Australian Capital Territory Winner

Italian & Sons

Italian & Sons

7 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT
(02) 6162 4888

italianandsons.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 140 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$

One of the capital’s favourite Italian restaurants has earned its place chiefly from its appealing menu matched to a cracking wine list. Every page is brimming with deliciousness and difference, mostly Italian. The compilation of Piedmontese and Tuscan wines is sharp, featuring recognisable, if not excellent, producers and styles. Think Massolino Barolo, Produttori del Barbaresco, Fontodi Flaccianello della Pieve and Sassicaia with other gems such as Langhe nebbiolo from Olek Bondonio, or a single cru from Sottimano or Bibi Graetz sangiovese. Great names are dotted throughout from Antonio Caggiano, Dal Forno, Foradori to Pieropan to the less familiar La Distesa or Pietracupa to more unusual varieties, including the superb timorasso or San Felice’s pugnitello – one of Tuscany’s rarest grape varieties. A few outsiders are included namely Champagne and a spotlight on two Canberran producers – 11 rieslings from Helm and 10 vintages of Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier.

While some will raise an eyebrow at the scattering of spelling errors, most will be too busy enjoying a glass of chilled verdicchio or Italian & Son’s famed version of Aperol spritz to notice. Jane faulkner

Finalists

Muse

cnr Canberra Ave & Giles St, Kingston, ACT
(02) 6178 0024


musecanberra.com.au

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LISTPaul Eldon / Daniel Sanderson
WINEs ON LIST 128 (12 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($17-$10 by the glass)

It's great to see wine lists dedicating their pages entirely to Australian wine, and a vindication that Australian wine is perhaps in its best era yet is written large in these pages. This isn't a dodgy theme park ride that some all-Australian lists can run the risks of appearing like, but an homage to great Australian producers that are tried and tested, set alongside those emerging from the avant garde. Therefore, you can get Leconfield, Best's or Seven Hill if you want more traditional Australian wines and styles, but if a younger generation of expressive wines is more your style, then dial in BK Wines Petillant Naturel or Alpha Box & Dice's Golden Mullet Fury white blend. There's loads of emerging varieties in the mix too - try assyrtiko, ugni blanc, verduzzo, gruner veltliner on for size, and all from high quality producers. It's an exciting list, speaking loudly of originality and thoughtful curation. And don't miss the high quality, all-Australian artisan spirit pages too.

Bar Rochford

65 London Circuit, Canberra, ACT
(02) 6230 6222

barrochford.com

CUISINE Bistronomy
WINE LIST Nick Smith / Lucas Woods
WINEs ON LIST 61 (12 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($17-$12 by the glass)

This is the wine bar list that Canberra needed - showcasing local fare while promoting the avant garde of Australian and imported wine producers. It's thrilling to see pet nats given equal footing to grower Champagne, while wines from Friuli, Jura, Beaujolais and Savoie are highlighted as touch stones of the global, natural wine movement. Indeed, Rochford won't blow you away with marquee wine producers or verticals of blue chip, prestige wines, but it will give you a great overview of cutting edge wine styles and ensure that you're always drinking something different, unusual (and good!) each time you roll through their doors. It's a well-curated wine experience catering to the adventurous and open-minded, where alternative wines thrive while being spruiked by knowledgable staff. Don't miss the ever-changing beer selection or the deep listing of artisan spirits that grace this list's pages. Stellar work from this stellar bar.

Glass-Rated

Aubergine

18 Barker St, Griffith
(02) 6260 8666


aubergine.com.au

CUISINE Modern European
WINE LIST Cyril Thevenet
wines ON LIST 518 (31 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($43-$12 by the glass)

An outstanding wine list that would be the pride of any restaurant, anywhere in Australia, but the strong focus on producers from local Canberra District is a further commitment to the locavore ethos of the restaurant, and an investment in the loyal, local community. The wine list thunders with personality, showcasing avant garde and emerging wine producers alongside 'classics' and blue chip wines of great estates. By the glass is dynamic and embellished with a Coravin list that stretches into reserve wines and rarer cuvees. Burgundy is a very strong point too, with big names found amongst some of the region's more 'organic-leaning' wineries. There's also gems from Jura, outstanding vintages of Beaujolais from marquee producers, vertical runs of selected wines and a quirky collection of orange wines for those seeking something more exotic. A superb collection, full of personality and contemporary mores. Kudos.

Bar Rochford

1/65 London Cct, Canberra City
(02) 6230 6222


barrochford.com

CUISINE Bistronomy
WINE LIST Nick Smith /Lucas Wood
wines ON LIST 61 (12 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($17-$12 by the glass)

This is the wine bar list that Canberra needed - showcasing local fare while promoting the avant garde of Australian and imported wine producers. It's thrilling to see pet nats given equal footing to grower Champagne, while wines from Friuli, Jura, Beaujolais and Savoie are highlighted as touch stones of the global, natural wine movement. Indeed, Rochford won't blow you away with marquee wine producers or verticals of blue chip, prestige wines, but it will give you a great overview of cutting edge wine styles and ensure that you're always drinking something different, unusual (and good!) each time you roll through their doors. It's a well-curated wine experience catering to the adventurous and open-minded, where alternative wines thrive while being spruiked by knowledgable staff. Don't miss the ever-changing beer selection or the deep listing of artisan spirits that grace this list's pages. Stellar work from this stellar bar.

Boat House (The)

Grevillea Park, Menindee Dr, Barton
(02) 6273 5500


theboathouse.restaurant

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Kate Hibberson
WINE ON LIST 138 (11 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($17-$14 by the glass)

The stalwart Canberra restaurant is proudly a supporter of local winemakers and presents the coterie of high quality producers of Canberra District wine region front and centre. It's a strong move that highlights the diversity and premium nature of wines from the premier wine region, and allows drinkers to not only explore the familiar big names of say Clonakilla, Helm, Mount Majura or Lark Hill, but to explore the emerging cast of a new generation of winemakers acing it alongside - don't miss Mada, Nick Spencer or Ravensworth. While the list shines a spot light on the nearby wine culture, there's great depth from across Australia and indeed a well-chosen, tighter selection of imports, including well-known Champagne houses, a small collection of good Burgundy and some eclectic bits-and-pieces from Spain, Portugal and France. The wide selection allows for great ease of drinking at The Boat House.

Italian And Sons

7 Lonsdale St, Braddon
(02) 6162 4888


italianandsons.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 140 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($18-$13 by the glass)

It's wine lists like this that titillate and delight at every page turn. Thoughtful selection means you get a list that has a strong theme to match the cuisine, but isn't limited to a narrow bandwidth, instead offers a global exploration that shows nuance, personality and wines of immense interest and drinkability. High quality is a standard here, so too a majority of producers who, importantly, grow their own grapes and produce wines with a thin but judicious veil of winemaking. A feature page on local legend Ken Helm highlights that Canberra District gets a serious look in too - homage where it is due. You could drink from the swathe of outstanding Produttori dei Barbaresco, Gaja or Tignanello wines or work your way through bottles of edgier Italian offerings from Frank Cornelissen, Olek Bondonio or COS - such a thrill to see a no holds barred approach to the collection. No wine is out of place in this list, it's there to suit a breadth of eager diners, and it does so with aplomb.

Mezzalira

55 London Cct, Canberra City
(02) 6230 0025


mezzalira.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Pasquale Trimboli
WINEs ON LIST 250 (22 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($19-$14 by the glass)

Here lies a cavalcade of fine wine with a net cast widely over the ubiquitous Italian wine regions so appropriate to the menu, but joined in droves by Australian icons (often with multiple, cellared vintages) and a host of iconic European wine producers/regions. It's an impressive list for its depth and breadth, but never feels overwhelming, and the personality of the list shines through in its great support of organic, biodynamic and natural wines, yet there's no short supply of the marquee wines set around those genres. Gracing these pages are a raft of local wineries too, so wines from Ravensworth, Clonakilla and Mount Majura find themselves sidling up to cult producers of Italy like Sicily's Frank Cornelissen or Piedmont's famed Olek Bondonio. Indeed, the selection from Piedmont is all-star and breathtaking, but don't overlook the wonderful inclusions under (vintage) Champagne (and the prices are sharp!) or riesling, where much excitement also lies. A striking list.

Molto Italian

Element Building, Eastlake Pde, Kingston Foreshore
(02) 6140 7039


moltoitalian.com

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Carlo Tosolini
WINEs ON LIST 39 (19 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $ ($15-$9 by the glass)

A short and sharp wine list that does a good job of offering a raft of wines by the glass while showcasing some of Italy's most renowned wine regions. It's a collection of affordable, palatable reds and whites that work a treat alongside the casual dining at Molto Italian. There's wines from Central Otago, the local Canberra District, King Valley and Marlborough in the mix too. That being said, you're here for Italian, so dive into Amarone, Primitivo or nebbiolo from Langhe as your first port of call. The list feels pitch-perfect for the casual dining and breadth of dishes on offer too. Aperitivi focussing on 'Italian' cocktails is a worthy inclusion too. Dive in.

Pialligo Estate

18 Kallaroo Road, Pialligo
(02) 6247 6060

www.pialligoestate.com.au

CUISINE Modern Australian
WINE LIST Frederique Raimbaud
WINEs ON LIST 30 (13 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($17-$6 by the glass)

I like to think of this as a preview of things to come.  Pialligo Estate has been a strong supporter of the wines of the Canberra District and NSW and won the award for the best wine list in the ACT for 2017.  However, a recent devastating fire destroyed its collection of fine wine.  Far from letting lousy luck get in the way of success, they are rebuilding their vinous offering, with charismatic sommelier Frederique Raimbaud at the helm.  They will retain their 2-glass status during this transitional time.  Their shorter list displays all of the vibrancy and insight of the past and will delight diners with its hand-chosen selection of quality wine.  We applaud their courage and fortitude and wish them every success for the future.

Rubicon

6a Barker St, Griffith
(02) 6295 9919


rubiconrestaurant.com.au

CUISINE Contempoary European
WINE LIST Owen Kenyon
WINEs ON LIST 577 (26 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($22-$9 by the glass)

Visitors to Rubicon should be delighted by this tome to high quality, diverse and exciting wine. It's a list that showcases some of the world's greatest wines (hello DRC, hello the chunk of sexy Margaret River marquee chardonnat) but suits a broad audience, particularly those seeking to explore the emerging group of thrilling, younger generation winemakers of the local Canberra District, or Australia's colourful natural wine scene. That being said, superb examples of Mount Mary, Huet Vouvray, Pegasus Bay and Penfold's Yattarna (cellared) draw the gaze keenly. Sake, beer an spirits round out the excellent wine offering, suggesting some additional thought and care goes into the general drink offering here. Kudos for that. By the glass goes deep and assisted by the magic of Coravin wine preservation - it's a neat enhancement on an existing excellent opportunity to drink a raft of great wines. Very good work, sommelier Owen Kenyon.