Congratulations to est on winning Australia’s Wine List of the Year for 2019.
Owned by Justin Hemmes’ Merivale group, Sydney’s est delivers fine-dining in a grand heritage dining room.
The restaurant’s wine list is an impressive tome built over the long-term by Merivale Group Sommelier Franck Moreau MS and his team and currently curated by Head Sommelier Bhatia Dheeraj who won the Judy Hirst Award as the sommelier responsible for the winning list.
According to the awards Chairman of Judges Peter Forrestal, the key to est’s win this year was its consistency and quality over the past decade.
“Since 2009, est has been a finalist in the Awards – placed in the top six – and it has previously been within a hair’s breadth of winning,” he said.
“The list owes much to the work of Franck Moreau MS and Merivale sommeliers, Emmanuel Cadieu, Jean Charles Mahe and Adrian Filiuta MS who have worked over the years to refine the cellar so that a superlative international and Australian collection is more clearly focused and each bottle demands its place.”
Bhatia Dheeraj (above, accepting the award), who is charged with the responsibility of presenting the wine list, first honed his skills at Raffles Hotel Singapore and three Michelin starred Robuchon au Dome in Macau before arriving in Australia.
In an interesting loop the very first winner of Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards was Cicada in 1994 – a restaurant created by long-time est chef Peter Doyle who recently moved into a mentoring role for the Merivale group.
Under the guidance of Moreau MS another of his team also won a national award: Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List was awarded to Berts at the Newport Arms Hotel – the list curated by Andres Aragon Perez.
Enabling a growing number of sommeliers around the country to further their careers, Moreau MS was the first sommelier living and working in Australia to be awarded the title of Master Sommelier in 2011.
Since then he has been instrumental in facilitating the acclaimed Court of Master Sommeliers education program in Australia.
Brian Julyan MS, founder and president of the Court of Master Sommeliers and the International Co-Chair of Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards acknowledged the world standard of Australia’s wine lists today.
The judging panel, a 34-strong group of highly respected local and international judges, includes Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, wine judges, educators, commentators and previous award winners.
“It is the nature, calibre and global recognition and respect of these independent judges that sets these Awards apart,” said award founder Rob Hirst.
Launched in 1993 by Rob and Judy Hirst and Tucker Seabrook, Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards were created to recognise and reward the hard work and talent of sommeliers as well as the enormous investment in time and resources by business owners to develop quality wine lists and cellars.
Hirst reported a record year for entries again.
“The most popular award category this year remains Best Wine by the Glass, with preservation technology such as Coravin making this a perfect vehicle for offering premium wines to consumers,” he said. “This was followed again by Best Matching of Food and Wine – reflecting the ever-closer liaison between sommeliers and chefs.
“Showing both consumer interest and sommelier desire to showcase the beauty of Australian wines, it was pleasing to see the strength of both Best Listing of Australian Wines and Best Listing of a Regions Wines categories this year.”
Awards Consumer Media Partner for the last decade, Judy Sarris, Editor of Gourmet Traveller WINE saluted Australia’s sommeliers: “We have watched as, over the years, the best wine lists have evolved magnificently, allowing us to take all manner of vinous adventures.
“At the same time, these lists give us a fascinating indication of trends among drinkers and winemakers alike. Australian sommeliers can be proud of all they have achieved.”
“The Drinks Association is thrilled to support Australia’s Wine List of Year,” added CEO Georgia Lennon. “As the Trade Communications Partner of the event, we look forward to featuring the winners in our magazine, Drinks Trade. Drinks Trade is the go-to publication for Australia’s on and off-trade and keeping them informed is key to its success.
“These awards are a valuable acknowledgement of the amazing talent in our industry and I congratulate all the winners.”
Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards thanked its Media Partners Gourmet Traveller WINE and Drinks Association, Major Partners Riedel glassware, Vintec wine cabinets and Wine Australia as well as all other Award Partners and supporters who made the awards possible.
NATIONAL AWARD WINNER – 2019 Wine List of The Year – est, Sydney & Judy Hirst Award Bhatia Dheeraj
Best Wine List ACT – Mezzalira
Best Wine List NSW – est
Best Wine List NT – Stone House
Best Wine List QLD – Otto Brisbane
Best Wine List SA – The Barn Steakhouse Mount Gambier
Best Wine List TAS – Terrace Launceston
Best Wine List VIC – Cutler & Co
Best Wine List WA – Settlers Tavern Margaret River
NATIONAL CLASS OF TRADE OR CATEGORY
Best City Restaurant Wine List – est, NSW
Best Country Restaurant Wine List – The Barn Steakhouse Mount Gambier, SA
Best Hotel Restaurant Wine List – Berts, NSW
Best Pub Restaurant Wine List – Mayfair Lane Pub & Dining Room, WA
Best Club Restaurant Wine List – The Newcastle Club, NSW
Best Wine Bar List – Dear Sainte Éloise, NSW
Best New List – The Tony Hitchin Award – Bistecca, NSW
Best Small List (Max 50 Wines) – Congress, VIC
Best Small List (Max 100 Wines) – Institut Polaire, TAS
Best Food & Wine Matching List – Momofuku Seiobo, NSW
Best List Of Wine By The Glass – Bentley, NSW
Best Beer List – The Avoca, VIC Best Non-Alcoholic Drinks List – Attica, VIC
Best Sparkling Wine List – Melbourne Supper Club, VIC
Best Champagne List – Quay, NSW
Best Aperitif List – Banksii Vermouth Bar & Bistro, NSW
Best Digestif List – Bentley, NSW
Best Listing Of A Region’s Wine – Stillwater Launceston, TAS
Best Listing Of Australian Wines – Cafe Sydney, NSW
Best Listing Of ACT Wines – The Boat House, ACT
Best Listing Of NSW Wines – The Newcastle Club, NSW
Best Listing Of QLD Wines – Cru Bar + Cellar, QLD
Best Listing Of SA Wines – Republic Norwood, SA
Best Listing Of TAS Wines – Terrace Launceston, TAS
Best Listing Of VIC Wines – Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel, VIC
Best Listing Of WA Wines – Settlers Tavern Margaret River, WA
Gourmet Traveller Wine Readers’ Choice – Muse, ACT
Sommeliers Choice Award – Sixpenny, NSW