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A restaurant in a beach house has come out trumps against big name Australian dining establishments, taking out the top gong in the prestigious Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards 2011.
Pilu at Freshwater has won the award for best wine list in Australia with sommelier Lara Caraturo taking out the Judy Hirst award for creating the winning list. The restaurant which overlooks the ocean at Manly, offers a Sardinian inspired menu in homage to the heritage of owner and chef Giovanni Pilu. The wine list – a journey through the best vineyards in Italy and NSW with key selections from other regions – is a perfect foil for Pilu’s cuisine.
The 28 strong panel of judges from Australia, UK, Europe, NZ and US were impressed by the clarity, depth and focus of Pilu’s list and by the standard of Australian wine lists overall. Chairman of Judges Peter Forrestal says the quality of our lists has gone through the roof. “Our fine dining wine lists rank with the best in Europe. Across the board, we are putting together much better lists than you would generally find in France or Italy – I’d go so far as to say we whip them.”
Established in 1994, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards presented by leading wine distributor, Fine Wine Partners and Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine offer the most highly prized accolades for Australian wines lists. Over 380 restaurants, bars, clubs and hotels entered their lists in this year’s awards; a 15% increase on last year’s entries.
Key partners Rob Hirst, Chairman of Fine Wine Partners and Judy Sarris, Editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE with support of major sponsor Mirvac have expanded the awards this year offering categories for digestifs, aperitifs, beers and wines by the glass.
“Since our launch 17 years ago, a key driver of the Awards has been to bring to light restaurants offering consumers a superb wine experience that compliments their dining. We want to reward the sheer hard work, commitment and investment required to develop quality wine lists,” says Rob Hirst.
Judy Sarris adds while there will always be a place for the impressive encyclopedic wine lists, the growing trend towards casual dining has lead to more small, perfectly formed lists achieving glass ratings. “Either way, the diner wins as our sommeliers continue to take the work out of discovering new and interesting wines from home and further afield.”
Once again winning wine lists were spread around the country with Victorian wins including Best Wine Bar – Melbourne Supper Club, Best Food & Wine Matching – Jacques Reymond, Best Digestif List – Acqua e Vino, Best Country Restaurant – Royal Mail Hotel, Best Cafe/Brasserie – European, Best Beer List – Healesville Hotel. New South Wales was awarded Best Small List – Blancharu, Best Restaurant – Pilu at Freshwater, Best By the Glass List – Glass, Best International Hotel Restaurant – Galileo, Best Aperitif List – Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney. West Australia’s Settler’s Tavern collected their third win for Best Pub Restaurant with the new Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth winning Best New List. QLD took out two awards this year, Best Regional List – Ortiga and Best Club Restaurant was awarded for a second year to the Brisbane Club.
State winners were Rubicon, ACT, Apothecary 1878, SA, Me Wah, TAS, Aria Brisbane, QLD, Pilu at Freshwater, NSW, Royal Mail Hotel, VIC and Rockpool Bar & Grill Perth, WA The Gourmet Traveller WINE Readers’ Choice Award for 2011 went to Aria – Sydney, NSW