Best Food & Wine Matching

Brae

Brae

4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra, Vic
(03) 5236 2226

braerestaurant.com

Cuisine Modern Australian
WINE LIST Jared Hill/Simon Freeman
WINES ON LIST 600 (19 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$

Brae has mastered the art of food and wine matching, finding synergy between unlikely partners to provide the diner with an exhilarating experience. It’s no easy task. However, chef Dan Hunter and sommeliers Jared Hill and Simon Freeman have experience on their side, creating harmony through collaboration. The nine-course degustation takes the diner on a journey. Canapés are served with Frederic Savart L’Ouverture Champagne, which has the strength to withstand flavours such as cured bonito, kelp and mountain pepper with its 100 per cent pinot noir composition.

A natural ferment Vouvray is a sterling accompaniment to octopus, carrots and lovage. Crawford River Riesling is suitably bright to pair with the pressed chive and yoghurt whey accompanying the hapuku.

Sake brewed from a rare strain of yeast is a fitting partner to the Japanese-inspired crayfish with shiitake. And a local Irrewarra Pinot gets a look-in with the wood-roasted chicken. Heroes Vineyard Riesling, with native ‘strawberry gum’ ice-cream, and an aged Loire with parsnip and apple, bring the meal to a fitting close. Toni Paterson MW

Finalists

Momofuku Seiōbo

80 Pyrmont St, Sydney, NSW
(02) 9657 9169

seiobo.momofuku.com

CUISINECaribbean/Australian
WINE LIST Maximilian Gurtler
WINEs ON LIST 250 (10 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$

One of the most innovative and daring wine lists in Australia, Momofuku Seiobo has amassed a unique collection of wines collated in rarely-seen ways. It's a list that is curated around small collections of lesser-known but outstanding, artisan wine producers, leaning decidedly to natural wine, often listing what would be considered 'b-side' or obscurer releases. That being said, the wines contained within these pages are of the utmost quality, often released with some cellar time, and utilised judiciously and appropriately to match the beautiful and quixotic flavours of the food menu. The scattering of alt-Australian producers amongst small wine regions of France, a legion of oxidative Jura wines, a large selection of orange (amber) wines sounds relatively commonplace, but those contained here, on such a high profile stage, is a compelling innovation. So much great drinking here, so appropriate to the contemporary mores of dining here.

Biota

18 Kangaloon Rd, Bowral, NSW
(02) 4862 2005

biotadining.com

CUISINE Australian
WINE LIST Ben Shephard
WINE ON LIST 134 (15 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$ ($18-$11 by the glass) 

Sipping on seasonal cocktails, made with botanicals from the Southern Highland, sets the tone for the experience one has when dining at this Bowral gem.  Regional wines are worthy champions at Biota, a restaurant that showcases the beauty and purity of the local wines.  Its reach extends to wider NSW and the Canberra District, where it also celebrates the quality found in these neighbouring districts, plus there are also worthy inclusions from Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmanian and South Australia.  I suspect that you could have no better experience of the wines of Southern NSW than when dining here.

Sixpenny

83 Percival Rd, Stanmore, NSW
(02) 9572 6666

sixpenny.com.au

CUISINEModern Australian
WINE LIST Bridget Raffal / Dan Sharp
WINEs ON LIST225 (16 by the glass)
WINE PRICES $$$ ($50-$15 by the glass)

From the outset, Sixpenny's list is explained as having an emphasis on styles that complement its food with a focus on light, fresh wines of texture and flavour. It achieves the brief brilliantly. While playing it safe with the varietal makeup, the selections from mostly small producers are thoughtful, diverse and delicious. Australia and France take centre stage with the occasional appearance from regional heartlands think Austria for gruner veltliner or Piedmont's reds. Splashes of personality come through in mini-verticals and its neat list of correctly named Amber wines aka skin contact whites. Bravo.