Best Country Restaurant List

The Barn Steakhouse

The Barn Steakhouse

747 Glenelg River Rd, Mount Gambier, SA
(08) 8726 9999

barn.com.au

CUISINE Steakhouse
WINE LIST Kent Comley
WINEs ON LIST 718 (23 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($35-$9.5 by the glass)

Kent Comley has assembled a superb wine list that’s worthy of any of Australia’s capital city restaurants. That The Barn is a steakhouse in rural Mount Gambier simply emphasises his feat.

It starts with his Kent and Co bespoke Mount Gambier ‘house’ wines, flows seamlessly across Australia and abroad. France is dealt with in incredible depth with Italy hot on its heels and backed up with a smattering of interesting and obscure varieties, countries and styles.

For all these delights, however, the heart of the list is the SA reds. A magnum of Wynns Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon rubs shoulders with a rare bottle of 1967 Mildara Bin 36 Cabernet Shiraz – both at more than affordable prices. Indeed the value is astonishing with heavy hitters like Hill of Grace and Grange well priced against the capital city norm. Add in 10 vintages of Rockford Basket Press Shiraz and all you need is a good steak which The Barn offers, of course.

If you’re having trouble deciding on which bottle to select, Comley offers 20 wines by the glass to provide inspiration. Indeed, “inspirational” is an appropriate word for this worthy Best Country Restaurant List award.

PETER BOURNE

Finalists

Settlers Tavern

114 Bussell Hwy, Margaret River, WA
(08) 9757 2398


settlerstavern.com

CUISINE Casual Modern Australian
WINE LIST Karen & Rob Gough
WINE ON LIST 600 (25 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($27-$7 by the glass)

This superstar list continues at pace. A remarkable offering for a regional pub, let alone a restaurant anywhere in Australia. Proprietors Karen and Rob Gough are dedicated to not only supporting their local wine region, Margaret River, but unearthing and fostering new talent, discovering and promoting under-the-radar producers and broadening horizons of patrons. There are mature wines from the bulging Settlers Tavern cellar regularly updating the list and, of course, gems from Western Australia feature heavily here. The Goughs have long supported the fine wines under the banner of natural wine, so you’ll find rarities from Savoie’s Domaine Belluard, southern German pinot star Ziereisen or Jura rising star Tony Bornard. Of course, ‘You Have Now Entered Margaret River Cab Country’ gives way to a triumphant, and carefully-curated collection of the finest of local reds. Some 600 wines later and you’ve seen one of the most legendary living lists in the country.

d’Arenberg Cube

58 Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale, SA
(08) 8329 4888

darenberg.com.au

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Joshua Picken
WINE ON LIST550 (47 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($80-$10)

It’s a tremendous collection of wine on offer at the quixotic Cube landmark on d’Arenberg’s estate, and though wedded to the wines of the property, and deeply, the list is a triumph for its incredible global reach, depth in cellared materials and marriage of classic and progressive producers. You might need a GPS of some sort to work through the off-beat layout, but the overall impression is of a collection of wines that settles for best only. Of particular note are the sommelier-led, wine experiences that work as matching flights for the meal – diners choose between a d’Arenberg focus, a mix of premium wine (and d’Arenberg) or an innovative tasting menu that weds a range of diverse sake to the meal. All up, the comprehensive nature of the list is compelling, thoughtfully brought together and balances sommelier interest with a breadth that appeals to the broad audience entering the Cube. Great work, Josh Picken and team.