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Four Restaurants Earn New Grand Awards in 2012

Wine Spectator’s awards program honors 3,795 restaurants, across 50 states and more than 70 countries, for their top-quality wine lists

Nathan Wesley
Posted: July 6, 2012

Four dining spots—A Voce Columbus in Manhattan, Acquerello in San Francisco, Commander's Palace in New Orleans and Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, Calif.—have earned Grand Award honors in Wine Spectator’s 2012 Restaurant Wine List Awards. They join 71 other restaurants that have successfully renewed their Grand Awards as the world’s top wine destinations for diners.

Since 1981, Wine Spectator has honored the world’s best wine lists, with the Grand Award representing the program’s top echelon. The Grand Award winners generally offer 1,500 or more selections, with superior breadth and depth in many of the world’s classic wine-producing regions. They have also passed a rigorous inspection that evaluates the overall quality of their wine program, cellars, service, ambiance and cuisine.

This year, 2,842 restaurants earned the program’s entry-level Award of Excellence, which recognizes a wine list of 100 or more quality wine selections that thematically match a restaurant’s cuisine. Another 878 restaurants earned the program’s mid-tier Best of Award of Excellence for offering a wine list of 400 or more selections, with significant vintage depth or superior breadth in one or more major wine regions.

The complete list of 3,795 award winners is featured in the Aug. 31 issue of Wine Spectator, which also features detailed industry analysis and full profiles of this year’s new Grand Award winners. All of the restaurants can be found in WineSpectator.com’s Restaurant Search, along with details about their wine selection, cuisine, prices and key staff.

2012 Grand Award Winners

Below are the four new Grand Award winners for 2012. Click to enlarge the images.

Photo by Melissa Barnes Photo by Sara Essex Bradley
Photo by Michael Gross Photo by Kodiak Greenwood
Johnny Earles
Grayton Beach, FL USA —  July 6, 2012 9:23pm ET
Love to see that Commander's is in.
Iconic and timeless.
Thomas D Nichols
Houston, TX —  July 7, 2012 2:08am ET
and CP courageously survived a hurricane which would
have destroyed even the best of us. Due repects for
a national icon.
Richard Lane
St Petersburg, FL —  July 8, 2012 2:55pm ET
Commanders palace...Wonderful food, poor wine service! The server insisted that he fill the wine glass half-full; when we told him we only wanted the glass a quarter full, he said that was not their practice. When the head- sommelier came he was "irritated" with us. He would not let us serve it, so we drank the rest of the wine and left.
Ramona Peterson
Chicago, Ill. USA —  July 8, 2012 3:58pm ET
When I lived further south I and my family enjoyed many wonderful times at CP. Great food, great wine,
great people, they always made you feel like family. Have not been back since my move north and Katrina. So wonderful to see the next generation take CP forward with such verve.Brava! Still wonder if the ancient smoker they used for wild mushroom appetizer survived.
D Fredman
Malibu, CA, USA —  July 9, 2012 7:53pm ET
Pleased to see Dominique DaCruz and the team at Sierra Mar earn the award. The cellar he's assembled is balanced, broad, and deep and does an excellent job of competing with what may be the most dramatic restaurant view in the USA.
Michael De Polo
W. Bloomfield, Mi —  July 9, 2012 8:36pm ET
How wonderful to see A Voce earn a Grand Award. They absolutely deserve it. The wine list is long, beautifully deep, and, frankly, quite affordable for a New York City restaurant of this high caliber. We dined there Mother's Day weekend, and with the help of M. Flosse selected the 2000 Paolo Scavino Barolo Bric del Fiasc, which was just perfect for the meals we had. Wine service was simply impeccable. (I only wish I had not forgotten to take the empty bottle with me that the waiter had so nicely left at coat check.)

Gregory Thomas Day
Los Angeles, CA, USA —  July 10, 2012 4:45pm ET
Love that Commander's won; Well deserved. I know that team works so hard! Congratulations to Ti, Dan, Carl and Tory! From your NOLA ex-Pats,

Gregory, Angela and Finley Day. See you at Christmas.
Leonard Cupo M D
Honolulu, Hawaii —  July 20, 2012 12:02am ET
La carte dei vini e stupendo! I celebrated my birthday at Acquerello on July 10 with a 1955 Borgogno Barolo Riserva (born one year before me). As always, I observed the sommeliers. They treated all wines with equal care and all diners with equal professional service.
Bravo Giancarlo e figlo!
The food is beautifully constructed and presented. Traditional Italian sometimes with a twist.
Acquerello is the premier Italian restaurant in San Francisco for this Italian boy.
Leonard Cupo M D
Honolulu, Hawaii —  July 22, 2012 9:02pm ET
Bravo Giancarlo e FIGLIO!
Kerry Winslow
San Francisco, California, USA —  July 23, 2012 6:59pm ET
Congrats to Craig and Dom, Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn is one of the greatest places there is to eat and stay, the food is fantastic, plus the wine list has so much life and passion in it, you can always find something as dream like as the surroundings! Bravo guys!

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