Nation's best wine magazine names KC's best restaurants for wine - KCTV5

Nation's best wine magazine names KC's best restaurants for wine

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The nation's most popular wine magazine has its top recommendations to savor a glass or bottle of wine in the Kansas City area.

The wine lover’s guide to all things vinous, Wine Spectator, has announced its 2015 restaurant awards. Nineteen restaurants in the metro have been recognized for their wine programs.

Eleven restaurants on the Kansas side of the border received either the Spectator’s award of excellence or best award of excellence while eight restaurants garnered those ratings on the Missouri side of the metro.

Wine Spectator said the award of excellence is given to restaurants featuring a wine list offering “an interesting and diverse selection of wines that are well-presented.”  The best of award of excellence is awarded to restaurants offering a wine list of “typically 350 or more quality selections with significant vintage depth or superior breadth in one or more major wine regions.”

“I love buying, tasting, drinking and sharing wine,” Story’s chef and co-owner Carl Thorne-Thomsen said. “Building the wine list at Story has been and continues to be a pleasure.”

Story, located on West 69th Terrace in Prairie Village, is one of just two restaurants on the Kansas side of the metro to garner the best of award of excellence. The other is Leawood's 801 Chop House.

Thorne-Thomsen said he is a huge wine fan, and he enjoys bringing that passion for the vine to his customers.

“As I source the best ingredients, I also source the best available wines for our list. Great wines always enhance a good meal,” Thomsen shared.

There were also two best of award of excellence honorees on the Missouri side- the newly reopened J.J.’s and Rosso atop the Hotel Sorella. Both restaurants can be found near the County Club Plaza.

“When I arrived about a year and a half ago, wine wasn’t something anyone had a big focus on,” Rosso’s sommelier Michael Scherzberg said. “We had about 100 bottles and about 100 errors on the list. The goal was to build a wine list that had excellent choices in all areas.”

Scherzberg said the award is both personally and professionally gratifying. Scherzberg said most of his time is spent running the food and beverage outlets for the Hotel Sorella. The wine program is his hobby, and that hobby has paid some dividends. 

“We like to give people good value. I thing everyone appreciates good value whether they have $100 in the bank or $100,000,000 in the bank,” Scherzberg said. 

“We’re very happy we started out with the best,” commented J.J.s owner Jimmy Frantze.

The original J.J.’s, which was destroyed by a gas explosion in 2013, had been a Wine Spectator grand award winner, the magazine’s highest honor, off and on since 1996. The reincarnated J.J.’s isn’t quite at the level yet, but Frantze said he’s pleased that the wine program at the new restaurant has started off strong.

“Wine will continue to play an important role at J.J.’s moving forward, and we’ll will continue to building toward achieving the Grand Award,” Frantze said.

Wine Spectator said a total of 2,563 restaurants earned the award of excellence and another 973 were honored with the best of award of excellence worldwide.

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