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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

July 27, 2020

Local restaurants earn Wine Spectator honors

Here are the places on the magazine’s annual list of best wine programs

The Fig Tree in Elizabeth is among the restaurants honored by Wine Spectator magazine. Kristen Wile/UP

Each year, Wine Spectator magazine acknowledges the restaurants around the country that have the nation’s best wine lists, and several Charlotte restaurants have been awarded for 2020. There are three levels of recognition: the Award of Excellence, Best of Award of Excellence, and Grand Award Winners. 

North Carolina has one Grand Award Winner: Angus Barn in Raleigh. Several restaurants ranked in the other two categories, however. In order to be considered, restaurants must submit a cover letter, dinner menu, wine list, and application fee, then are judged on selection, pricing, and presentation. Here’s which restaurants topped the list among Charlotte contenders this year with Best of Award of Excellence recognition:

The Fig Tree, Elizabeth
This Charlotte classic restaurant is owned by Greg and Sara Zanitsch, who are both extremely knowledgeable about wine. Not only is the wine list among the best in town, but the staff is able to recommend the right bottle for any palate. 

BLT Steak, Uptown
Named BLT in honor of Laurent Tourondel (as in Bistro Laurent Tourondel), this restaurant in The Ritz oozes sophistication, from its high-end steakhouse menu to its selection of wines. Though Tourondel is no longer part of the ownership group, the tradition of fine dining he inspired continues.  

Ruth’s Chris, multiple locations
Both Charlotte locations of the dependable, upscale steakhouse made the list. The Uptown location has done so since 2008, and the SouthPark location made its debut on the list in 2018. 

Barcelona Wine Bar, South End 
With nearly 400 wines available by the bottle and wine bar in the title, this restaurant under the Del Frisco’s ownership group makes its first appearance on the Wine Spectator list this year after opening in 2019. 

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, SouthPark
Focusing on wine from countries that make big reds that pair well with steaks — think California, France, Italy, and Spain — Del Frisco’s ties Ruth’s Chris for longest reign among Best of Award of Excellence winners, making the list since 2008. 

Gallery Restaurant, Ballantyne
The restaurant inside The Ballantyne Hotel isn’t just known for its deep whiskey collection. Their wine list that includes a vintage champagne selection, showing The Gallery takes wine offerings just as seriously.

Award of Excellence winners include The McNinch House, Mama Ricotta’s, The Capital Grille, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, Eddie V’s, Morton’s, Village Tavern, Peppervine, The Pump House, and The Palm. Outside of Charlotte, The String Bean in Belmont and Cafe Rule in Hickory earned Best of Award of Excellence honors, while Highland Avenue and Charolais Steakhouse in Hickory earned Awards of Excellence.

Find the full list here. If you’re looking for a reservation with wine in mind, you can use our Restaurant Finder’s “Good For” drop-down to select places made for wine lovers. —Kristen Wile


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