Australian Capital Territory Winner

Italian and Sons

Italian and Sons

7 Lonsdale St, Braddon
(02) 6162 4888
italianandsons.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 250 (24 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($23-$13 by the glass)

There’s no denying that Italy lies at the heart of this impressive wine list. How else could it be with an owner like Pasquale Trimboli, who also runs the award-winning Mezzalira Ristorante in Canberra?

The Trimboli philosophy is simple: if it grows together, it goes together. There’s a harmony here, between wine and food, between wines grown organically, biodynamically, between classic producers and styles, and the new breed of daring and adventurous Italian winemakers.

Indigenous grapes and traditional approaches will fuel the excitement of discovery for many diners. Hearts will pound over the selection of Italian reds, a comprehensive dip into some serious producer names, aged wines and multiple vintages of top Super Tuscans like Tignanello, Ornellaia, Sassicaia and Barolo superstars Massolino, Scavino, Prunotto, Vajra. Homegrown icons aren’t ignored either with a small but select band of ACT wines noted, including a vertical of Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier back to 2006.

Jeni Port

Finalists

The Boat House

Grevillea Park, Menindee Drv, Barton
(02) 6273 5500
theboathouse.restaurant

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Kate Hibberson
WINE ON LIST 205 (19 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($58-$14 by the glass)

The Boathouse, with its modern design and impressive lakeside setting, delivers an equally well-executed wine list. The highlight is Kate Hibberson’s emphasis on local makers, which is both fitting and encouraging to see, with mini-verticals of Helm, Mount Majura and Clonakilla. Beyond that,  the list is built around small, quality-driven producers from shores near and far, and some bigger and bolder Australian benchmark bottles so as not to alienate old-school tastes. A sophisticated cocktail program, a tidy selection of Australian craft beers, and vermouths and malts that offer diversity.  Altogether, this is an imaginative and thoughtfully composed list.

Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar

18 National Cct, Barton
(02) 6163 1818
buvette.com.au

CUISINE French-inspired
WINE LIST Robbie Mawson
WINEs ON LIST 153 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($21-$13 by the glass)

There is plenty to like about the list at Buvette, with something for all tastes. With just over 150 listings, it spends its time skipping between Australia and France, which makes sense given the French culinary influence. Appropriately, the unique local wines and ales are a feature, with breakout boxes celebrating mini-verticals of labels such as Collector, Eden Road and Lark Hill. The glass and carafe offerings are on point, and there is a carefully compiled list of aperitifs and digestifs to round out a long leisurely lunch or an indulgent dinner. This is an orderly, well-presented wine list, and a pleasure to explore.

Glass-Rated

Akiba

40 Bunda St, Civic
(02) 6162 0602
akiba.com.au

CUISINE  Asian Fusion
WINE LIST Fraser Pollard
wines ON LIST 23 (18 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($13-$10 by the glass)

Akiba offers an affordable selection, comprised of smaller producers with a nod to local makers, plus a concise list of craft beers from tap and bottle, and a tidy cocktail selection if you want to play up. What sets Akiba’s drinks list apart is a remarkable selection of sake. It’s an impressive collection that revels a deep-seated passion for sake’s subtle shapes and forms. Spirits also feature prominently, with Japanese whisky taking pride of place. A knowledge and love of all things Japanese defines this uniquely unexpected collection.

Bar Rochford

First Floor, 65 London Cct, Canberra
(02) 6230 6222
barrochford.com

CUISINE Australian/European
WINE LIST Nick Smith
wines ON LIST 96 (12 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($19-$12 by the glass)

Bar Rochford offers a colourful array of minimal interventionist wine styles, with many of the key players from home and abroad making the grade. The crafty, artisanal selection includes sour beers and pet nats aplenty, with prices being more than fair. The vast vinyl collection aside, the fun continues with a solid selection of vermouth, gin, agave and rum. Beaujolais enjoys a special mention with notable expressions on offer. A playful, multifaceted list that pays respect to the local makers and embraces more emerging, off-beat talent.

The Boat House

Grevillea Park, Menindee Drv, Barton
(02) 6273 5500
theboathouse.restaurant

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Kate Hibberson
WINE ON LIST 205 (19 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($58-$14 by the glass)

The Boathouse, with its modern design and impressive lakeside setting, delivers an equally well-executed wine list. The highlight is Kate Hibberson’s emphasis on local makers, which is both fitting and encouraging to see, with mini-verticals of Helm, Mount Majura and Clonakilla. Beyond that,  the list is built around small, quality-driven producers from shores near and far, and some bigger and bolder Australian benchmark bottles so as not to alienate old-school tastes. A sophisticated cocktail program, a tidy selection of Australian craft beers, and vermouths and malts that offer diversity.  Altogether, this is an imaginative and thoughtfully composed list.

Buvette Bistro & Wine Bar

18 National Cct, Barton
(02) 6163 1818
buvette.com.au

CUISINE French-inspired
WINE LIST Robbie Mawson
WINEs ON LIST 153 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($21-$13 by the glass)

There is plenty to like about the list at Buvette, with something for all tastes. With just over 150 listings, it spends its time skipping between Australia and France, which makes sense given the French culinary influence. Appropriately, the unique local wines and ales are a feature, with breakout boxes celebrating mini-verticals of labels such as Collector, Eden Road and Lark Hill. The glass and carafe offerings are on point, and there is a carefully compiled list of aperitifs and digestifs to round out a long leisurely lunch or an indulgent dinner. This is an orderly, well-presented wine list, and a pleasure to explore.

Capitol Bar & Grill

1 London Cct, Canberra
(02) 6247 1488
qthotels.com/canberra/eat-drink/

CUISINE Italian Grill
WINE LIST Chris Morrison and Timothy Mordue
WINEs ON LIST 210 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($32-$11 by the glass)

A fine list with a ‘by the glass’ array that will appeal to all wine lovers. This is a list in safe hands. Big house Champagnes, top producers from all the right regions. If one had to pick an area where they really excel, it’s hard to go past the rieslings.

Italian and Sons

7 Lonsdale St, Braddon
(02) 6162 4888
italianandsons.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 250 (24 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($23-$13 by the glass)

Italian and Sons presents an outstanding collection, not just of Italy’s wine establishment and elite, but its most subversive and interesting producers as well. Pasqual Trimboli has compiled a specialist list that leaves no stone unturned, with a detailed selection that winds its way from north to south. The cellar is presented with confidence and ease, instilling faith in the consumer that they are in the hands of a professional guide who will take them on a fulfilling journey. An original and progressive collection that expresses its author’s knowledge and passion.

Mezzalira

55 London Cct, Canberra
(02) 6230 0025
mezzalira.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 350 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($23-$14 by the glass)

Twenty-four years in the restaurant game is saying something and Mezzalira has been going strong since 1996. The list is a testament to this maturity with 350 listings on the theme of all things Italian. A carefully selected investment of Brunello, Barolo and Barbaresco sets the tone, with examples from the adventurous lo-fi styles as well as renowned aged aristocrats, and everything in between. Australian examples of Italian varieties are also a thing, as are mini-verticals of local producers featuring the likes of Helm and Clonakilla. And while the list pivots around Italy, there is an impeccable selection of Australian greats in addition to a generously stocked and impressive array of aperitivi, cocktails and champagne to round out the full dining experience.

Molto Italian

Element Building, Eastlake Parade, Kingston Foreshore, Canberra
(02) 6140 7039
moltoitalian.com

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Carlo Tosolini
WINEs ON LIST 49 (20 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($22-$9 by the glass)

With just under 50 wines, Molto offers 20 by the glass, which opens this list to the fun of tasting and exploration. The selection is avidly Italian, like the food menu, with a few Australian bottles kept for diehard domestic palates. Prices are fair and inclusive of most budgets, with a wide range, from fruity quaffers to wash down pizza, to the special occasion bottles for the full course experience. While Molto’s is a small list, it is well composed with all the drink bases covered.

Rizla

22 Lonsdale St, Braddon
(02) 6230 0795
drinkrizla.com.au

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Andy Day
WINEs ON LIST 66 (23 by the glass)
WINE PRICES ?? ($20-$13 by the glass)

Rizla does all things riesling, and there is plenty of it: from local talent to international makers, young and old, dry and sweet, fizzy and still. All facets of this great variety are received and enjoyed in this fresh ACT wine bar, with accompanying descriptors providing the encouragement to choose widely. This is a short, punchy list, and while its passion is for aromatic whites, it also offers alternatives in white, rosé and red. Cocktails, beers, mocktails and spirits provide diversity to round out and complete this concise new list.

XO

16 Iluka St, Narrabundah
(02) 6295 9696
xo-restaurant.com.au

CUISINE Contemporary South-East Asian
WINE LIST Kent Nhan
WINEs ON LIST 49 (11 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($18-$14 by the glass)

An excellent small list that champions artisanal producers, from the established to the emerging, including minimal lo-fi and skin-contact styles. The energy is fun and exciting, with plenty of wine and drinks to explore, like the delicacy of sake or craft beers, serious whiskies or imaginative cocktails. The list concludes with a showpiece: 10 vintages of Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, a fitting tribute to a local icon. The choices at XO feel considered and exploratory, being mindful, too, of the need for light and bright, so as not to kill the Asian culinary vibe.