Far Western Tavern Earns Spectator Award

The Far Western Tavern in Old Town Orcutt announced today that it has earned the prestigious 2014 Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator magazine, an honor reserved for select restaurants with exemplary wine lists from around the world. The complete results will be published in the August 31 annual restaurant issue of the Wine Spectator.
“We are thrilled to bring the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence to the Santa Maria Valley,” said Benjamin Chanler-Laurin, general manager and sommelier of the Far Western Tavern. “We have invested considerable thought, effort and expense into developing our wine list, which makes this recognition all the more gratifying.”
According to the Wine Spectator, the award is given to restaurants “whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers.”
Chanler-Laurin explained that the Far Western Tavern was determined to take its wine list to the next level, with active input and support from restaurant co-owners. “Some of the family members are vintners and wine collectors themselves,” he said. “They understood the significance of creating a standout wine list.”
Consequently, in mid 2013, Chanler-Laurin began implementing a refreshed vision for the wine list, simultaneously deepening the focus on local Central Coast wines while adding a broader selection of global wines. All of the wines are stored in the restaurant’s multi-level cellar, which houses more than 2,500 bottles with controls for temperature and humidity.
“We really started to emphasize Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Rhône varietals—wines that excel in the Santa Maria Valley and across the Central Coast,” he said. “At the same time, we wanted to offer examples of these same varietals from regions such as Burgundy and the Rhône Valley, to provide context and offer our local winemakers some international flavors to enjoy. And most important, we wanted to offer a diverse selection of affordable wines that paired well with our menu, including Cabernet Sauvignon and other varietals.
Last January, Chanler-Laurin submitted the wine list to the Wine Spectator for Award of Excellence consideration. The submission process included providing details on the restaurant’s wine inventory, wine storage conditions, and wine list philosophy.
“There is no template for earning the award, and we weren’t chasing any specific criteria,” he said. “We simply wanted to create an exemplary list that fit our food and showcased our region.”

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