Updated: Jul 23, 2018

Do you want to be ‘that guy’ with no %*$#ing idea on what he is about to be offered by his well-versed wine friends?

There’s a hell of a lot to know about wine, from the grapevine through to the glass. This first instalment in the ‘wine series’ is the starters guide and local, Angus Raddon is the ‘Gentleman’ going to kick things off.

Angus has over ten years of experience in the hospitality industry, in that time has racked up experience in over 18 venues throughout Canberra plus an ‘icy’ stint in Japan.

You may have seen him most recently at Barrio during evening openings, which has been a pop-up space for Angus and good friend Jack Muirhead to showcase their great knowledge and fine service, other venues include Bar Rochford and Pulp Kitchen. If you were in Japan during 2016 and visited Bar Gyu (aka The Fridge Door Bar) Located in the snowy Niseko, Angus may have been the man behind the bar either mixing your drink or the next record, with only room for one behind the bar that’s how it was done.

The Canberra wine region is home to 140 vineyards and more than 30 cellar doors, an abundance of talent, experience and passion so there’s no wonder the Canberra wine region is punching above its weight.

Glossary Guide

Terms for taste

  • Acidity How has the mouth reacted to the wine, how much saliva did you notice your mouth produced.

  • Tanin How was the texture in your mouth, i.e. smooth, chewy, silky.

  • Length How long did the flavours last and how did it change through the time in your mouth.

  • Body How heavy was the wine.

  • Terms for the ageing of wine

  • Oak Barrelled using timber barrels, buttery, bready notes.

  • Steel No flavours will be added through this method.

  • Ceramic Barrelled in a porous ceramic structure which contributes to it’s own unique taste and texture.

Note: Once you have established these terms for taste you can then begin to discuss with your bartender the parts you enjoyed/did not enjoy and find something that is more suited to your palette.

Other terms currently kicking about

  • Orange wine The skin is left on the white grape during fermentation that produces an orange colour and own unique flavour and texture.

  • Natural wines Minimal pesticides & preservatives.

  • Bio Dynamic wines Basically replicating the vines growing in the wild, think no perfect lines and other fauna surrounding the vines.

Wine misconception - ‘aged wines are not necessary better’. Read the back of the bottle, which usually notes when the wine is best to drink. Leaving it in the cellar (or your wardrobe) may not be the best option.

Now you have your beginners’ terms, it’s time to put your knowledge to practice – Here are some of Angus’s favs:

Top 5 wine varieties

  • Gamay Light style red wine, served chilled or room temp.

  • Vermentino Italian style white wine, medium body & texture.

  • Chardonnay Wide variety of styles. Originating from Chablis region in France. Lean, clean, mineraly. High acidity - great with a fresh oyster.

  • Pinot noir Wide variety of styles from light easy drinking to rich and more depth.

  • Riesling Can be done dry or great dessert wines.

Top 4 local wineries

  • Mada Modern techniques and styles by winemaker (and all around nice guy) Hamish Young.

  • Ravensworth Lead by the former head of Clonakilla, this winemaker uses a mix of modern and traditional methods, interesting grape varieties. Ravensworth is gaining a lot of positive attention around Australia.

  • Malaluka Experimenting with a lot of skin contact wines and a few more of the unconventional wines.

  • Sassafras Using local grapes and producing two sparkling wines as well as table wines from Italian grape varieties. Sasafras wine was used by Noma (Four-time World’s Best Restaurant from Denmark) for their Australian pop up restaurant in 2016.

Top 3 local bars for fine wine

  • Bar Rochford Cool modern wine list, great vibe, music and food all in a relaxed environment.

  • Bacaro (part of Italian and Sons) Fun date spot, no bookings, featuring a full Italian wine list. Great if you want to try something different.

  • Monster Cool vibe, extensive wine list, classic wine styles and varieties.

Side note

Eat Blood N Bones

Angus and good friends Mark Brook and Ross McQuinn (head distiller @Underground spirits) all have a passion for sustainability. They’ve all seen how much good food is wasted between produce and the plate and want to change this. Imagine using ALL of a Balmain Bug - this is exactly what was done for their Po’boys last July at their Barrio Pop-up. A carrot Po’boy (roasted carrot, carrot chimmi churri and crispy roots) was served so the Vegos didn’t miss out. Eat Blood N Bones kicked off in Jan 2017 with ‘Duck Nose to Tail’, which included four savoury courses and dessert - cherry pie with sticky braised duck. A Fish N Chip event was held recently and the next event with regular chef Josh Lundy (86/ Pulp Kitchen) planned for mid-year is sure to be another great one - make sure you don’t miss it!