Natural wine is on its way to the top, and for good reason. It’s a low-tech, low-intervention way of making wine, with no added sulphites or preservatives. It’s the grape coming through, speaking for itself.
More venues are picking up these beauties, so here’s a list of where in Sydney you can get acquainted with the natural way – and the ideal food to soak it up with.
1. Ume Burger
Head down to the waterfront at Barangaroo to discover six Good Food Hat-winning Kerby Craig (along with business partner Regina Jose)’s latest project: Japanese-style Burgers. From pork katsu, to a killer cheeseburger with rice vinegar pickles, the burgs are served on a soft Hokkaido-style bun. Their wine list features one or two natural wines, including a petillant naturel (or pet-nat), a type of sparkling which is bottled before the end of the primary fermentation. At the moment you can pick up a glass of the Ngeringa Pet-Nat from Adelaide Hills, a crazy and aromatic blend of five grapes from winemaker Erinn Klein.
Belles Hot Chicken has become a firm Sydney favourite since opening up two stores (Barangaroo, and Glebe precinct Tramsheds) here last year. Morgan McGlone first developed his love for natural wine as a young chef in France, and for Nashville Hot Chicken while working under one of the United States best chefs at Husk in Nashville.
He has, along with Miranda Campbell, created a beautiful mix of the two. Their lists offer sparkling, white, rose and red wines – along with orange, which is created when white grape skins are left in contact with their juice (it’s like the opposite of rose). Belles sells only natural wines, so it’s a great place to start your love affair.
If you’re feeling fancy, ask to see their baller list, which features wines of up to $300 a bottle from Australia, France, or Italy. It’ll be worth it.
3. The Dolphin
This Surry Hills gem is going from strength to strength. It has an incredible wine list, curated by sommelier James Hird including a rather yummy Syrah (by both the affordable glass and by the minimalist, sexy bottle) by Tom Shobbrook, a standout name in natural winemaking in the Barossa.
Feeds include thin crust pizza, and in an exciting new move, they have introduced their “proper sandwiches”: thick cut artisan bread, filled with delicious combinations such as roast pork and crackling, eggplant parmigiana and smoked trout. Catch these stunners from noon until three during weekdays, or until sold out.
4. Bar Brosé
This Darlinghurst space is headed by chef Analiese Gregory – who has worked as exec Sous Chef at Quay and also at The Ledbury in London and Mugaritz in San Sebastian – and has kept people talking since it opened.
The menu is short and sweet, with oysters, palm hearts and crispy lamb ribs (to name a few) whilst the wine list is 16 pages of delightful choices – both of wines and spirits.
Grab their Sigurd Rosé, a light yet grippy delight which harks of honey and raspberries.
This charming little bar, tucked away in Surry Hills, focuses on artisnal Italian producers. The name stems refers to the year in which the greatest vintage of Falernian wine was produced. Wine can be bought by the bottle in the wine shop and can be drunk leisurely at one of the 24 seats inside the wine bar, or you can drink by the glass if you aren’t sure of what’s your go. Glasses on offer include the typically Sicilian Catarratto white, a Rosato blended with Nero D’Avola and Syrah and a number of lesser seen red grapes – Albarossa, Lacrima and Aglianico.
The food on offer includes salumi, pork and veal ragú with orecchiette and Italian cheeses. Need we say more?
If you don’t know Mary’s, you better. Tucked down Mary Street in Newtown, Mary’s is a haven for burger fans – you can get a cheese or mushy burger, add bacon or double up and it comes on a soft bun with hot fries. If chicken is more your thing, check out their bird options – and don’t forget the mash and gravy, hot and velvety, buttery potatoes served with deliciously savoury and salty gravy.
The drinks on offer include a fun cocktail list, a number of whiskies, gins and bottle beers, as well as a rotating wines by the glass serving what they’ve got at the moment. Options include more from our friend Tom Shobbrook, and exciting whites from France. If you wanna go all out, you can check out their bottle list.
Like with Belles, or Ume, it’s easy to eschew wine with heavier and more fatty foods, but the lightness of natural works incredibly well in balancing out the food.
Main photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons