Best Apertif List

Apothecary 1878

Apothecary 1878

118 Hindley St, Adelaide
(08) 8212 9099


theapothecary1878.com.au

CUISINE European
WINE LIST Paola Coro
WINEs ON LIST 590 (32 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($18-$8 by the glass)

For an aperitif list to rise to the top it needs to have an identity and be true to it. Apothecary 1878 brings a relaxed ­European sensibility to its food and wines. The aperitif selection is no ­different, opening with a selection of bitters, including the house favourite spritzer combining aperol, prosecco and soda. You can’t get more up to the minute than that with aperol and prosecco together in the one glass. Vermouth, the latest darling of the aperitif set, is also to be found here with Australian newcomer Maidenii taking on the French classic, Noilly Prat.

A thrilling aperitif list needs to be a little daring. Note the presence of absinthe from a bunch of American and French producers. And, as all good lists should do, the wormwood percentage is noted. Apothecary co-owner and sommelier Paola Coro also does a fine job of providing some thirst-quenching beers, including craft makers from Australia and beyond. The list goes on to explore the main spirituous pillars of the pre-dinner drink with vodka, brandy, tequila, rum and bourbon finishing with a broad flourish of Scottish whiskies. JENI PORT

Finalists

Sepia

201 Sussex St, Sydney 
(02) 9283 1990


sepiarestaurant.com

CUISINE Contemporary
WINE LIST Rodney Setter
WINEs ON LIST 1250 (84 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($70-$8 by the glass)

This list is nuts. It seems to have one of almost every main known grape variety in the world: it’s like an MW prep exam compiled into a wine list.  The abundance of half bottles, interesting explorations into varieties (a whole page of Chenin Blanc for example) and a large range of prices means there is almost something for every palate and wallet.  This is an engaging, challenging and exciting list.  Out there, but wonderful.  If you’ve not yet tried kerner, rabigato, timorasso, harslevelu mouraton or listan negro, then Sepia is the place for you.  Equally, if premium pinot or cult riesling is more your fancy, then your fancy can find a place here too. Impressive and edgy.  A must see.

Ormeggio at the Spit

D'Albora Marina, Spit Rd, Mosman, Sydney
(02) 9969 4088


ormeggio.com.au

CUISINE Contemporary Italian
WINE LIST Jeremy Croft
WINEs ON LIST 349 (45 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($133-$9 by the glass)

Ormeggio at The Spit's food menu comes with a certain pedigree, so it's no surprise that the wine and drinks program is suitably excellent. There's a clear theme in Italian and Australian-Italian wine styles and grape varieties, but the list never makes it seem twee, instead giving diners a chance to work through some formidably high quality and well chosen wine. Forty-five-or-so wines by the glass is a good start - not a hair out of place in the selection here either, showcasing classic and emerging producers alongside each other, and the selection gives life to dishes rather than trying to be stars in their own right. Mature wines are judiciously listed, as are some of the growing sect of natural wines, the latter given a dedicated page. Highlights in the list of course come from prestige regions like Barolo, Barbaresco and Tuscany, but be ready to be thrilled by cool inclusions from Franciacorta, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and the alpine nebbiolo region of Valtellina. Indeed, though this isn't the most encyclopaedic of lists, it's healthily long and imbued with the personality of the fine dining, water's edge restaurant, and the flair of sommelier Jeremy Croft.