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Ridiculous wine lists

The saga of ridiculous restaurant wine lists continues.

Grasshopper Bar, in central Sydney, has a very small wine list (just 27 wines), several of which are asterisked as “natural wine”. They are 2013 David Hook Pinot Grigio (Hunter Valley – tastings), 2012 Eden Road The Long Road Chardonnay (Tumbarumba – tasting), 2013 Crazy by Nature ‘Dry Flint’ Chenin Blanc (Gisborne, New Zealand) and 2012 Chateau de Caraguilhes Corbieres Blanc (a southern French blend of roussanne, grenache blanc and marsanne).

I asked David Hook himself and Eden Road’s winemaker Nick Spencer what their wines had about them that deserved special attention for ‘naturalness’. Neither could offer any ideas. Hook was mystified; Spencer was amused. It’s another example of the indiscriminate, or at least badly researched, use of fashionable buzzwords on wine lists, that I highlighted several weeks ago in my Sydney Morning Herald column.

In that column I mentioned wine lists that highlight wines supposedly made from organically or biodynamically grown grapes – except that some of the wines so featured were not organic or BD as claimed. ‘Natural’ wine is the newest buzzword. No doubt there are some people who are attracted to these wines, but most drinkers I’ve encountered who have any knowledge of wine-quality have the opposite reaction. Otherwise, Grasshopper – in my experience – is a fun place with great ambience and good food. It’s tucked away off George Street in the curiously-named Temperance Lane. 

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