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Club wine lists
Whether you’re dining in the Members’ Dining Room, the refurbished Wine Bar or the new indoor/outdoor venue Sojourn in New Chancery Lane, you can be assured that considerable time, skill and resources have gone into developing a quality wine list.
Club Sommelier Christian Maier says each venue has its own personality and that’s reflected in the wine list.
“Sojourn is all about bold and fun,” he says. “The wine list has a strong regional approach, with about 80 per cent of wines coming from Victoria and many from small producers.”
Christian has also added treasures from the Club wine cellar, so-called “unicorn” wines, to Sojourn’s wine list for Members who seek a rarefied experience.
Last year the Members’ Dining Room at City Club was inducted into Australia’s Wine List’s Hall of Fame after receiving the Best Club List award and maintaining its “3 Glass” rating.
Christian says the Members’ Dining Room wine list is classic and caters for a full range of tastes and prices.
“The Club’s strength has always been its great library of cellared wines and a balanced offering,” he says. “This award positions us as one of the strongest Club wine lists out there, which is the result of the team’s hard work and the passion of wine shared by everyone.”
The reopening of the Wine Bar has given Christian another way to introduce Members to new wines.
“The Wine Bar’s list involves a bit more fun, but it has a good listing of wines with a semi-serious note. You can have high quality champagne, Chablis or pinot noir by the glass, along with casual wines and cocktails.”
He says a wine list should read like an engrossing travel book.
“If it reads like a phone book than it’s all wrong,” he says. “If needs to read like an exploration of an area, going deep into the vintages and highlighting new and upcoming producers.”
Christian says the creation of a good wine list requires a good understanding of the cuisine served, the clientele, the surroundings and whether the venue is casual or luxurious.
“Another way is to provide balance, and to be provincial, so we are in Victoria and we have a majority of Victorian wines, along with vintage wines that people can’t buy anywhere else.”
He also ensures the wines are carefully aged and cellared at a perfect temperature.
Christian says wine should be fun and he has a keen interest in Australia’s developing organic wine industry.
“I get excited by wines that have been crafted with a sense of freedom,” he says. “By that I mean a sense of exploration. For example, a white wine that has been treated like a red wine. Rather than removing the skin and making it clear white, the skin is left on to create a white wine that has freshness but drinks like a red.”
He says some of the “new” winemaking techniques being used in Australia draw on pre-war methods that were used before the development of technical equipment and refrigeration.
“Some of the results are wild and off-beat, but there is that sense of freedom and play and that is something I have introduced to the Wine Bar,” he says. “Wine should be fun.”