Court of Master Sommeliers – New Certified Exam announced - Wed 26/5
Embargoed until 6pm AEST Monday 27 July, 2015.
Presenting partners, Gourmet Traveller WINE and the Australian Liquor Industry’s the drinks association today announced Bentley Restaurant + Bar in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sydney’s CBD as the winner of the prestigious Australia’s Wine List of the Year for 2015.
According to Chairman of Judges, Peter Forrestal, “the winner of this year’s Australia’s Wine List of the Year was decided by the narrowest possible margin which suggested keen competition with Melbourne’s Attica in Ripponlea, and Sydney’s Jonah’s Whale Beach, and Est. The winner – Bentley Restaurant + Bar has been a highly competitive finalist in these Awards since they first entered them back in 2008. Nick Hildebrandt has long been acknowledged as one of the most talented sommeliers in the country and this year he is at the top of his game. His list is dazzling and innovative, balancing cutting edge producers with the wine industry’s established superstars: offering a drop to tantalise all palates.”
As the sommelier responsible for the winning list, Nick Hildebrandt is therefore winner of the Judy Hirst Award, presented in memory of the inspirational woman who established these awards. Certainly, Hildebrandt’s knowledge, experience, insight and professionalism has produced a list of which Sydney can be quietly proud.
Established in 1994, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards has an outstanding local and international expert panel to maintain integrity and independence plus add a global perspective. Headed by leading wine writer and commentator Peter Forrestal, the long-term panel of over 30 includes internationally respected Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine such as Brian Julyan MS, founder of The Court of Master Sommeliers and CEO Europe, past World’s Best Sommelier – Gerard Basset OBE, MW, MS, MBA, Cameron Douglas MS, Toni Paterson MW, Bob Campbell MW, James Lawther MW, Andrew Caillard MW, plus leading wine writers and commentators Jeni Port, Mike Bennie, Huon Hooke and Peter Bourne to name but a few. Depth of industry knowledge also comes with the inclusion of the President of Sommeliers Australia each year and the previous year’s winner of Australia’s Wine List of the Years as judges.
Again over 300 restaurants, clubs, pubs, hotels were successful in this year’s awards with a record 68% achieving the highest ratings of two and three glasses. Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards founder Rob Hirst, Chairman of Fine Wine Partners welcomed long term awards partner Gourmet Traveller WINE and new partner the Australian Liquor Industry’s drinks association. He congratulated all entrants on the quality of this year’s lists and commented on changes in 2015, “The most popular award category now is Wine by the Glass, with almost 50% of lists entered for this award. Other growth categories were Best Matching of Food and Wine and Best Listing of Australian wines. It was pleasing also to see an increase in entries for Best Listing of a Region’s Wines – encouraging to have more restaurants showcasing their local wine producers wines whilst at the same time catering for the growing number of Australian consumers who have made the step from – wine by variety to – wine by variety by region”.
Judy Sarris, Editor, Gourmet Traveller WINE added, “Over the years, it’s become apparent to me that wine lists are amazing barometers for trends in wine. A decade ago, who would have thought we’d have lists containing so many unusual grape varieties or the abundance of intriguing local wines speaking of specific soils or from extreme single sites. Favoured regions continue to shift with places such as Tasmania, Orange, Beechworth and the Adelaide Hills hitting their straps as the wine scene in Australia continues to evolve. It is true our sommeliers are often the first to source the most exciting wines available, providing us all with a chance to further our vinous education and enjoyment. This is one of the many reasons, that once a year we celebrate their achievements through these Awards.
Sandra Przibilla, CEO, the drinks association said, “We are thrilled to now be a partner with Gourmet Traveller WINE in these prestigious and long-running awards. We believe strongly that the more educated and informed the trade is, the better quality service and experience they can provide to their customers. Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards encourages the trade to reflect on their work and continue to develop their skills year on year, and it is this drive for achievement that makes them so successful. Celebrating and rewarding our hard-working industry is something we are passionate about and our sincere congratulations to all successful entrants this year”.
The Victorian ascendancy of the past few years has given way to a much broader spread of awards throughout the country – with Queensland’s Cru Bar + Cellar our Best Wine Bar; Tasmania’s the Source Restaurant winning Best Beer List; South Australia’s Fino at Seppeltsfield Best New Restaurant List, fermentAsian again Best Country List, and the ever-present Appellation Best Listing of a Region’s wine. Margaret River’s Settlers Tavern was the popular choice of Gourmet Traveller Wine’s Readers and won Best Listing of Australian wines as well while Print Hall (Best Aperitif List) and Rockpool Bar & Grill, Perth (Best List of Wines by the Glass for the second time) showed that the heavy hitters don’t only live on the Eastern Seaboard.
Apart from providing the finalists in a raft of awards, New South Wales excelled with Best Food & Wine Matching (Amanda Yallop and Peter Gilmore in blissful synch); Best Digestif List (Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney); Best Pub Restaurant List (the iconic Four in Hand) and Best Hotel Restaurant List (Jonah’s). Melbourne’s push was led by their stellar restaurant, Attica, and RACV City Club (third time winner of Best Club List) while Spice Temple repeated its win two years ago of Best Small List (100) and Merricote followed up its success with Best Small List (50).
Regional winners were Aubergine (ACT) and the Source Restaurant (Tas), both for the third time; fermentAsian (SA) and Attica (Victoria) both for the second time; with Cru Bar + Cellar (Queensland) and Lalla Rookh Wine Store (WA) first time winners.
“The awards are not just about winning,” says Chairman of Judges, Peter Forrestal. “It’s also about revealing places with lists that excite and delight their customers. I saw three wonderful small lists where the sommeliers really got it – Bucci in Brisbane, Nomad in Surry Hills, Sailors Thai in the Rocks. Check them out together with all our winners!’
Winners will be listed at winelistoftheyear.com.au on July 27th . Full results and entrant reviews will be available via Aug/Sept 2015 Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine on sale July 29th and at www.gourmettravellerwine.com +via the new Gourmet Traveller WINE ‘Wine’ App, launched today.
Full list of winners below.