Best Small List (50)

CONGRESS

Congress

49 Peel St, Collingwood, Vic
(03) 9068 7464


congresswine.com.au

Cuisine Modern Australian
WINE LIST Katie McCormack
WINES ON LIST 50 (14 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($11-$17 by the glass)

Some wine lists run to hundreds of wines to represent their interpretation of a modern Australian wine selection. Respect will be paid to Europe, while the core will be reserved for Aussie winemakers combining conventional and less conventional wine styles. Now imagine trying to achieve all of that in just 50 wines or less.

It’s an art to be sure and we salute Melbourne sommelier Katie McCormack for not only accepting the challenge but hitting it out of the park with a list that sizzles with mod Oz brilliance.

From the very first page of the wines-by-the-glass listing the intent is clear. A pét-nat sparkling from the Riverland mixes with biodynamic producer Domaine Simha from Tasmania, followed by a fiano from Campania, then a leading Georgian maker using clay amphorae.

We can only imagine that in a mod Oz world that serves, as Congress does, a pig’s head and green mustard sanga, kangaroo pastrami and ox tongue skewer with chermoula that there is a place for everything from a textural Adelaide Hills grüner veltliner to a honeyed malvasia-based blended orange wine from Emilia-Romagna, Italy.

That falls within our definition of mod Oz and to do it all within just 50 wines is something to celebrate.  

JENI PORT

Finalists

Harvest Newrybar

18-22 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar, NSW
(02) 6687 2644

harvestnewrybar.com.au

CUISINEModern Australian
WINE LIST Moira Waterfall, Russell Berry & Samuel Curtis
WINEs ON LIST 50 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($12-$30 by the glass)

A small yet adventurous list that has a smattering of leading lights such as Yarra Yering and Bindi offset by excellent artisanal producers such as Ochota Barrels and Ruggabellus. And it’s not afraid to focus on the new, as in Ricca Terra from the Riverland, or those pushing boundaries such as Timo Mayer in the Yarra Valley. And while the layout needs polishing, the wines on offer are totally in the zone.

Meeka

361 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco, WA
(08) 9381 1800

meekarestaurant.com.au

CUISINEModern Australian/Middle Eastern
WINE LIST Faye Clarke & Nav Singh
WINEs ON LIST 50 (17 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($9.5-$15 by the glass)

The wine list feels righteous, set to a notion of minimal intervention wine producers though the listings go pretty broad on that concept. It’s a list that gives touchstones of the avant-garde of Australian wine producers with a scattering of edgy imports and then some more safe bets. You’ll find great wines from Tasmania, Great Southern, Adelaide Hills nestled next to offerings from Loire Valley, Burgundy, Pfalz. It’s a list that feels pretty safe in a modern context of Australian wine lists despite its epithet of ‘natural’ and ‘boutique’, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Highlights include exceptional wine from Keke Descombes and it’s great to see Aussie wineries like Tarturry and FC Bicknell featuring in Western Australia. The spread of the offering is comprehensive, the list indeed giving a good sense of global touchstones of regions of currency and interest. Plenty to like here.