, (949) 999-6622, thewinerynewport.com