New openings, top drops and wine-fuelled events and experiences.
Feb 20, 2023 4:15am
We’re all about clinking glasses, sampling fun new beverages and celebrating local winemakers, producers and bar owners – so we’ve created a news wrap dedicated to all things drinks. From a laneway bar serving natural wine and Middle Eastern snacks to the new release of a 100-year-old tawny from an iconic Barossa winery, here’s your drinks news for this month.
New Openings & Experiences
Beau, a new laneway wine bar and deli spin-off by the Nomad crew, is finally opening this week after months of anticipation. Located a mere 200 metres from Nomad in Surry Hills, Beau Bar is tucked away in the back section of the venue, with entry via Foster Street. Beau Bar’s drinks list will champion Australian wines, spirits and beer and there’ll be a 300-strong wine list by the bottle, plus a by-the-glass list of mostly minimal intervention and natural wines. As for food, expect Middle Eastern-inspired snacks and luxe seafood displays housed in a moody, handsome space.
Dive head first into the world of biodynamics at Byron Bay’s hibachi grill and wine bar, Moonlight. Here, sommelier Sean Duncan has created
a niche wine list to champion biodynamic wine. Expect drops by the likes of Hunter Valley’s Krinklewood, South Australia’s Yangarra, and Western Australia’s Cullen Wines.
Barossa Valley, SA
Raising the standard for cellar door tastings, Barossa winery Yalumba has launched a program of immersive experiences. These range from the two-hour Yalumba Unlocked experience ($75) to a four-hour Icons of Yalumba experience ($300) that makes its way through the winery with flagship wines in hand.
There’s something special happening at The Nest Creative Space in Waterloo, Sydney. In an intimate tea salon, Cara Chen provides escapism in the form of a traditional Chinese gongfu tea ceremony. Under her gentle guidance, a 21-step process unfolds. Chen shares Wu Wei wisdom as she prepares three specialist high altitude teas. In a nutshell, it’s all about mindfulness and the art of embracing flow.
Melbourne, Vic. | 25 February
As though you need another reason to raise a glass, the annual Prosecco Festival returns this weekend. Get ready to sip and celebrate bubbly in the lush grounds of Melbourne’s Abbotsford Convent. This year, the fair has organised a pop-up prosecco and spritz bar, food trucks and more than 40 different proseccos to try. Sample Italian drops by the likes of Calneggia, Babo and Cester Camillo alongside locally made bubbles from Pizzini, Dal Zotto, See Saw, Box Grove and Vinea Marson.
Tumbarumba, NSW | 25-26 February
The precision and purity coming displayed by Tumbarumba wines makes it one of the most underrated and exciting regions in Australia. The cool climate pinot noir, chardonnay, sparklings and emerging varietals are best tasted with a view of the vineyards from which they came. Hit Tumbarumba this February for Tumbafest which is held on the banks of the quaint little town’s river.
Tasmania | 3-5 March
Tasmania’s Southern Open Vineyards Weekend will take place in March, combining warm Tassie hospitality with a series of one-off events, dinners and tastings on private properties. It’s a great chance to meet wine producers from Derwent Valley, Coal River Valley, Huon Valley and D’Entrecasteaux Channel, many of whom don’t have cellar doors.
Sydney, NSW | 12-19 April
$1650 for 100ml
Iconic Barossa winery Seppeltsfield has released its 100-year-old tawny for the year. It’s the 46th consecutive 100 Year Old Para Vintage Tawny to be released from the 1878 Centennial Cellar and has spent 100 years maturing in oak. Expect terrific balance and length, led by blood orange acidity; cocoa powder, fresh tobacco, ginger spice and dusty cedar character.
$105 for 700ml
Croissant rum now exists thanks to a new collaboration between Brix and Bourke Street Bakery. The limited-edition rum has matured for three years in American oak stout casks and infused with banana bread, figs, lemon peel, pear skin and, of course, Bourke Street Bakery almond croissants. The result: a bold rum with bright citrus aromas and a buttery soft palate of soft oak, vanilla and warm spices.
$25 for 4 x 250ml
The no- and low- alcohol landscape just keeps getting better. The An-marabula (Native Peach) Bellini is the result of a partnership between Indigenous bush foods specialist Kakadu Kitchen and Sydney’s ALTD Spirits. The canned twist on the Italian classic is made with an-marabula (a rare cousin of the Kakadu plum), which is ethically harvested by Kakadu Kitchen owner and Bininj man Ben Tyler and his extended family on Murumburr country in the heart of Kakadu National Park.
$175 for 500ml
While sipping from the Yarra isn’t advised, this is as close as you’ll want to get. Melbourne CBD gin distillery Little Lon Distilling Co has launched Yarra Strength Navy Gin, a spirit that speaks of the Yarra/Birrarung River. In 2019, owner Brad Wilson was awarded City of Melbourne’s small business and social enterprise grants to help fund his vision to make a gin of place. He and distiller Taylor Spelt did so using botanicals from the river’s edge and proofed with water from the Yarra. The release is limited to 500 bottles.
$84.95 for 1.5l
What’s old is new again. First we saw fancy wine goon sacks that were a far cry from Fruity Lexia, now Australia has fancy boxed spirits. Brisbane-based drinks company Mandatory Spirit Co, has launched bag-in-a-box gin and vodka in a push for sustainability, claiming that its chic cask packaging (over glass bottles) reduces their carbon footprint, from the packaging itself to the transportation. The gin is juniper and lemon mertyle forward with notes of orange and coriander, while the vodka is smooth with hints of burnt caramel.
As far as wine preservation gadgets go, Coravin is essential arsenal for serious imbibers. The latest release is the Coravin x Keith Haring Timeless Six+ Artist Edition, an homage to the late creative whose pop art exploded across New York City’s graffiti scene in the 1980s.