HE ENTRANCE TO ANDREA at The Resort at Pelican Hill® is flanked by grand, floor-to-ceiling, smoked glass cabinets displaying Italian, French and California wines. Walk slowly by and listen as those cabinets send a not-so-subliminal message to patrons: We are every bit as serious about our wine as we are about our food.
For the sixth time, Wine Spectator has acknowledged that dedication by bestowing on the restaurant its 2018 Best of Award of Excellence, a distinction given to dining destinations that showcase outstanding breadth in wine lists, superior presentation and a deep commitment to their wine programs and wine service. The winners were announced during the publication’s annual Restaurant Awards in July.
The Best of Award of Excellence recognizes Andrea’s extensive and carefully curated collection of approximately 2,000 bottles, and is another feather in the cap of the restaurant, which was previously honored with five consecutive Wine Spectator Restaurant Wine List Awards of Excellence.
“This latest award shows our commitment to providing exceptional experiences,” says Andrea General Manager Derek Domeracki, who works closely with Pelican Hill Food and Beverage Director, Hayato Nogaki and Chef Troy Mendoza to craft the restaurant’s wine list.
Now in its 37th year, the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards recognize fewer than 3,600 restaurants from more than 70 countries. To be considered for the Award of Excellence, the Best of Award of Excellence or the Grand Award, wine programs must offer interesting, diverse selections that cater to a wide range of wine lovers and are appropriate for the establishment’s cuisine.
This distinction thrills Domeracki, who strives to ensure that Andrea’s wine list has broad appeal and is compatible with the eatery’s northern Italian cuisine.
“Chef Troy does a wonderful job creating layers of flavor for each dish, which makes it easier for us to pair wines with them,” Domeracki says. “Our Italian wines include labels at a variety of price points from the Piemonte region in the north to Sicily in the south.”
Patrons can select from a wide-ranging list of Brunellos, Barolos, Barbarescos and super Tuscans. Andrea also pours more than 30 wines by the glass, including rare and collectible vintages dating back more than 50 years, giving diners an opportunity to explore and discover new or lesser-known varietals.
Although Andrea sources some of the most sought-after wines in the world, the restaurant also places a priority on inclusiveness, a characteristic that was not overlooked by Wine Spectator during its selection process. With the help of wine vendors and brokers around the world, Andrea procures an array of top-notch wines at great values, including cult favorites produced by small-batch wineries.
“Our list is always changing and evolving,” Domeracki says. “I think it’s safe to say that even the most discerning wine lover can always discover something new at Andrea.”