How Wine Enthusiast Decides on 100 Best Wine Restaurants

Wine Enthusiast Top 100 Wine Restaurants

Wine Enthusiast

Lists are big…now more than ever…”The top 10 reasons why your dog hates you”…”5 best places to retire & not go broke”…”15 signs that it’s time to quit your job”….the lists go on. One big reason these lists are so popular is they immediately pique interest and scan well online. After all, what fun is it to do loads of mind numbing research when it’s already been condensed into fun-to- read snippets?

Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s List of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants for 2012 showcases top flight restaurants that pair their dishes with extensive lineups of stellar wines. Deftly handled by an army of Wine Enthusiast editors scouring the country for the ultimate wine dining experiences, narrowing down a list like this strikes me as downright enviable.

So I asked Wine Enthusiast Senior Associate Editor Alexis Korman how they managed to weed through our nation’s vast gustatory landscape and settle with 100…all the more challenging since a third are new restaurants. “When searching out the hottest wine-focused restaurants across the country, we considered several aspects of wine restaurant service. In addition to having stand-out food, we sought wine lists with depth but also considered selections that demonstrated quirky or eclectic sensibilities. We looked at each restaurant as a whole instead of making a decision based upon a singular, subjective dining experience. All prospective winners were sent a list of questions about their beverage and culinary programs, perfect wine and food pairings, and even riot-worthy signature dishes (things on the menu that regular customers simply wouldn't stand to have removed from the menu) to get a true feel for each restaurant and better gauge how their wine lists were created.”

As you can see, the Wine Enthusiast America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants goes way beyond a simple list reaching compendium standards derived from insiders’ take on dining trends, chef and sommelier interviews, chef recipes and the restaurants’ perfect wine and food pairings. They also ended up with the following top 5 features:

  • Pig Roasts: the pet project of top chefs across the country
  • Onsite Gardens: cocktails and dishes that are truly homegrown
  • Burgers: an American classic and a perfect wine-pairing partner
  • Large-Format Bottles: a return to luxe wine service
  • The Map: a hunger-inducing road map of culinary & vinous delights

Photos courtesy of Wine Enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast

Wine Enthusiast Wine Restaurant Map

Steve Mirsky

I firmly believe that distinctive cuisine and life-changing travel experiences are best savored by those driven by curiosity rather than solely on the recommendations of wine connoisseurs, gourmands, and jet setters. Classic hotels, signature boutique properties, and epic dining experiences provide some of the best opportunities for an authentic introduction to new cultures and cuisine. I shar...(Read More)

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