Australian Capital Territory Winner

MEZZALIRA

Mezzalira

55 London Cct, Canberra
(02) 6230 0025

mezzalira.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 350 (21 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($24-$13 by the glass)

At its most joyous and fun, Italian hospitality means a shared table of fabulous food with excellent wine, and Mezzalira encourages all that to ensure contented guests. Its list superbly balances Italian varieties while showcasing Canberra’s wine region without being parochial plus key Australian producers generally. There’s no tokenism to this list and best of all, every page has something you really want to drink.

Expect local nebbiolo from Ravensworth or one from Domenica in Beechworth to sit neatly with Piedmontese bottles such as Vietti Perbacco or a Benevelli Piero Langhe followed by a rather ship-shape collection of Barbaresco and Barolo. In between, more unusual but no less delicious wines feature. There’s even pinot noir from Trentino Alto-Adige.

This list manages depth and diversity without being ridiculously large. It hovers around a very manageable 350 bottles, while presenting a range of textures and flavours from crisp and crunchy whites to rich and warming reds. Pasquale Trimboli is charged with creating this outstanding and now award-winning list. Bravo.

jane faulkner

Finalists

Italian and Sons

7 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
(02) 6162 4888


italianandsons.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 300 (21 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($24-$13 by the glass)

Italian & Sons boasts a list that carries wines from all 20 of Italy’s wine regions with a fair representation of the country’s native grape varieties. Diners will have fun working their way from the pinot grigio of Trentino-Alto Adige south to the cannonau of Sardegna and the nerello mascalese of nearby Sicily. The comprehensive Italian listing, balanced beautifully between age and youth, old masters and new, is absorbing. A light sprinkling of wines from local stars Helm and Clonakilla breaks the reverie, reminding you of just where you are dining.

The Boat House

Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive, Barton
(02) 6273 5500

theboathouse.restaurant

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Kate Hibberson
WINEs ON LIST 204 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($50-$15 by the glass)

A celebration of the exciting and innovative Canberra wine region is wholeheartedly embraced at The Boat House. From a Mount Majura sparkling, a Ravensworth Riesling to a Mada Syrah Nouveau, the offerings by the glass and under Coravin set the scene. Enter further and diners will find a brief history of the region, its commitment to riesling and shiraz and a featured producer, and so it goes on. However, the Canberra Wine Masterclass is not the only reason to love this listing, it is the hand-picked nature of the rest of the offerings that also impresses. Small producers shine whether from Priorat, Etna, Beaujolais or Provence.

Glass-Rated

Bar Rochford

1/65 London Cct, Canberra
(02) 6230 6222


barrochford.com

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Nick Smith & Lucas Woods
wines ON LIST 81 (12 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($17-$12 by the glass)

Bar Rochford likes to mix things up whether it’s a three-year-old savagnin from the Jura, a grüner veltliner from the Adelaide Hills, a blaufrankish blend from Austria or something way more left field in the way of wines in the orange and “funk” mode. So, lots of choice here and the best part is the smattering of Canberran wines throughout, a nod to the surrounding vineyards and makers. The winemaker profile page is devoted to Ravensworth, something to be studied and enjoyed. The list is devoted to a relatively small and select bunch that is sure to excite.

The Boat House

Grevillea Park, Menindee Drive, Barton
(02) 6273 5500


theboathouse.restaurant

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Kate Hibberson
wines ON LIST 204 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($50-$15 by the glass)

A celebration of the exciting and innovative Canberra wine region is wholeheartedly embraced at The Boat House. From a Mount Majura sparkling, a Ravensworth Riesling to a Mada Syrah Nouveau, the offerings by the glass and under Coravin set the scene. Enter further and diners will find a brief history of the region, its commitment to riesling and shiraz and a featured producer, and so it goes on. However, the Canberra Wine Masterclass is not the only reason to love this listing, it is the hand-picked nature of the rest of the offerings that also impresses. Small producers shine whether from Priorat, Etna, Beaujolais or Provence.

Italian And Sons

7 Lonsdale St, Braddon
(02) 6162 4888


italianandsons.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINE ON LIST 300 (21 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($24-$13 by the glass)

Italian & Sons boasts a list that carries wines from all 20 of Italy’s wine regions with a fair representation of the country’s native grape varieties. Diners will have fun working their way from the pinot grigio of Trentino-Alto Adige south to the cannonau of Sardegna and the nerello mascalese of nearby Sicily. The comprehensive Italian listing, balanced beautifully between age and youth, old masters and new, is absorbing. A light sprinkling of wines from local stars Helm and Clonakilla breaks the reverie, reminding you of just where you are dining.

Mezzalira

55 London Cct, Canberra
(02) 6230 0025


mezzalira.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 350 (21 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($24-$13 by the glass)

If diners see a resemblance between the wine lists of Italian & Sons and Mezzalira that’s because they are siblings. The love of Italian wines is strong, the selection is diverse and includes organic, biodynamic producers and popular new edgy styles such as skin contact orange/amber wines. Let the list’s notations, courtesy of sommelier Pasquale Trimboli, be your guide. The Italians are backed up by Australian wines including those employing Italian grape varieties which will undoubtedly lead to some interesting comparisons. This list is not only fun but educational!

Molto Italian

Unit 155/43 Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore
(02) 6140 7039


moltoitalian.com

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Carlo Tosolini
WINEs ON LIST 42 (23 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($15-$9 by the glass)

The wine list at Molto Italian holds no pretentions to being comprehensive and thoroughly immersed in the wines of Italy. It’s far more pragmatic in its approach and as such manages to provide some tasty wines, the odd aged wine, too, and a small taste of Aussies at easy-to-afford prices. You have to be happy with that. Add to that, the brief addition of cocktails, Italian beers (yes, there is Peroni but also Mastri and Menabrea) and some refreshing sparklings and sweeties and Molto has the Italian drinks story down pat.

Monster Kitchen

Ground/25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra
(02) 6287 6287


monsterkitchen.com.au

CUISINE Australian
WINE LIST Royston Lau
WINEs ON LIST 100 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($60-$14 by the glass)

Eclectic and left-of-centre are among the most suited descriptors for this Monster Kitchen wine list which seems to fit a whole lot of worldly wine action into just 100 wines. One minute it’s the wines of the restaurant’s locale in Canberra and its surrounding areas, and the next it’s offering an aged skin contact wine from Friuli and a promising nerello mascalese rose from Sicily. To work it all out start with a gin or rum from the list’s extensive selection and take it from there.

Muse

69 Canberra Avenue, Griffith
(02) 6178 0024

musecanberra.com.au

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Paul Eldon & Daniel Sanderson
WINEs ON LIST 131 (12 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($20-$10 by the glass)

Welcome to the wine road less travelled. It’s a fun ride where you will discover small, family-owned independent wine producers.

Pialligo Estate

18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo
(02) 6247 6060


pialligoestate.com.au

CUISINE Contempoary European
WINE LIST Frederique Raimbaud
WINEs ON LIST 38 (18 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($10-$16 by the glass)

Pialligo Estate continues to rebuild its wine list after a devastating fire in late 2017, the year in which it took out the award for the best wine list in the ACT. We are encouraged to see the same thoughtful approach from sommelier Frederique Raimbaud being applied as she goes about re-stocking her list (which remains a short list for the moment) with the wines of the ACT at its core. The region is kicking goals with its riesling and shiraz, and a sense of daring is nicely epitomised in the Ravensworth Pet Nat Riesling bubbly which heads the wines by the glass. Love the left of field selections like a malvasia from Slovenia and an Adelaide Hills blaufränkisch. Watch this space as the list returns to its full splendour.

Pilot.

Shop 1, Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie
(02) 6257 4334

pilotrestaurant.com

CUISINE Contemporary Australian
WINE LIST Caitlin Baker
WINEs ON LIST 44 (10 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($21-$14 by the glass)

Pilot, which opened in 2018, likes to keep a tight little wine listing capitalising on the growing demand for organic, biodynamic, minimal intervention and orange-skin contact wines from small, independent Australian winemakers. It’s big on star power in that particular world with Ochota Barrels, Mac Forbes, Latta and Hochkirch, among others. Challenging and thought provoking.

Sage

55 Ainslie Avenue, Braddon
(02) 6249 6050


sagerestaurant.net.au

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Andy Day & Hannah McDowell
WINEs ON LIST 84 (23 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($18-$12 by the glass)

Sage offers a small wine list that skips hither and yon. One minute you are looking at an offering of wines from the local ACT wine region and the next your eye is taken by the Oregon riesling or Loire Valley muscadet or Geelong pinot noir. A lot of wine territory is travelled here and there are some real discoveries to be enjoyed. The spirits and digestif sections are a definite must see.