Wine List of the Year winners: 2009, 2010

by Zimbabwe Standard

The Wine List of The Year Award 2009 went for the second consecutive year to Miller’s Grill, also the very proud winner of Speciality Restaurant of the Year 2009, as a specialist steak house. Angela Miller literally ran into the event, to collect her award — hot off the route of the newly launched Sunshine City Marathon — which she completed in an impressive sub-four hours! Millers won this award for its very extensive, varied, and reasonably priced list of wines, liqueurs, brandies and whiskies, which by all reports gathered over the course of a full year, are also, consistently in stock.

The 2010 Wine List of the Year Award went to a new winner — The Victoria Falls Hotel — in recognition of its excellent wine lists in all three of its restaurants, namely Stanley’s Terrace, Jungle Junction and The Livingstone Room. These were all seen by the judges to demonstrate an extraordinary depth and diversity of options from all over the world, and to suit every possible palate and complement every type of food.

In particular, the judges were impressed both by the Degustation Menu option in The Livingstone Room, which skilfully pairs a glass of some of the immense array of wines offered on this wine list, with the six courses on the menu, as an all-in package offering an amazing combination-wining-and-dining experience, at a reasonable price; and, by the helpful expert recommendation of suitably matched wines, by either the glass or bottle, which patrons can consider ordering, shown with every choice of dish on the à la carte menu.

The review team is giving short shrift these days to restaurants, particularly in the Deluxe Category, who fail to offer a wide enough array of wine options. A great dining experience in a luxury restaurant will almost always include combining decent wine with good food — unless all those who are dining together that night, are teetotallers, which would be unusual.

In Zimbabwe today, no restaurant can truthfully claim not to be able to source a good selection of wines, or to create a reasonable wine list. Once having done so, of course, it is incumbent upon the restaurateur to ensure that those listed, are always in stock! Reviewers have become harsher in their scoring of the criteria relating to wine and beverages, considering there to be little excuse, not to stock a decent selection of both

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