The best thing about being a Sommelier in Adelaide!

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South Australia is indisputably Australia’s wine state, producing 50% of all bottled wine and 80% of premium wine. It makes sense then that some of Australia's best dining experiences are found in Adelaide, one of the Great Wine Capitals of the world. 

A great dining experience is a perfect blend of food, environment, service and refreshment. As well as being the home of Australia's premium wine, South Australia is a food lover’s paradise. The best seafood and Oysters from the pristine waters along the beautiful beaches, bountiful fruit and vegetables from orchards and market gardens that thrive in our Mediterranean climate, and the wide open spaces are the best place for the free range farming of poultry, beef and lamb. The best food demands the best service, and wine.

In this story we are profiling two of Adelaide's most prominent Sommeliers, Liinaa Berry and Brendan Cantral, who tells us what makes Adelaide Great!

Liinaa Berry - pictured above

Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant - Mt Lofty House

What is the best thing about being a sommelier in Adelaide, South Australia, one of the Great Wine Capitals of the World?

South Australia has some of the most distinct wine regions in Australia with various meso-climates, significant regional differences, some of the most diverse soils as well as the oldest vines in the country.

You will find some world class Rieslings in Clare Valley (Polish Hill), the best Shiraz in Eden Valley (Hill of Grace), some of the most profound Grenache from old vines in the Barossa (Cirillo 1850 Ancestor Vine Grenache), Mediterranean grape varieties in McLaren Vale like Nero D’Avola, Aglianico, Montepulciano, some of the most elegant Pino-esque Grenache from Blewitt Springs, age worthy and distinct Cabernet Sauvignon on par with Margaret River and Yarra Valley in the Coonawarra, some of the best Chardonnays in the country from Adelaide Hills, also considered the haven for a lot of the natural wines made by the forward thinking winemakers and farmers working with nature, and last but not least, regions like Mount Gambier, Robe, Riverland, Fleurieu Peninsula, Langhorne Creek delivering more and more interesting varieties. 

I find that our wine regions all specialise in certain varieties just like the old world, like Chardonnay to Burgundy, Chenin Blanc to the Loire Valley. The wines have a sense of place and varietal qualities.

Our growers, winemakers and farmers all really enjoy drinking local to international wines to keep learning, researching and being exposed to their European counterparts. This means that as a sommelier, I get to open a lot of wines from around the world, but with a focus on local, which keeps things interesting for me and my team.

What is your favourite South Australian grown grape variety to serve to your guests and why?

Grenache hands down!

The most complex Grenache in the country thanks to the work of the gnarly old vines in the Barossa and the old sandy soils, and of course, the sacred hands of the custodians of the land, our talented winemakers.

What do you see as a quintessential South Australian food and wine pairing?

In the winter, it is Hutton Vale Shiraz 2013 - Eden Valley fruit drive and silky Shiraz and Mayura Station Wagyu brisket.

and

In the summer, it must be BK Wines Savagnin 2019 - Adelaide Hills white mineral varietal with Coffin Bay oysters.

If you could travel to any of the Great Wine Capitals of the World, where would it be, why would you want to go there and what wine would you have to try?

Rioja, Spain.

The Winemaker: Olivier Rivière, a French winemaker settled in the Rioja. I went to visit him in 2018. He is redefining the Rioja, like Tom Shobbrook is redefining the Barossa. We should keep an eye on him as he is super talented. His wines are all hand harvested, with indigenous yeasts and have a true sense of the terroir as he doesn’t intervene much in the winery. He says, the winemaking process starts in the vineyard.

My favourite wine out of his range is the white Miranda al Sur (looking south), the variety is Viura from 75 year old vines. I would compare the wine to some of the cult ‘ouillé’ wines of the Jura. Slightly oxidative, nutty, creamy and saline. Incredible.

Instagram: @the_wine_sheriff or @wine.convive

Brendan Cantral

2KW Bar and Restaurant - Adelaide

What is the best thing about being a sommelier in Adelaide, South Australia, one of the Great Wine Capitals of the World?

The best thing about being a somm in Adelaide is access. Access to so many regions, so many passionate operators and so many varieties.

What is your favourite South Australian grown grape variety to serve to your guests and why?

Riesling.

I love where this variety is going in South Australia and the diversity it offers up. From the old school and classic Australian manifestations coming from Jeffrey Grosset to the more Germanic styles being pursued by John Hughes of Rieslingfreak.

Each operator has done their research and regardless of style are producing some very tasty vino.

What do you see as a quintessential South Australian food and wine pairing?

Quintessential would have to be some of Coffin Bay’s finest oysters with any one of the Methode Traditionelle sparkling’s emerging from the Adelaide Hills.

If you could travel to any of the Great Wine Capitals of the World, where would it be, why would you want to go there and what wine would you have to try?

Rheinhessen.

I would head there to explore Riesling from head to toe and speak to the families that have grown and made the variety all their lives. Riesling fascinates me, it is a variety that is highly addictive through its drinkability and when made with perfect balance, I’d elevate that standing to sublime.

I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to try the Weingut Keller G-Max Riesling Trocken.

Instagram: @brencantrall & @2kwbar