Best Apertif List

DeVine Food & Wine

deVine Food & Wine

32 Market St, Sydney, NSW
(02) 9262 6906

devinefoodandwine.com.au

CUISINE Italian
WINE LIST Julian Izzillo
WINEs ON LIST 500 (35 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$

Aperitif. Aperitivo. In any language, we know what that evocative word means: tantalising the tastebuds with a drink in order to excite one’s appetite. While we all want something delicious, everyone’s choice is different. Some desire vermouth, straight or mixed or a cheeky cocktail, sherry or bubbles.

There’s plenty of choice at de Vine although strictly speaking, its small, sharp aperitivo list works across two pages under two enticing headings – Bubbles + Spritz followed by Shaken + Stirred. Your drink of choice might be a Negroni classico or Campari-inspired aperitivi such as the ultra-refreshing Alpine Spritz. Or maybe Aperol served up in the Signature Spritz that also mixes in gin, pineapple, lime, bitters and blood orange soda. There’s a small selection of Italian vermouth, to be taken neat or splashed over ice and served with a slice of orange. There’s nothing stopping you from ordering sake, a gin and tonic or a crisp, dry sherry, including manzanilla, fino or palo cortado. Then again, a glass of unadulterated prosecco could be just the thing. Salute!  
JANE FAULKNER

Finalists

Sokyo

The Star, 80 Pyrmont St, NSW
(02) 9657 9161

star.com.au/sydney/eat-and-drink/signature-dining/sokyo

CUISINE Modern Japanese
WINE LIST Joey Frances
WINEs ON LIST 600 (46 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $-$$$ ($295-$13 by the glass)

Sokyo, at The Star boasts an astounding wine list.  It may be more accurate to call it a 'beverage collection', as it spans across a wide range of styles.  Most importantly, being at a Japanese restaurant, there is an expansive collection of Sake, including the prized Dassai Junmai Daijinjo 'Beyond'.  The Japanese Whisky lineup is similarly impressive: an entire page dedicated to it offering the Yamazaki 25YO, Hakushu 25YO and Nikka Taketsuru 25YO.  The winelist has the same impact, with 46 different wines available by the glass (including Grange and a 1989 Vouvray).  The main list spans many of the great estates from the great wine regions around the world, and there is similar gravitas afforded to the Australian wineries who consistently produce outstanding wines (think Tyrrells, Penfolds, Torbreck, Cape Mentelle, Wynns, etc).  Here's hoping your birth year is 1982: Margaux, Lafite, Haut-Brion, Cos d'Estournel, Petrus and Cheval Blanc all feature.   The eyebrows are raised.

Balcon by Tapavino

17 Bligh St, Sydney, NSW
(02) 9223 6176

balconrestaurant.com.au

CUISINE Spanish
WINE LIST Lee Hayward
WINEs ON LIST 400 (26 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($21-$9 by the glass)

While the colour coded hieroglyphics are meant to help navigate across this Spanish infused list, and some might find it useful, they look cumbersome and do clutter the pages. Regardless, there are excellent wines within. Dive in to discover Iberian joys listed under regional headings or with sherry, under various styles such as fino or oloroso. Plenty of diversity and delicious wines offered by the glass.