Mike Bennie (@mikerism101), our resident Wine Guy here at Loqules, is constantly travelling the world’s finest vineyards as a freelance wine and drinks writer, journalist and presenter. He’s an active wine judge in Australia and overseas and a co-founder of the artisan and sustainability-focused Rootstock Sydney food and wine festival.
Mike has a passion for chasing down interesting, unique, boutique, artisan wine producers, focusing on great wines of the world and the loosely-defined category of ‘natural wines’ from biodynamic and organic vineyards. As one of our Loqules, we asked him to give us the scoop on his current top 3 wine bars around the world and what we should try when we visit.
1. SYDNEY – 10 William Street
They just get everything so very, very right. From a chimera wine list that traipses the global landscape of exceptional, artisan natural wine, through to blockbuster rarities that wine geeks drool over, and back to stuff that’s just plain meant to be smashed with gusto, the drinks program is pretty much as good as it gets. Tip in the cooking of ace chef Dan Pepperell and you’ve got a perfect storm.
Try: Frank Cornelissen Susucaru – the guys from 10 William St get a private stash of this rare ‘rose’ made from both white and red grapes off the vertiginous, lava hewn slopes of Mount Etna, and in jeroboam size (three litre). It’s sometimes poured by the glass – drink deep.
2. COPENHAGEN – 10 Ved Stranden
Copenhagen is a wealth of crazy good drinking and eating, right at the top of its game, and in the mix there’s a few spots that could fill a slot in a best wine bar list, but the sheer variety of wine, the minimalist cool of the interiors, the effortless charm of the staff and a wine list that is built from the rare, crazy, great wine grower-producers of Europe, makes it top choice.
Try: Christian Tschida Himmel auf Erden – from Illmitz in Austria, Tschida is making a compelling argument to pay closer attention to Austria for its natural wine scene. Sure, there’s already a set doing some pretty wicked things, but Tschida is rising up amongst them. It’s a fine, saline, tangy, nutty wine of great refreshment and crunchy texture.
3. ARBOIS – Le Bistrot des Claquets
It’s in a regional area of France that is usually well off the tourist trail, but for those that love the idiosyncratic, unique wines of Jura, this is a bit of a mecca. There’s a couple of great places to drink the local wines of the area, but Claquets is the down-homey, rustic, low-key bar/diner where the winemakers of the area gather. Short, sharp, hard-to-find wines of the area feature, plus a lunch bistro that feels plucked from local gardens and grown on local farms. Such a good vibe.
Try: Domaine des Miroirs Entre deux Bleus – The wines of Kenjiro Kagami come with a cult-like following and an army of instagrammers, but in the end, they do shine so very, very bright. This savagnin, a typical grape variety of Jura, comes out all nutty and savoury with a brisk, briny tang that whips the palate clean and fresh. So very delicious.
With Loqules, you and a group of friends can hang out with Mike as he guides you through some of the world’s most interesting artisan, rare and curious wines, with some context of the Australian local wine scene amongst some rare wines of the international wine world. Head to Mike’s Personalised Wine Course experience to find out more.