By Becky Billingsley
Monday, July 9, 2012, North Myrtle Beach - SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar in North Myrtle Beach has earned one of ten prestigious mid-level Best of Awards of Excellence bestowed across South Carolina in the 2012 Wine Spectator awards.
SeaBlue partner and chef, Ken Norcutt, received the email today from Spectator Magazine's Restaurant Wine List Awards Manager, Nathan Wesley, saying his restaurant received the designation. Only nine other restaurants in South Carolina earned the "Best of" award.
Wine Spectator puts its awards on three levels:
Award of Excellence - 100 or more quality wine selections that thematically match a restaurant's cuisine. This year 2,842 restaurants received this entry-level designation; 48 of them in South Carolina, and eight in the Grand Strand area. You can see the South Carolina list HERE.
Best of Award of Excellence - Must offer a wine list of 400 or more selections, with significant vintage depth or superior breadth in one or more major wine regions. This year 878 restaurants reached this level; 10 in South Carolina, and only SeaBlue in the Grand Strand area. You can see that list HERE.
Grand Award - Generally offering 1,500 or more selections, with superior breadth and depth in many of the world's classic wine-producing regions. They have also passed a rigorous inspection that evaluates the overall quality of their wine program, cellars, service, ambiance and cuisine. Only 75 restaurants have achieved this designation, including four new ones added this year. None are in South Carolina.
Norcutt said today he and his partner, Tracy Smith, are "ecstatic" over the achievement.
"We have added more [selections] since I placed the entry in January 2012," he said. "We have over 50 wines by the glass."
To celebrate the Best of Award of Excellence, Norcutt and Smith are dining tonight at The Parson's Table in Little River, which received one of the Grand Strand's seven Awards of Excellence.
So what does do wine award winners drink with their celebratory meal?
"We have chosen a 2002 Penfolds Grange off [The Parson's Table] wine list, and we brought a 2003 Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron."
2003, Norcutt notes, is the year he and Smith met.
SeaBlue is at503 U.S. 17 N. in North Myrtle Beach, and the number is (843) 249-8800. It's open starting at 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.