LAKE PLACID — Five regional restaurants won Wine Spectator awards for their wine lists and the way those are combined with menu selection.
The Lake Placid Lodge, at 144 Lodge Way in that village, won a Best of Award of Excellence, one of the highest honors.
Awards of Excellence went to four local dining establishments:
• Irises Café & Wine Bar at City Hall Place in Plattsburgh.
• Anthony’s Restaurant & Bistro on Route 3 in Plattsburgh.
• The View at Mirror Lake Inn on Mirror Lake Drive in Lake Placid.
• Interlaken Inn & Restaurant on Interlaken Avenue in Lake Placid.
The Best of Award of Excellence selected winners from restaurants around the world with wine lists offering 350 or more selections.
Lake Placid Lodge General Manager Andrew Keasler said their wine cellar is a core aspect of their business.
“With the wine cellar that we maintain, we’re looking to support the rest of the business that goes on here,” he said.
“We have an exceptional food program. And we have exceptional clientele. Our wine program needs to fit both. It has to augment food and support our clientele, and we listen carefully to their recommendations.
“We do have a Level 5 sommelier; the role is very important in helping us maintain that level of service,” Keasler said.
“In conjunction with that, we’re bringing in a Level 2 sommelier. We’re constantly trying to improve what and how we do,” the Lodge general manager said.
Wine Spectator is the standard bearer for the restaurateur’s industry, he added.
And the Best of Award of Excellence is one step away from a Grand Award Class win.
“It’s a nice accomplishment, something we’re looking to improve on,” Keasler.
“We’re going to continue to see if we can’t beat that award.”
In conferring the Best of Award of Excellence honor, Wine Spectator magazine said “these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team.”
Awards of Excellence celebrate wine lists with at least 90 selections, which the wine magazine says “whether compact or extensive, focused or diverse, these lists deliver sufficient choice to satisfy discerning wine lovers.”
At Irises, owner Carol McLean said she chooses wines often from smaller-scale-production wineries.
“I do have some that are well known, but I prefer smaller, family-owned wineries. I find that they usually have a unique style of wine, too,” she said.
“I tend to like wines that are a little more flavorful, more New World wines, like those from the United States and Argentina.”
Her favorite wine?
“I like Beckman’s Vineyards, Cuvee Le Bec, a Syrah Grenache blend from California, and it is organic and yummy.”
McLean said they were pleased to be selected by Wine Spectator for the award.
“We appreciate that. It’s great they take into account that everybody’s business is different. They look at the diversity of your wine list.”
Combining its place as both restaurant and wine bar, McLean said they pair wines with menu items.
Irises serves 40 types of wine by the glass.
The downtown restaurant has a special treat for guests in winter.
“We do a first-Tuesday wine tasting each month in the wintertime. It’s a casual format: we pour six wines each time and we talk about the wines. We’re a wine bar; that is our specialty.”
The Wine Spectator Restaurant Award tests thousands of restaurants around the world and has been conferring similar honors since 1981, according to a news release.
Awards are given at three levels: the Award of Excellence, with 2,414 honored this year; the Best of Award of Excellence, 1,093 for 2016; and the Grand Award, with just 88 winners.
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