For many discerning diners, choosing a restaurant doesn’t just involve the food menu.
The wine list is equally crucial.
Serious grape aficionados scrutinize the annual Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards, which began in 1981. Calling itself “the world’s leading authority on wine,” Wine Spectator highlights dining destinations with the best selections.
Last year, 11 Idaho restaurants made the cut. This year, that number is down — way down — to six. But before you spit up your chardonnay, take a deep breath. Idaho’s awards plummet doesn’t necessarily indicate that our wine scene is in the midst of a massive nose dive.
More likely, it means we’re in the midst of a pandemic.
In 2020, Wine Spectator honored 3,776 dining destinations worldwide. In 2021? That number dropped to 2,917. It’s worth noting that Wine Spectator has reopened 2021 Restaurant Award applications for any 2020 winners that “missed the deadline for COVID-related reasons.”
Wine Spectator Awards are pay-to-play; restaurateurs submit an entry fee to be considered. Not all restaurants that enter make the cut.
The awards offer three levels of distinction: Award of Excellence (1,673 winners); the loftier Best of Award of Excellence (1,141) and the upper-tier Grand Award (103).
When a restaurant receives any type of Wine Spectator award, it’s an indication that significant thought and resources are being devoted to wine.
Below are the Idaho recipients.
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BEST OF AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
▪ Chandlers Steakhouse, 981 W. Grove St., Boise.
▪ The Narrows Steakhouse at Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St., McCall.
AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
▪ Capitol Cellars, 110 S. Fifth St., Boise.
▪ Fork, 199 N. Eighth St., Boise.
▪ Ill Naso, 480 Washington Ave., Ketchum.
▪ Richard’s, 500 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise.