Brennan’s Accepts Wine Spectator’s Grand Award at the 40th Anniversary of the New York Wine Experience
Brennan's [New Orleans, Louisiana] is only the 97th restaurant to receive the Wine Spectator’s coveted Grand Award - Wine Spectator began this prestigious program in 1981, recognizing the world's best wine lists. When Ralph Brennan and Terry White acquired the iconic French Quarter restaurant, Brennan’s, it re-emerged in 2014 as one of the most polished dining establishments in all New Orleans. The mindful restoration of the restaurant honored the city’s past, present, and future - including the development of an ambitious wine program that would continue Brennan’s stellar placement amongst fine dining establishments across the country. Brennan’s is proud to receive this esteemed honor during the restaurant’s 75th anniversary year in 2021. The Brennan's team officially accepted the award at the 2021 Wine Experience, hosted by Wine Spectator, in New York City on Saturday, October 23, 2021.
Wine Spectator News Editor, Mitch Frank, writes, "Word has quickly spread that Brennan’s is a top wine destination once more...And the service is again the New Orleans standard Brennan’s helped create—first-rate hospitality with plenty of warmth."
Brennan’s carefully curated wine list, developed by Sommelier and Wine Director Ms. Braithe Tidwell with counsel and support from the owners, now boasts over 14,000 bottles. In recent years, Brennan’s has spent nearly $1 million on wine, increasing the total selections on the list by 50%, with special attention to boutique producers, verticals and large formats. Although Brennan's is proud to offer a number of older vintages, it is a true 'post-Katrina' cellar, with most of its verticals beginning with the 2004 vintage; the 2010 vintage is missing from many of these verticals due to a lengthy transition of ownership.
Brennan's presents a fine line-up of 'blue-chip' California wines that are in keeping with the French and Creole roots, now under the culinary direction of Executive Chef Ryan Hacker, whose vision extends to the contemporary cultural influences molding the city’s present-day fare. The cellar's greatest strength is its exceptional Burgundies, and a list of Champagnes approaching one hundred offerings. Champagne goes hand-in-hand with the renowned 'Breakfast at Brennan's,' and over the past six years, 'Bubbles at Brennan's,' continues to be a beloved pastime in the courtyard.
What truly exemplifies Brennan's commitment to the highest quality wine service is its investment in staff training. Tidwell began her study of wine and in-depth education practices at Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe in New York City, achieving Certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers in 2013. She brought her passion for wine knowledge to Brennan’s in 2015, and using the impressive list as a centerpiece, she has built a strong culture of staff preparation and teaching, with an emphasis on learning regions and vintages.
Tidwell helped the service staff of Brennan's embark on an intensive 12-week course to prepare for the beginner certification program. The restaurant closed for two days, during which the instructors trained the entire staff to the specific standards; more than two-thirds of the service team took and passed the certification. These past seven years at Brennan’s, Tidwell has mentored many sommeliers to achieve multiple levels of certification, in addition to the ongoing daily beverage training for the entire team.
Established in the French Quarter in 1946, the glamorous home for 'Breakfast at Brennan’s' has occupied its landmark building on Royal Street since 1956. In the past decade, Brennan's has reclaimed its status as the city's most spirited temple of fine dining and celebrations on every scale.
Today, Brennan’s in New Orleans is shining, oh-so-grandly, ever more.