Raise a Glass to the Hilton Head’s 2012 Wine Spectator Award Winners!

The wine selection at Red Fish is excellent and has again garnered the restaurant the prestigious Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence.

Wine Spectator’s 2012 awards for stellar restaurant wine lists have been officially `inked’ with the magazine’s August issue hitting newsstands now and the list of winners is now viewable on Wine Spectator’s website, winespectator.com—and 14 local Hilton Head Island area restaurants have once again made a great showing.

Three restaurants, Hilton Head Island’s Charlie’s L’Etoile Verte and Red Fish and The River House, located at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton received Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence. A total of 878 restaurants in the country are honored in this 2012 “Best of” category, which generally refers to wine lists with 400-plus selections that collectively indicate vintage depth across several regions, among other things.

From Red Fish: Local watermelon and Arugula salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic cherry reduction. The Picpoul Hugues Beaulieu, Languedoc, France (a staff favorite) is a very light white wine that lends good balance to the acidity of the tomatoes and the tanginess of the balsamic cherry reduction.

Jeff Martin, General Manager and Wine Buyer for Red Fish, is elated to have once again be named a “Best of Award” winner. He added “We have a passion for food and wine and take great pride in having a large variety of wines at many different price levels. With over 1,000 bottles from around the world in our inventory, there is truly something for everybody. We are fortunate to work with several great wine distributers so we are always adding new products and staying on top of trends.

“Our knowledgeable staff attends weekly wine meetings so they stay proficient with our wine list and make recommendations to our diners. Wine is a great complement to food and there is really no wrong pairing as long as you enjoy it!”

Among 2,842 restaurants to receive Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence—which generally recognizes well-chosen wine lists of 100-plus wines of quality producers, along with a thematic connection to the menu—are 13 area eateries including WiseGuys, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana, and Sea Grass Grille.

Featuring an Atlantic tropical fish called Tripletail, this entree from Chef Chad Newman of Sea Grass Grille is blackened and served with a golden pineapple slaw. A refreshing glass of Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc would be a lovely compliment to this dish!

Kathy Jannot, owner of Sea Grass Grille, told me that she and Owner/Chef Chad Newman put a lot of effort into planning and elevating the depth of their wine list over the past year. Both were waiting with baited breath for the Wine Spectator announcement.

Kathy added, “We were thrilled to receive our first Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. I think the diversity of the new wine list and the addition of several vintages of different wines (aka verticals) made the difference.”

So for the serious wine enthusiast or simple just for those who enjoy a nice glass from the fruit of the vine, Hilton Head Island certainly holds her own among the best destinations to satisfy them all! Let us raise a glass to the 2012 winners: