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5 Interesting Facts About the 2017 World’s Best Wine List Awards

What do Eleven Madison Park, Emirates Airlines, and Momofuku Ko have in common? According to the World of Fine Wine, they all have the best wine lists in the world.

The World of Fine Wine just announced the 2017 winners of its fourth annual “World’s Best Wine Lists” awards. The judging panel includes a number of authorities, including acclaimed author Alder Yarrow of Vinography and Anne Kriebiehl, MW. Best wine list awards are nothing new. What we found interesting were (1) the categories, and (2) their often surprising winners.

1. The best hotel wine list goes to an estate in Tennessee. The Barn at Blackberry Farm has a cellar that runs 160,000 bottles deep. Hotel guests can actually book an in-depth session with a member of the sommelier team to taste through regions, varietals, and vintages. And while the hotel is in Tennessee, their wine list has a special focus on California producers, and showcases many producers who do not sell outside of their own winery.

2. The best Champagne and sparkling wine list is at a patisserie in Oregon. Pix Patisserie is run by a chef who fell in love with France — both its desserts, and its Champagne. Probably what’s most amazing about chef Cheryl Wakerhauser’s list is that nearly every Champagne includes a disgorgement date. Wakerhauser strongly believes that the disgorgement length (how long a Champagne was left on its lees) significantly impacts the taste — recently disgorged wines have a fresher, more fruit-forward flavor profile, while wines disgorged in the past will take on more of a biscuity, brioche aroma. Take that with your macarons and chocolate Shazams!

3. There’s a best short wine list award. Should everyone start competing to have the best short wine list? Because it sounds way easier than having a long wine list, and you can still win an award for it. Anyway, we digress. First of all, clarification: by “short”, we’re still talking 100+ bottles. This year’s award went to Charlie Bird, an Italian restaurant in NYC.

4. The most original wine list goes to Momofuku Ko. While most go to Momofuku Ko for their incredible, Michelin- and James Beard Award-winning culinary creations, the wine list is another destination in and of itself. The list generally sources from lesser-known producers, and gives guests the choice of a range of vintages for each producer.

5. Emirates still has the best airline wine list. The latest flights are offering Dom Perignon 2006, Chateau d’Yquem 2005 Sauternes, and D’Arenberg 2012 Shiraz. Via a recent Bloomberg article, the airline is able to secure allotments of high end wines by ensuring they will be served properly. For example, in first class, wines are decanted into a carafe. Emirates also works to maintain humidity that is as close to normal as possible. It also sources directly from wineries, rather than using a third party wine consultant. At this point, Emirates’ biggest challenge is keeping popular wines in stock.

The rankings are on a 3 star scale, and cull through over 4,500 wine lists globally. View the full list here.


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