Best Small List (100)

Spice Temple, Melbourne

Spice Temple, Melbourne

8 Whiteman St, Southbank, Melbourne 
(03) 8679 1888


rockpool.com

Cuisine Chinese
WINE LIST David Lawler
WINES ON LIST 100 (19 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($28-$11 by the glass)

Why 100 wines? “It forces us to make this list the best possible match for Neil Perry’s extraordinary Asian food,” Spice Temple sommelier David Lawler explains in his marvellously succinct wine list. “Every wine fights for its place.” 

This year, Spice Temple takes out its third Best Small Wine List win. The list is strong in riesling and aromatic white grapes like gewürztraminer and textural lovelies such as grüner veltliner and Rhône blends. We can’t imagine better matches than La Violetta’s Das Sakrileg Riesling from the Great Southern with the stir-fried prawns and salted duck egg. 

Spice, chilli and peppercorns are the seasonings of choice here. A sommelier needs steady nerves and deep thought to seek out their perfect wine partners. 

Rosés and lighter reds from France and Victoria play a role, as do medium-bodied, fruit-forward reds like pinot noir and Austria’s super food-friendly blaufränkisch. Shiraz is a list star with wines from cooler climates such as Beechworth mingling nicely with the Barossa’s warmer, more generous -grenache shiraz mourvèdre blends. JENI PORT

Finalists

NOMAD

16 Foster St, Surry Hills
(02) 9280 3395


nomadwine.com.au

CUISINEMediterranean influenced
WINE LIST Daniel Jacobson
WINEs ON LIST 75 (56 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($24-$11 by the glass)

Nomad's Australia-only wine list has matured considerably since opening, and now finds itself rolling deep in a fascinating array of lesser-known, artisan producers coupled to boutique winemakers of high renowned. It's a list that captures zeitgeist but also anchors drinkers into the a broad spectrum of Australian wine. There's a decided lean to Australia's engaging natural wine scene with a roll call that includes The Other Right, LattaWines, Joshua Cooper and Frederick Stevenson. The list feels well judged and balanced, extracting best drinks, unique varieties and styles, while giving drinkers benchmark wines like Holyman Pinot Noir, a suite of Arras Sparkling wine and Picardy's Chardonnay. The Reserve list feels a little light on for what most might consider Reserve wines, but the thrill is in the 55-plus by the glass options where exploration is the reward. A bold, well done list.

Chiswick

65 Ocean St, Woollahra
(02) 8388 8688


chiswickrestaurant.com.au

CUISINEModern Australian
WINE LIST Matt Dunne
WINEs ON LIST 98 (23 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($75-$11 by the glass)

 An expertly curated selection with quality at the essence of all listings.  A snapshot of the world of wine, where respected and alternate producers sit in perfect harmony.  There are plenty of interstate and global jewels as well as admirable local NSW inclusions.  Experiment freely and with confidence, enjoying the commendable breadth of prices and styles on offer.

Estelle Bistro

243 High St, Northcote
(03) 9489 4609


estellebistro.com

CUISINEModern Australian
WINE LIST James Dossan and Shar Debney
WINES ON LIST 77 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$($24-$10 by the glass) 

A tight, focused small wine list is a thing of beauty, calling for all the skills that a sommelier possesses. What to include? What to discard? Estelle Bistro passes the test with flair, offering a smart, slick grouping of world wines available by the glass – carafe as well as bottle. The styles are at home with its modern Australian food style: the whites are textural and many don't rely on oak; the reds are structured but not impenetrable and there's the odd new-age white wine turning a shade of orange. There's a lot to like here.