Bennelong restaurant in the Sydney Opera House has transformed its wine program to a completely Australian focused offering with the exception of Champagne.
The restaurant had previously had about 35 percent internationals on its wine lists.
The move will be welcomed by many Australian winemakers who believe local wines are under-represented on wine lists in Australian restaurants and bars.
“Bennelong is housed within the most iconic building in Australia and is a showcase for the very best of Australian produce, it is only fitting that we continue this celebration of Australia through the wine list,” head sommelier Seamus Brandt says.
Some of the notable Australian wines including 1991 Leo Buring Leonay Riesling, 2010 Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir, 1990 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, 1998 Mount Pleasant Maurice O’Shea Shiraz, 1976 Penfolds Grange Hermitage Shiraz and 1977 Lindemans Vintage Port.
Asked which Aussie wines are exciting him, Seamus said, “Canberra district, Gundagai and Tumbarumba are incredibly exciting, as well as all through Central Victoria and Great Southern in Western Australia.
“By no means are they unheard of, but the freshness and energy of the wines emerging from these areas are mind-blowing.
“The wine list will feature the best of Australian wines: from some of Australia’s favourite labels through to wines from lesser-known boutique wineries. The list is contemporary and wide ranging, showcasing Australia’s diverse, high quality wine production and price points across the spectrum.
“With over 320 labels, it is a measure of where we are at with Australian wine.”
To celebrate the approach, Seamus and the team will help match Bennelong’s a la carte menu with the new by the glass offering. Example pairings include:
Crispy eggplant, silken tofu, smoked bacon, XO crackers.
2017 Frankland Estate Smith Cullum Riesling, Frankland River.
White turnip, salted lime aioli, green herbs & anchovy.
2013 Mount Mary Triolet Sauvignon Blanc Blend, Yarra Valley.
Raspberry ripple ice cream.
2008 Coates Touriga Port, Langhorne Creek.
Also look out for the extensive list of fortified wines by the glass to enjoy with Bennelong’s signature desserts like the chocolate cake and Lamington.