Wine, wonderful wine

WINE bars seem to be making a comeback around the town at the moment. Expect a few more to open their doors over the next 12 months as we see the world of wine explode into the hands of punters screaming for more variety and willing to explore the world of food and wine. Here are a few WA wine bars to have a look at while you are out and about sampling some of the good oil.

Court Wine Bar

84 Beaufort Street

Perth 9227 1200

The Court Wine Bar has something about it that other wine bars in Perth just haven’t been able to match quite yet. It could be the dynamic duo Phil and Trayn Andonovski, who host everyone who pops in for a glass as good friends. It could be the rustic atmosphere and outstanding wine list, or it could be the history of the place that seems to draw you in to its confines and not let you out – or is that history simply mistaken for another bottle of wine?

The Court Wine Bar is something of an institution among people within the wine trade as well as providing a second home for many others who enjoy a good glass of wine. The wine by the glass list sits at around 30 and changes when something pretty good gets put under Phil’s and Trayn’s noses. As for the quality control, not much goes to waste, however bottles remain open for about two days.

After that, good use is made of the leftovers in the kitchen. If you ask for a recommendation you will not be disappointed. Both Phil and Trayn have been around for quite a while, and the wine on offer will match that experience.

Phil and Trayn’s top picks by the glass are:

Gilberts Riesling 2000;

Riddoch Coonawarra Chardonnay 1998;

Fermoy Estate Semillon 1999; and

Hamilton Burton Old Vine Shiraz Grenache 1997.

Subiaco Wine Room

Rokeby Road

Subiaco 9388 0222

One of the new additions to the wine bar scene is the Subiaco Wine Room, which opened last year. Andrew Charleston spent months, if not years, researching and visiting wine bars across the country to help in his quest to set up the Subi Wine Room. It was while working in the wine industry that Andrew began to notice a gap in the Western Australian market for those who wanted a little more from there glass of wine. Andrew noticed that people were not only experimenting more in what they were drinking but were also trading up. These days, clients want a glass of ‘methode champenoise’ not any old glass of fizz, for example.

“We wanted to create and build a bar,” Andrew said, “with not just a focus on wine but also with cocktails and our extensive spirits list. We also wanted a focus on food that complements wine and encourage that arrangement with tapas plates and through the restaurant.”

The Wine Room has more than 485 wines on the wine list and is able to support over 60 wines by the glass using the argon gas system, which breaths life into a bottle of wine for about two weeks. This system is fantastic for not only wastage but to be able to show people wines at the top end by the glass.

Andrew’s top five recommendations:

Penfolds Bin 128 Kalimna Shiraz;

D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 1998;

Cape Mentelle Zinfandel 1999;

Rosemount GSM 1998; and

Penfolds Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 1999.

Wino’s Wine Bar

85 Bussell Highway

Margaret River 9758 7155

A wine bar in a wine town ?

“After three or so years of preparation and planning, Wino’s finally got of the ground in Margaret River about two months ago,” owner Mike Gadd explained.

“It wasn’t an easy task in getting it all to come together but ultimately it was something I felt Margaret River needed. I feel that we can become a little introspective in our outlook on wines from the region and I saw Wino’s as an opportunity to provide an independent forum to show case other wines.”

The region has a number dedicated and educated wine followers, from the generation of people who have grown up with wine around them, to winemaker, weekenders and visiting tourists, so to provide them with an alternative or even a comparison is important for the region.

It is hard enough to get variety to try in Perth let alone Margaret River, so enabling people to explore is exciting.

At Wino’s there are about 20 wines by the glass that Mike rotates frequently. Often he changes the list weekly as stocks of certain wines maybe limited. Mike has about 150 other wines to chose from the list he and his partners have put together. Wino’s has some passionate and knowledgeable staff, so next time you are down that way pop in and ask for a recommendation outside of the square you normally drink in.

Mike Gadd’s top six recommendations:

Huia Pinot Gris Marlborough 2000;

Woody Nook Sauvignon Blanc 2000;

Evans & Tate Barrique 61 Cabernet Merlot 1999;

Coriole Sangiovese 1998;

Castello di Farnetella 1998 Sangiovese (compare); and

Plantagenet Cabernet Sauvignon 1996.

Grape Skin Wine Bar

209 William Street

Northbridge 9227 9596

Open since last October, Grape Skin has set about establishing a wine bar culture in Northbridge. Bruce Stewart ex-Walters Wine Bar Melbourne and ex-Globe Wine Bar in Perth, has invested his experience into firmly establishing Grape Skin as a relaxing enjoyable venue where you can enjoy a great glass of wine in the hub of Northbridge’s atmosphere. The concept of Grape Skin is for patrons to enjoy food and wine.

“When we first opened we had a lot of wines open by the glass, yet it revolved around the usual suspects,” Bruce says.

“The food has also been adapted to create more of a grazing situation, people can relax after work and have a glass of wine and ‘graze’ over tapas style plate or share a gourmet pizza.

“We are really looking at attracting people into the wine bar who want to have a glass of wine in a relaxed environment that is hassle free.”

Bruce says patrons can use the extensive range available through the bottle shop to enjoy while sitting in the comfort of the wine bar. There is an added corkage charge, but Bruce makes the corkage attractive enough to warrant a look through the range in the bottle shop.

Bruce Stewart’s top five recommendations by the glass:

Arlewood Semillon 1999;

Nepenthe Unwooded Chardonnay 2000;

Bethany Grenache 1999;

A-Mano Primativo 1999; and Fonty’s Pool Chardonnay 2000.

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