On November 19, Star Wine List celebrated the best wine lists and the teams behind them in the Baltic countries for the first time. The event was held during the Food and wine festival in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Best Portuguese Wine List award, presented by Symington Family Estates, was a hard fought over category, which had the judges scratching their heads and mulling over the entries for some time. But eventually the worthy winner was decided upon, with the Gold Star for Lithuania and the Baltics overall being awarded to Restaurant Pacai in Vilnius, Lithuania.
”This venue truly shows today’s Portuguese wines in full glory. The wine list manages to combine history and traditions with modern aspects and trends, and thus deserves to be recognised for the work that has gone into creating it,” commented the jury’s Heidi Mäkinen.
Restaurant Pacai's food and beverage manager Simonas Gudelis said that their wine list was one of the key elements of the business. "We try to work hard with our wine list - it is not just about the food but the wine, which is very important and something the guests expect. This wine list is only the beginning of a long journey and we will be looking forward to next year to show what more we can do." Restaurant Pacai also won Gold in the categories Best Medium-Sized List and Best Sparkling Wine List.
180 Degrees Restaurant in Tallinn won the Best Portuguese Wine List for Estonia. "The Portuguese selection clearly follows the time with interesting producer choices showing what modern Portuguese wines are all about,” said Mäkinen about the winning wine list.
Riviera in Riga was the winner of the Best Portuguese Wine List for Latvia. "This venue has a Portuguese offering that covers all the main areas and works as a nice introduction to what the country has to offer for the rest of the wine world,” added Mäkinen.
Riviera's Elvis Samausks expressed surprise - and delight - at the win. "We were really surprised to win in the Portugal category as we really weren't expecting it," he said. "Thank you to Star Wine List!"
Categories and criteria
Star Wine List judges the wine lists in several categories such as the Best Sparkling Wine List and Best By the Glass List. These categories are the same across all of the awards. We have commercial partners for certain categories, such as the Best Austrian Wine List, presented by Wines of Austria. The commercial partners are, however, never involved in the selections of finalists or winners — that is entirely down to our independent jury panel.
The criteria for the jury is straightforward but not simple: Vote for the most exciting wine list representing the category.
The jury of wine experts for the Star Wine List of the Year Baltics 2023 comprised a panel of top international sommeliers:
• Heidi Mäkinen, Master of Wine
• Julie Dupouy-Young, Best Sommelier of Ireland several times
• Piotr Pietras, Master Sommelier
• Paz Levinson, Best Sommelier of Americas)
Premium - turning into Pro