Restaurants have faced an exceptionally difficult year and a half, but the prestigious annual Wine Spectator Awards aim to recognize those in the industry who have excelled in their wine programs despite these difficult times. More than 2,900 restaurant recipients from across the United States and more than 70 countries were announced in the August 31 issue of Wine spectator magazine, “honored for their dedication to wine”. Among the winners are 72 New Jersey spots, including four outstanding restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City. Read on to learn more about Wine Spectator’s award-winning restaurants and their acclaimed wine programs.
Court Street Restaurant and Bar | 61 Sixth Street
(Photo credit: @courtsthoboken)
Court Street has been a neighborhood staple since it opened in 1981 and has been a recipient of the Wine Spectator Restaurant Award for the past two decades. Originally an Excellence Award winner, Court Street reached the more selective level of Best Excellence Award in 2016 when Wine Manager Arthur Neff joined the team.
The restaurant serves a seafood and American cuisine menu and offers two weekly specials; prime rib on Monday evening, and a Wednesday Lobster Fest. When it comes to wines to accompany meals, Court Street offers a wide selection of prices and flavors. While the wine list is made up of Californian Cabernets, Italian reds, and French reds and whites, the restaurant’s goal, as wine director Arthur Neff describes it, is “to have wines for everyone.” .
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Another focus of Court Street’s award-winning wine program is dedication to the customer. Arthur and restaurant owner Kevin Cocca agree that guests drive the wine offerings, which include customer choices. Before the pandemic and hopefully be back soon, the restaurant also had wine tastings twice a month, often with themes, such as women winegrowers. Guests would taste ten wines during the two-hour event, influencing which bottles would then be added to Court Street’s wine list. âFrom novice wine drinkers who have never spun wine in their glass to people who have drunk wine their entire lives,â Arthur points out, âa big part of Court Street’s wine list and wine program is also to make it fun and educational.
Grid by Del Frisco | 221 River Street
(Photo credit: @dfgrid)
This waterfront location has been a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence choice since 2016, serving an upscale steakhouse-style menu alongside its prestigious wine selection. As described on Del Frisco’s website, the restaurant’s cuisine is inspired by “bold flavors and fresh market ingredients,” offering brunch, lunch and dinner.
Del Frisco’s wine program is significant in California selections, with moderate prices, according to Wine Spectator. With 315 selections, as the magazine notes, there is certainly a wine to suit the palate and the plate of each guest.
Sorellina Italian Cuisine & Wine Bar | 1036 Washington Street
(Photo credit: @sorellinahoboken)
Fans of Italian food and wine will delight in Sorellina’s authentic menu. The Italian cuisine and wine bar have been awarded an award of excellence since 2017, distinguished by its exclusively Italian wine list, which showcases almost every distinct region of the country. Making the restaurant’s wine program even more exemplary, Sorellina also pays its own label of wine produced through a partnership with the Fontezoppa winery in the Marche region of Italy.
Sorellina’s owner, Certified Sommelier Gabi Lombardi, goes above and beyond by hosting the Wine Spectator Recognized Wine Program. From tasting each wine before it hits the menu, to personal trips to Italy many times over the past few years to visit vineyards and estates with the people who make customers find the wines on the menu. of Sorellina wines, Gabi is passionate about Italian culture and produces in the restaurant. âBy offering an exclusively Italian wine list, we encourage customers to try something new and we strive to educate our customers on what they drink and where it comes from,â says Gabi.
If you are planning on enjoying a meal in this piece of Italy in Hoboken, Gabi recommends a sparkling Italian ‘champagne’ with a selection of cheeses, fried salumi and arancini, or Sorellina’s famous Cacio e Pepe Conchiglie while sipping a glass of Casale del Giglio Bellone.
Battello | 502 Boulevard Washington
(Photo credit: @battellojc)
This fine Jersey City restaurant facing the Hudson River is no stranger to Wine Spectator recognition. Battello was first honored by the magazine during its opening year in 2014, and it has received the Excellence Award every year since, with the exception of 2017 and 2018 when the restaurant was forced to close for a period of 17 months due to repairs to the owner’s pier.
Battello serves Italian flavors and seafood dishes, and there’s something on the wine list to suit every palate. There are several aspects of Battello’s wine program that set it apart, says owner and manager of Wines Cory Checket. A below-average margin encourages customers to try something new at a generous price, while various bottle sizes, including magnums and half-bottles, cater for different sized groups or those who want to. associate distinct wines with each dish.
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Battello also prides itself on a diverse selection. This includes wines with significant age, such as vintages dating back to the 1980s; wines from organic producers and family cellars; as well as wines from the entire menu. While a large portion of the restaurant’s wine list consists of libations from Italy, France and California, Cory also sources in New York State, Switzerland, Lebanon, Austria and Austria. Greece. âWine is produced in many corners of our planet and I try to have so many different regions and styles available to suit all tastes,â he says.
Battello customers can expect to receive the wine list on an iPad, which acts as a digital sommelier, narrowing down the vast selection to suit the customer’s taste and budget. Of course, Cory and the rest of the staff are available to help diners choose a wine they’ll love. As for Cory’s favorite wine pairing, he recommends a 2010 Crissant Alessandria Roggeri Barolo with the chef’s house Cavatelli Semolina.