There are those who relish trawling through the pages of a substantial wine tome in search of a rare bottle to thrill the rest of their dinner companions, while others have just as much fun sitting in a wine bar, experimenting with weird and wonderful wines on a well thought out by-the-glass list. In short, wine lists come in all shapes and sizes, to suit all sorts of venues and clientele. They are also an indication of intriguing trends among drinkers and makers alike.
Over the years, we’ve seen even traditionally conservative lists evolve to embrace amber, skin contact and minimal intervention wines, while sake and spirit lists are more extensive and adventurous than ever before. Sommeliers remain increasingly enthusiastic about supporting local regions but are not afraid to delve into uncharted territory. We once again celebrate the achievements of wine professionals around the country through Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards, and point you towards the best places to take a sip.
Who’s making some of this country’s most exciting wines? Our second tranche of Winemaker of the Year finalists certainly fit the bill in spades. Furthermore we take a look at what seasoned winemaker Andrew Hardy is doing with his new label Ox Hardy.
While the cool-climate Granite Belt wines may remain unfamiliar to some, we recommend you try those from Bent Road where they are working with amphorae and experimenting with 500-litre oak cubes. Julian Rifkin unearthed some elegant drops during his recent visit to Canberra District’s top cellar doors.
Elsewhere, writer Martin Gillam caught up with Penfolds’ winemaker Peter Gago in France where he recently launched the company’s new Champagne, and Margaret Rand set her sights on the sparkling wines of Italy’s Franciacorta.