The Old Coastguard in Cornwall has made history by becoming the first pub with rooms to scoop the Imbibe Wine List of the Year title at the 2015 awards.
Now in their sixth year, the Wine List of the Year awards recognise the best wine lists from across the country taking entries from a range of establishments from art galleries to country pubs, Michelin-starred restaurants and local wine bars.
All are then judged by a panel of some of the UK’s leading sommeliers, consultants and wine buyers, before deciding on the winner.
The Old Coastguard’s wine list was chosen for its interest and character, written concisely into five pages.
The panel liked all aspects of the wine list from pricing to tone and accuracy, but its stand out element was the ways in which the wines had been divided.
Presented in easily manageable categories, titles are interesting and stimulating such as ‘More Bounce for the Ounce’ or ‘The Tip of the Tongue’, and the descriptions underneath each category are helpful, humorous, inspiring and, markedly fun.
The judges commented and said that the list “took everything seriously but itself…dripping with personality and great wine. If it were a person, you’d want to date it”. The list also received high praise being deemed “compulsory (and compulsive) reading for everyone in the on-trade.”
This year the judging took place over four years and consisted of leading figures in the wine industry, including Christine Parkinson (Hakkasan Group), Xavier Rousset MS (consultant), Chris Losh (Imbibe), Hamish Anderson (The Tate Group), Lionel Periner (The Lucky Onion) and Brice Guibert (The Cherwell Boathouse).
Other winners included:
Italian Restaurant Wine List of the Year – Bibo, London
Spanish Wine List of the Year – Barrica and Copita del Mercado, London
Café Wine List of the Year – The Café Below, London
Neighbourhood Restaurant List of the Year – The White Onion, London
Short Wine List of the Year – PJ’s Bar & Grill, London
Innovative Wine List of the Year – Bell’s Diner & Bar Rooms, Bristol
Sommelier’s Award – Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
Hall of Fame – The Cherwell Boathouse (Oxford), The Gurnard’s Head and The Felin Fach Griffin (Cornwall and Wales), Hakkasan Group (London), Trangallán (London)
Speaking of the judging process Chris Losh stated: “It’s been great to see the growth in imagination in the way wine lists are presented .More and more venues are making a real effort to create lists that are informative and engaging – and that is true from pubs through to serious white tablecloth eateries. Indeed, the fact that our overall winner this year was a pub/hotel in deepest Cornwall shows that you don’t need to be a Michelin-starred central London restaurant to have a truly great wine list. Nor do you need to have a 1000-bin wine list to be taken seriously.”