Boydell’s Cellar Door and Restaurant is the newest additon to the Hunter Valley town of Morpeth.
Daniel Maroulis.

Morpeth, Please

When we think of the Hunter Valley our minds often draw to Pokolbin or Broke, but now the historic village of Morpeth is providing some much-needed competition, with Boydell’s Cellar Door and Restaurant. The new venue was designed to complement owners Daniel and Jane Maroulis‘ vineyard and winery located upstream in East Gresford. “Charles [Boydell, who established the East Gresford property in 1826] wrote about catching a paddle steamer regularly from Paterson to Morpeth,” said Daniel Maroulis. “This authenticity is important to us.” The Boydell’s range of wines is available for tasting and purchase from Wednesday to Sunday, while the restaurant, led by renowned chef Sheldon Black, is open from Friday lunch to Sunday dinner.

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Something to Boast About

South Australian gin brand Never Never Distilling Co.’s Head Distiller Tim Boast has been awarded Distiller of the Year at the International Spirits Awards. Boast began distilling in 2017, when he moved from a career in finance to start brewing in his backyard shed in Adelaide.

“It’s an incredible honour to receive such a deeply personal validation that I might be doing a few things right,” said Boast. “I would never have been able to do it without the support of my wife and business partners.”

The award comes off the back of a successful 2019 for Never Never, taking out various gold medals both nationally and abroad. This year is set to be another big one, with the development of a new distillery and cocktail bar in McLaren Vale in conjunction with the cellar door of Chalk Hill Wines.

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Tim Boast takes home Distiller of the Year award.
Four Pillars is the first Aussie brand to take home the title.
Daughter in Law's Jessi Singh and Sacha Imrie.

World’s Best

Four Pillars Gin has added another title to their already impressive list of accolades, being named 2019 International Gin Producer of the Year at the 50th Annual International Wine and Spirits Competition. The Yarra Valley-based distillery is the first Australian gin brand to take out the esteemed title, and now count themselves among distilling royalty like Kyoto Distillery from Japan and Sweden’s Hernö.

“The award is a tribute to every single person who has helped us make, sell, create, drink or buy one of our gins,” said co-founder and distiller Cameron MacKenzie who accepted the award in London. “This award is not for a single one of our gins but for the whole of our gin business and that’s what makes it so incredibly special.”


Hunter’s Old Vines

The 2019 Margan BC4 Shiraz is the second release of the Broke Fordwich producer’s unique old vine shiraz project, started by Andrew Margan in 2011 as the result of a search for more diversity in his shiraz vineyards.

“I asked some mates who owned heritage vineyards in Pokolbin for some buds to graft over a 30-hectare block of 50-year-old shiraz vines,” said Margan. He ended up grafting six different clones on the rootstocks, which are now producing some brilliant results. The 2019 BC4 is a bright, fruit-forward shiraz, available from 1 February.
Josh Niland of the Fish Butchery and Saint Peter in Sydney.

Cured and Matured

Josh Niland of Sydney’s Saint Peter has never taken a conventional route when it comes to produce from the ocean. At the Fish Butchery a few doors down from his restaurant, he’s now curing fish that’s in season and at its peak to create a range of fish ‘charcuterie’. Food of such extraordinary flavour and technique of course requires wine of equal standing. Enter Champagne Dom Pérignon – a partnership that will mean a permanent place on the wine list for this famous Champagne name.

For a limited period you can book a bespoke pairing of the excellent 2008 Dom Pérignon and Niland’s selection of cured fish with complementary condiments (A$77) or go all out and enjoy a bottle of 2002 Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 with a selection of six preserved and cured fish creations for (A$779).

To book call (02) 8937 2530.
Luxury, heart and atmosphere at The Gidley.

The Gidley Opens in Sydney

James Bradley and Warren Burns, the dynamic duo behind some of Sydney’s most exciting venues like Bistecca and The Wild Rover, are back again with their new offering in the Sydney CBD, The Gidley.

The underground restaurant evokes all things luxury, with marble and velvet furnishings and atmospheric lighting designed to transport you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

The menu, created by Executive Chef Pip Pratt, takes inspiration from New York and London’s famous supper clubs, so expect premium cuts of steak and hearty sauces and sides, all finished off with traditional American desserts.

The venue’s wine list has been crafted by Alice Massaria, who was awarded 2019’s Best New Wine List for her highly inventive list at Bistecca, and features both Australian and international wines that complement the venue’s robust menu.

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Luxury, heart and atmosphere at The Gidley.

Origin is the New Black

Self-confessed coffee obsessives behind Mr Black have launched a new Single Origin Coffee Liqueur (A$75) to the range.

“Single Origin embodies all we’ve tried to achieve at Mr Black since we started in 2013 — the pursuit of a perfect, boozy cup of coffee,” said Managing Founder Tom Baker. “It is different from the original as it showcases the lighter, brighter, fruit-forward side of coffee, whereas Mr Black is famous for its robust, rich, toasted notes.”

Single Origin can be served simply in a wine glass with ice to experience the full flavours, otherwise mix it with tonic and orange for a refreshing drink.

See the full range at

Sydney Awards the Best

In its 40th year, the Sydney International Wine Competition showcased another range of stellar wines from Australia, New Zealand and Europe. The wines were reviewed both on their own merit and also how they pair with a range of food, including seafood, meat, vegetable and sweet dishes.

The results saw Australian wineries take home 166 trophies and medals and New Zealand wineries win 77. For Australia, South Australia saw the most success with the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Adelaide Hills and McLaren Vale all performing strongly across the board. Australia also took out the Sydney International Wine Competition Best Wine which was awarded to the 2018 Jacob’s Creek Lyndale Chardonnay.

Once again, New Zealand dominated the sauvignon blanc category with Marlborough finishing as the most successful region of the awards with 52 trophies and medals. But the winner for best pinot noir which has seen a recent dominance by New Zealand, was this year won by Coles Liquor’s 2018 Ballewindi Pinot Noir from Balnarring in the Mornington Peninsula.

The title for the most-awarded wineries at this year’s competition was shared by three wineries, each winning nine medals; Australia’s De Bortoli Wines and New Zealand’s Yealands Wine Group and Saint Clair Family Estate.
Tapanappa wines steal the show.

Top of the Class

The Adelaide Hills’ Croser family celebrated 40 years of their renowned Tiers vineyard – one of Australia’s pioneering cool-climate chardonnay plantings – late last year. In true Brian Croser style, the ‘quadrigesimum’ was commemorated with 20 or so of the country’s leading wine industry voices, including Huon Hooke, Toni Paterson MW and Nick Ryan, as well as Jancis Robinson MW, partaking in an open forum debate focused on the current state of wine media. The key takeaway? Wine scores are important but not as vital as genuinely descriptive, emotive language.

The debate followed a retrospective of Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay from 2005 to 2018 lined up against some benchmark chardonnays from Sonoma and Burgundy. Unsurprisingly, the Tiers stole the show, with the 2015 and 2017 vintages in particular showing faultless precision and complexity – immaculate representations of modern Australian chardonnay.

The 2018 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay (A$90) is available now via

Award Winner

In the October/November 2019 issue of Gourmet Traveller WINE we asked new subscribers why they would like to win a collection of wines sourced from GT WINE’s Winemaker of the Year winners and finalists.

Our favourite answer came from Geoff Parkinson of Kambah, ACT who saw similarities to another award he was vying for: “Well, I'm working hard (my wife says too hard) at being the 2019 wine drinker of the year – seems like a match made in vinous heaven.”

Visit our subscriptions page for this issue's prize.