4 Idaho Restaurants Win Wine Spectator Awards, 2 in Boise

Chandlers Fine Dining Restaurant is the annual winner of the Wine Spectator Awards.

Chandlers Fine Dining Restaurant is the annual winner of the Wine Spectator Awards.

Each year, serious grape aficionados check out the Wine Spectator Awards.

As the self-described “world’s leading authority on wine,” Wine Spectator highlights dining destinations with the best selections.

If you live in Idaho? This year’s honor may make the Chardonnay taste pungent.

Only four restaurants in Gem State made the cut.

Two in Boise. Congratulations, Chandler and Fork.

In 2020, 11 restaurants were awarded in Idaho. In 2021? The number was reduced to six.

What will 2023 bring? Thunderbird and Mad Dog 20/20 on every local wine list?

Doubtful. It’s important to note that lower Idaho awards don’t necessarily mean our restaurant wine scene is suddenly heading for the trash.

Let’s face it. Marketing priorities have changed during the COVID-19 era.

Wine Spectator Rewards are pay-to-play. The restaurant offers an entry fee for consideration. Not all restaurants that enter are the cut.

Capitol Cellars, a former Boise winner, did not enter this year’s awards, General Manager Logan Smither Griffin said.

Nor Richard. Speaking on the phone, chef-owner Richard Langston said his restaurant has reduced its wine inventory since the pandemic began. Also, he added, the ROI in Wine Spectator doesn’t seem to be worth it. Entering next year’s awards, for example, costs $550.

He said, “Even though you pay to play, and we probably would have taken the prize, we didn’t feel it was appropriate at the time.”

Will Richard be involved again in the future?

“I think we just have to see how it goes,” Langston said.

“I don’t want to belittle what the Wayne Spectator is doing,” he added. “Our wine program is still very, very important to us. We didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do this year.”

Recent Wine Spectator Awards awarded 3,169 dining destinations from all 50 states and more than 70 countries, according to a media release. The awards began in 1981, and offer three levels of excellence: Excellence Award (1,782 winners); Top Excellence Award (1,290) and First Class Grand Prix (97).

When a restaurant of any type receives a Wine Spectator award, it is an indication that significant ideas and resources have been devoted to wine.

Here are the Idaho beneficiaries.

Best Excellence Award

Chandler Steakhouse981 W Grove Street, Boise.

The Narrows Steakhouse At Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St., McCall.

Excellence Award

fork199 N. 8th Street, Boise.

bad nasu480 Washington Ave., Ketchum.

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Entertainment reporter and columnist Michael Deeds tells the good life of the Boys: restaurants, concerts, culture, and cool stuff. Acts achieved at the Idaho Statesman as a trainee in 1991 before taking on roles including sports writer, feature editor and music critic. Over the years, his freelance work has ranged from writing album reviews for the Washington Post to promoting Boys in the airline magazine she left on the plane. Deeds holds a bachelor’s degree in editorial news journalism from the University of Nebraska.

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