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Hippopotamus Restaurant Earns Prestigious Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence

Posted on: 05 July 2019

QT Wellington is delighted to announce that its signature French fine dining restaurant Hippopotamus has been granted a coveted Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for its highly regarded wine program.

It is the only Wellington restaurant to be featured on the list of nearly 3800 restaurants from across the world in the acclaimed magazine’s annual dining guide, released on August 31, 2019. Just eight New Zealand restaurants are award winners and of these, only four have been given ‘Best of’ accolades.

The Best of Award of Excellence, this year granted to 1244 restaurants, honours wine programs that display “excellent breadth across multiple regions and/or significant vertical depth of top wines, along with superior presentation”.

Hippopotamus Restaurant, led by manager and wine director Florent Souche, is recognised New Zealand-wide for its passionately crafted and creative wine library.

The program is particularly known for its calibre of wines from New Zealand, France and Italy.

Some of the highlights of the 850-strong collection include the 1970 Conde de Los Andes Gran Reserva, all vintages of Te Mata Estate Coleraine from 1997 and all of the Hermitage vintages from Domaine Jean-Louis Chave.

Of the accolade, Souche says, “This is a great recognition of my team’s passion and dedication to our wine program. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with some of New Zealand’s most talented winemakers and suppliers to create an extensive list of back and new vintages and Hippopotamus is now able to source some exclusive products for our guests.

“To be recognised by Wine Spectator with a Best of Award of Excellence is an incredible honour.”

Garth Solly, General Manager of QT Wellington, says the Wine Spectator ‘Best of’ award is a huge recognition of the hard work carried out by Florent and his team, and is a suitable reflection of the knowledge, skill and dedication the talented restaurateur brought with him to the role when he joined the hotel in 2013.

“Food and wine have been in Florent’s blood since he was a child in Lyon in his native France. Since moving to New Zealand his knowledge and passion for old world wines has been supplemented with a new passion and understanding of wines from the sub-continent,” Mr Solly says.

“Florent is regularly recognised by his wine industry peers in many ways. As a recent example, Hippopotamus was the only restaurant in New Zealand to be offered the opportunity to showcase the world-renowned Chateau d’Yquem wines from their back library at a special hosted dinner at QT Wellington.”

Souche was also a finalist for the Food and Beverage Employee of the Year category at the 2019 New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards in June.

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