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Caci North Fork (Credit: Randee Daddona)

For the first time, Caci North Fork in Southold has been honored with Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for its outstanding wine list. It joins Touch of Venice in Cutchogue, which cracked the list for the third consecutive year.

The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style.  In total, 3,595 restaurants from around the world were recognized for their outstanding wine programs this year.

“It’s very exciting,” said Caci owner Daniele Cacioppo. “Our wine list is solely Italian and North Fork wines, as that is the focus of the restaurant, authentic Italian food.”

Caci offers a wine list for its restaurant, as well as another one for the bar. The lists offer winemaker’s notes as well, which are helpful to diners when choosing a wine to have with their meal.

“We have an extensive wine list,” Ms. Cacioppo said. “For Italian wines we choose full-bodied, all Umbrian wines and we have a wonderful variety of North Fork wines including roses, sauvignon blancs, pinots, chenin blancs, all sorts of favorites of ours.”

 Touch of Venice also specializes in Italian and North Fork wines and the restaurant is excited to have been honored once again by Wine Spectator.

“It’s a nice affirmation that we’re doing it right,” said co-owner Bryan Pennacchia said. “We work with a lot of the local producers. I put a lot of effort into the wine list, doing research, checking wine publications and going to distributor wine tastings.”

Mr. Pennacchia likes to look for Italian wines that are not quite mainstream, instead of relying on well known names.

“I pay attention to value wines and look for Italian wines from different regions of Italy, not just Tuscany and Barolos,” he said. “I’m really liking Sicilian wines right now, I feel like they’ve progressed. They’re doing a lot of high quality wines and have some interesting grapes that you’ve never seen around before.”

To see the complete list of award winners check out the August issue of Wine Spectator, out on newsstands July 19.

Caci North Fork is located at 56125 Main Road in Southold.

Touch of Venice is located at 28350 Main Road in Cutchogue.