Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2017
I choose my restaurants on the quality of the wine that they serve, not only because I adore wine, but because a top wine list is usually an indicator of great food.
Wine can make or break a meal. Even the most anticipated dining occasion can be a lacklustre experience without great wine.
Australia’s Wine List of the Year awards, for 2017, have recently been announced. As part of the judging team, I have seen thousands of entries over the years, and it is encouraging to observe an upward trend in quality and diversity.
Restaurants are awarded a one, two or three glass rating based on the quality of their wine offering.
The wine lists are assessed on a wide range of criteria, including balance and price range. It shouldn’t matter how much money you choose to spend on wine; there should be great wine available at all price points.
A misnomer exists that you should never choose the cheapest wine on a wine list. Well, that is certainly not the case when ordering wine in glass-rated establishments.
When talking with top sommeliers, they insist that they want their customers to be happy with whatever wine they choose, whether it be the cheapest or most expensive wine available. They pride themselves on seeking out the best wines available at different price points.
This year’s ‘Australian Wine List of the Year’ crown went to Jonah’s at Whale Beach in New South Wales. Sommeliers Niels Sluiman, Christian Baeppler and team present a stunning international wine list, with over 1600 listings, supplied by an extensive in-house cellar of some of the world’s greatest wines. Diversity and depth are its hallmarks, and the range by-the-glass is spectacular.
But restaurants don’t need to offer encyclopedic lists to get noticed.
The ‘Best Small List’ (50 wines) went to Harvest in Newrybar, nestled in the Byron Bay hinterland. It is a thoroughly modern list with eclectic and insightful listings.
Chiswick in Woollahra, Sydney, picked by ‘Best Small List’ (100 wines) for its beautifully tailored list built on quality.
Queensland’s Cru Bar and Cellar picked up the award for ‘Best List of Wine-by-the-Glass’. And Victoria’s Stokehouse in St Kilda, rebuilt and reinvented after a devastating fire in 2014, picked up ‘Best New List’.
For dining in Perth, visit Il Lido, which picked up ‘Best Wine List, Western Australia’. When in Launceston, visit Stillwater, winning ‘Best Wine List, Tasmania’. And make a special trip to Mount Gambier to eat at Barn Steakhouse, winner of ‘Best Wine List, South Australia’.
For a full list of the winners, visit the Wine List Of The Year website.