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Winning wines


'Wine Spectator'’s prestigious awards are doled out to a few metro restaurants.

Greg Horton July 31st, 2013

Four Oklahoma City restaurants are the recipients of Wine Spectator awards this year.

Opus Prime Steakhouse, 800 W. Memorial; Boulevard Steakhouse, 505 S. Boulevard, Edmond; Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse, 7 S. Mickey Mantle Drive; and Museum Cafe, 415 Couch Drive, were all recognized for their quality of wine lists.

The magazine started the awards program in 1981 to encourage restaurants to feature higher-quality wines. The awards are broken down into three categories: Award of Excellence, Best of Award of Excellence and Grand Award. Three restaurants received the basic Award of Excellence, but Opus was one of only 850 worldwide to receive the elite Best of Award.

Opus not only has an impressive selection of domestic and imported wines; it features many different vintages of the same wine. Billy Wilson, who directs the wine program, has a list of nearly 1,000 offerings from which diners can choose. This is the seventh time Opus has won the Best of Award.

This marks the first time Museum Cafe has earned a Wine Spectator award. Ahmad Farnia, the cafe’s general manager and wine director, said one of his list’s strengths is its selection of half bottles.

“In addition to the 24 different by-the-glass wines on our list, we also have a huge selection of splits, which offers our customers more variety,” said Farnia.

Museum Cafe’s list includes 55 to 60 half bottles, an excellent way for diners to mix and match with different courses without paying for entire bottles. Half bottles range from $13 to $240, and include wines in several varietals and regions.

“We have nearly 400 wines on our list, and we also keep a separate Captain’s list that features premium wines from Napa, France, Italy, Spain, Australia and South America,” Farnia said.

Like Museum Cafe, Mickey Mantle’s also has a large selection of half bottles, nearly 50, including wines from California (especially Napa), Oregon, France and Italy. Wine director Eric Welch presides over a solid selection of large-format wines, as well, including some of the most famous names in the wine world: Caymus, Duckhorn, Shafer, Silver Oak and Veuve Clicquot.

With 500 selections and an inventory of 3,000 bottles, Welch also boasts an impressive by-the-glass list. He oversees one of the best Champagne collections in the metro.

In Edmond, Pete Holloway, owner of Boulevard Steakhouse, has a list of approximately 600 wines. He offers diners 24 wines by-the-glass, including four sparkling options. Boulevard features an impressive inventory of Napa Valley wines, always a favorite of steakhouse diners, as well as selections from France, Italy and South America.

Award recipients must apply for the Wine Spectator awards, so restaurants that do not receive it simply may not have gone through the application process.

 
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