Ed Loveday, co-owner and co-sommelier at Sydney's Bar Brosé, walks us through the line-up.
It's sad to say it, but these days there really aren't many places in Sydney where you can go for a decent bottle of wine and something to eat when it gets late. We'd often be left scratching our heads when a table of diners at Acme, our restaurant in Rushcutters Bay, finished dinner and asked us, "Where can we go for another bottle of wine like the one we just had?"
So here it is, Bar Brosé, a natural wine bar with a late licence. It's a flexible experience, though. We open from 5pm and you can come early for a glass before pushing on elsewhere, book a table with friends for dinner, or swing through late for dessert and some cocktails.
Yes, the wines are "natural", and depending upon what camp you come from, maybe that's a dirty word. There's still something for everyone, though. The list runs the full gamut from conventional and familiar to mind-bending intergalactic juice. All wines are made with a metric tonne of love and consideration for the soil they come from, and for the consumer that drinks them.
To start: house Spritz
There's more to spritzing than just Aperol. In fact, there's an infinite universe of spritzing possibilities just waiting for you. We're pretty into the organic Rondò Aperitivo from Alto Adige. It sits somewhere between Aperol and Campari, both in bitterness and alcohol content. Our current house Spritz is a nip of Rondo, topped with a dry and neutral prosecco (letting the Rondo do most of the talking), a splash of sparkling water and a sprig of Thai basil for an aromatic lift. Pure party-starting stuff - sound the vuvuzela.
Next up: NV Puffeney Arbois "Cuvée Sacha" Savagnin-Chardonnay, Jura, France
Jura wine veteran Jacques Puffeney has been dubbed the "Pope of Jura", synonymous both with the region and its style of intentionally oxidised whites. Sadly Puff Daddy has recently retired, but we were lucky enough to snag the last-ever 24 bottles of CuvéeSacha to land on Australian shores. The process of exposing the wine to oxygen gives it a moreish nuttiness and savouriness. Oxy wines will complement pretty much any food, but for a three-point fade-away team it with a one of Analiese Gregory's gougères. They're made with Comté cheese from the same region. Get at it while you still can.
Still thirsty? 2013 Brendan Tracey Pineau d'Aunis, Loire Valley, France
One of the tastiest bottles of red I've had recently. Pineau d'Aunis is a variety grown almost exclusively in the Loire Valley. It's not easy to find. On top of an already declining production (tighter AOC guidelines have forced producers to favour the likes of gamay and cabernet franc), there is only a minuscule amount imported into Australia. Winemaker Brendan Tracey grew up on the northern Californian hippie trail before moving to the Loire in his late teens. He's spent time making wine with local legend Thierry Puzelat and their friendship is evident in their wines. Brendan's pineau d'Aunis is a total dream. It's deceptively light in colour with vivid bright cherries and raspberries on the nose and a touch of white pepper spice. You could also serve it slightly chilled on a shorts day.
To finish: Heiwa Shuzo Yuzushu
This is the ultimate "Clear all history" button for your palate, made with equal parts junmai sake and yuzu juice. The yuzus are juiced with their skins on, resulting in a refreshingly sweet, tart and bitter drink. It's long been our go-to post-meal splash at Acme, and we've got bottles on hand at Brosé too. At 7.5 per cent alcohol it also leaves you plenty of room for other activities.
Bar Brosé, open Wed-Sat 5pm until late, Sun from 3pm, 231A Victoria St, Darlinghurst, NSW, barbrose.com.au
See our 'On the house' features with Dave Kerr from Melbourne cocktail bar The Beaufort, or with Banjo Harris Plane, co-owner and sommilieur of Melbourne's Bar Liberty.