French Laundry Shares WS Top Honours

The French Laundry, the 3-star Michelin Restaurant in Yountville of Napa Valley, has also won the Wine Spectator's Grand Award 2007 as the best restaurant in the world with outstanding wine list. Palais Coburg of Vienna shares the honours, reports Wine Spectator Online.

This is the highest award given by the magazine's annual dinging guide which contains the listing of about 4000 restaurants around the world with outstanding lists.

Chef Thomas Keller's Laundry offers a wine list with nearly 1,800 labels backed by an inventory of 12,500 bottles. Bordeaux first-growth verticals focus on the best vintages only, such as 1996, 1995, 1990, 1986, 1982 and 1961.

Burgundies on offer include several wines, each from top producers such as Raveneau, Coche-Dury, Comtes Lafon, Carillon, Leflaive, Roty, Jayer, Rouget and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

The California Cabernet section has verticals of Phelps Insignia dating to 1977 ($1,000), Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour to 1968 ($785), Bryant to 1992 ($2,100), Colgin to 1992 (Herb Lamb Vineyard, $2,100) and Shafer Hillside Select to 1987 ($575).

But the focus is more on recent vintages from wineries such as Blankiet, Bond, Covenant, Hewitt, Paul Hobbs, Hollywood & Vine, Hundred Acre, Igneous, Kapcsandy, Kobalt, Merus, Ramey, Revana, Sirita, Sloan and Vine Cliff, which are hard to find easily on most wine lists.

The joint winner, Palais Coburg is the restaurant of a 35-suite luxury hotel in the center of Vienna. It sits above a series of six wine cellars that store more than 60,000 bottles, with 5,000 different labels. Last year alone, wine worth more than $21 million was added, doubling the inventory.

"It's a lot of walking around if you are looking for just a bottle or two, but it's good exercise," said wine director Thomas Breitwieser.

Large-format first-growth Bordeaux and grand cru Burgundy stand imposingly in the 30,000 bottle "French cellar". It includes magnums of '45 Mouton and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche, and an 18-liter bottle of '95 Cheval-Blanc. Another section is dedicated totally to the luscious Sauternes of Château d'Yquem, the hues of the wines cascading from the gold of the young vintages to the amber of an 1811.

Restaurant Awards given annually by Wine Spectator recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. There are three levels of awards:

The Award of Excellence is the magazine's basic award for lists that offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers. The Best of Award of Excellence is the second-tier award, created to give special recognition to restaurants that have lists displaying either vintage depth or excellent breadth spread over several regions.

The Grand Award is given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine programs, typically offering 1,500 selections or more from top producers and outstanding depth in mature vintages, large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior organization, presentation and wine service.

Diva Restaurant of Delhi has already been a recipient of the Award of Excellence. The full list of the restaurants and their awards comes out next week and we hope to fill you in, on the Indian winners.


If you are a wine lover and plan to be in California or Vienna, plan a memorable evening and eat at these two best restaurants in the world. But please be warned and don't walk in unannounced. Reservation of up to 2 months in advance is required. You may get lucky though, if there are some last minute cancellations. I wasn't, when I wanted to eat at the French Laundry earlier this year- editor


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