By JEFF BAUGHAN
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — In one corner of Spats in the Blennerhassett Hotel hangs a 2016 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. It’s about to get company.
But Spats is no stranger to the award. Spats has received the award for the 12th consecutive year.
Spats has been awarded a 2017 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator. Two other restaurants in West Virginia received the award. Those were The Main Dining Room of White Sulphur Springs and the Bavarian Inn of Shepherdstown.
“We got the letter July 5,” said Jami Board, who is the food and beverage manager for Spats. “We submitted everything back in Februrary. We have to submit the entire list of wines and the current menu from Chef Rick Argoso.”
The information was sent to New York, N.Y. to Wine Spectator, according to Yancy Roush, Spats’ food and beverage director.
Roush said the award is very prestigious. “You have to understand, this award is big in the (United) states but it is also big for us worldwide,” he said. “People in places like France and Germany will be able to see this hotel in Parkersburg, WV and know it is serious about its wines. Wine Spectator magazine is a worldwide magazine.”
“On our list, when you have 90 points or above,” said Board, “then you know you have a pretty good wine. And with the worldwide industries we have located in the area, we have our share of international travelers staying here.”
“And we have some serious wine connoisseurs locally who visit,” said Roush. “They have a fairly good knowledge of wines. They will ask for the Wine Spectator rating when they order.”
The wine list at Spats is 16 pages. “We have 500 varietals of wine,” Board said. Varietal refers to, according to winespectator.com., a wine labeled as being made from one grape variety.
A variety is a type of grape such as Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, Chardonnay grapes, Zinfandel grapes, for example.
“We have about 2,500 bottles on the premise. We have one wine room upstairs for reserve and the one downstairs; it could hold up to 4,000 bottles,” Board said.
“The emphasis here is good wine and good food,” she said. “When we started with a wine emphasis, we had a couple of distributors, such as Mountain State Beverage, Galaxy Distributing and The Country Vinter, who helped greatly. They would pass on the trending wines and what people are ordering. Now we do things like a guest request where they can request something in advance and if we can track it down, we’ll have it on hand for them.”
The wine is available by the glass or bottle at Spats. “We have 24 varietals by the glass with a white Chardonnay or a red Cabernet being the most popular,” Board said. “Prices for a bottle can range from $19 to $1,080 for a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.”
Board explained the reason for the thousand dollar plus price is “it’s a rare French red wine from 2009. There just wasn’t a lot produced.”
Spats hosts a wine and dine event during selected months of the year, according to Board. “It’s those third Thursdays of the selected months,” she said. “Customers receive a full course meal with five different wines with a four-ounce pour for each.
“We work hard for this award and to maintain the excellence we’ve established,”she said. “It’s not something we take lightly.”
See more from The Parkersburg News and Sentinel