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Five Best Places to Drink Champagne in Sydney with Abhi Ayare


Words by Abhi Ayare


London. Paris. New York. Sydney. Big cities with big budgets and an even bigger thirst for champagne. The culture for champagne isn’t the same as before and is no longer confined

to celebratory sprays on special occasions. While that still persists in some places, you can observe that there’s a deeper connection and wine lovers are taking a genuine interest in knowing and experiencing the little nuances of champagne, be it a non-vintage vs vintage champagne or a Grand Marque vs a Grower house. The Grower champagne burst has taken the world by storm and is definitely a big contributor towards the learning curve of this beautiful beverage.


I am Abhi Ayare, a champagne nerd, taking you on a journey of finding the five best champagne lists in Sydney that you must visit to enjoy a glass at.


 

Quay, Circular Quay


Arguably, top 5 restaurants in Australia for over 20 years, matched with the views of the beautiful Opera house in Sydney, Quay also boasts one of the best champagne lists in Sydney (and perhaps nationwide). The listing of champagnes is beautifully curated and very informative which catches the eye and sparks an interest in the details beyond just the names of the houses like a regular diary entry. A single listing includes the name of the house, the Cuvee, the year the champagne house was founded, dosage level, the Chef de Cave, the Cépage, the village and finally the disgorgement date. Mind blown. The extensive list features F.Savart, Charles Heidsieck and Krug by the glass while the by the bottle listing boasts an outstanding selection of Grower Champagnes like Agrapart, F.Savart, Egly Ouriet, R. Pouillon, Jacques Selosse and Jérôme Prévost. There’s also a special focus on the house of Charles Heidsieck which showcases almost all their cuvees, from the Brut NV to a magnum of 1982 Champagne Charlie.


Champagne I’d drink: NV Egly-Ouriet Blanc de Noirs ‘Les Crayères’, Ambonnay.


 

Rockpool, Sydney CBD


A Bible. That’s what you call this wine list for the institution that Rockpool is. There are over 120 references for just champagne, so just imagine how the rest of the Wine list looks like. The champagne offering for Rockpool proposes depth with vertical or horizontal offerings of most of the champagnes. For example, expect a vertical of five vintages of the prestige Louis Roederer ‘Cristal’ (1990, 1996, 2007 (Magnum), 2008 (Magnum) & 2014) or a horizontal showcase of the producer David Léclapart featuring almost all his cuvees (L’Amature, L’Artiste, L’Apôtre, L’Astre L’Alchimiste).

Champagne I’d drink: 2009 Philipponat ‘Clos des Goisses’, Mont de Mareuil.


 

Bentley, Sydney CBD


Every time I open the beautiful wine list of Bentley, its hard to go past the champagne page. What Bentley offers is truly outstanding: producers you wouldn’t hear about so often but are actual superstars, balanced with versatile options for other producers as well. Grower champagnes is a definite highlight, talk about Timothée Stroebel’s ‘Triptyque’ or 3 different cuvees from Salima & Alain Cordeuil (Altitude 350m, Altitude 320m & Origines) where the Cuvée ‘Clair Obscur’ is available by the glass. To top it off, the champagne list also features probably the best selection from Egly Ouriet, Jérôme Prévost & the ultimate Jacques Selosse featuring the ‘Millésime 1999’ as well as the astonishing Lieux Dits . Mind you, I have enjoyed the Jacques Selosse ‘Initial’ by the glass in the past, so always keep an eye on this ever worldly pours because the Bentley Wine team definitely does not hold back.


Champagne I’d drink: 2018 Cedric Bouchard Roses de Jeanne ‘La Haute Lemble’, Celles-sur-Ource.

 

Jonahs, Whale Beach


Talking about exceptional wine lists of Sydney, Jonah’s in Whale Beach is no exception. Hosting over 1600 overall references, the champagne list is equally amazing which embraces a Methuselah of the Taittinger Brut ‘Reserve’. The list is a good mix of the big houses and grower champagnes, both offering a variety of options. Talk about ‘Salon ‘Cuvée S’ from 2007 and 1999 or an Agrapart ‘Vénus’ from 2009, they have it all. The producer spotlight of the list includes a focus on the house of Bollinger. The Bollinger ‘Special Cuvée’ NV, Rose Brut NV and the ‘La Grande Année’ 2014 is available by the glass whereas 3 vintages of the Bollinger ‘R.D’ (2007, 2004 and a magnum of 2004) are available by the bottle.

Champagne I’d drink: Bruno Paillard ‘Nec Plus Extra’ 1996 (Oger, Chouilly, Verzenay

& Mailly)

 

Aria, Circular Quay


Pretty sunsets overlooking the beautiful Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Aria is another restaurant that has graced not only Sydneysiders but Australia in its entirety. White table cloths, an exquisite menu and an impeccable wine list to match the whole aura of Aria. Three champagnes are available by the glass offering three different facets, the super fresh and zesty NV Lallier R.018, a vibrant Blanc de Blancs as NV Larmandier Bernier ‘Longitude’ and the rich yet focused offering superb depth, Laherte Frères Rosé de Meunier. By the bottle listing is quiet diverse as well with carefully curated selection of three vintages of ever rare Krug (2004, 1998 and 1982) or producers like Benoît Lahaye from Bouzy, Marie Courtin from Polisot or celebrating the 2008 vintage of Gosset’s ‘Celebris’ from Aÿ. You know you’re in for a treat.

Champagne I’d Drink: 2012 Pierre Paillard ‘La Grande Récolte’, Bouzy.


 


About Abhi Ayare

Abhi is a real champagne nerd, loving all things about Champagne. Just at 22 years old, he became the youngest person to achieve the Advanced Sommelier Certificate with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Now preparing for the coveted Master Sommelier’s diploma, Abhi was recently on the expert tasting panel for the Drinks Trade Magazine judging all these sparkling and champagne. Abhi has worked at Sydney’s most prestigious places recently being the Head Sommelier of The Charles Grand Brasserie, The Charles Bar & Tiva Lounge in addition to Mimis, Woodcut and Park Hyatt Sydney. You can always find him sipping on a German Riesling, Burgundy and of course, Champagne. You can follow him on instagram here. All images have been sourced from the venues.




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