Back in Canberra for a couple of days, I did what I always try to do – visit Benchmark the first true wine bar in the capital, set up back in 2003 – it has a large and very eclectic wine list that is ever changing and evolving. The list covers almost every conceivable wine region of the world and most of the grape varieties with a great by the glass selection. As well they serve excellent food, and have very knowledgeable and friendly staff. It is on Northbourne Avenue, in the same building as the Novotel, so it is pretty centrally placed.
On a warm afternoon, after a couple of meetings that occurred soon after my plane landed, I chose to sit outside and have a couple of glasses of wine to relax and wind down before heading on elsewhere for dinner. The large windows were open giving a view into the bar and an easy way of leaning in to catch the waiter’s attention when I needed a top up.
I started with a Canberra district wine 2012 Riesling from Surveyor’s Hill Vineyards. This was a full, generous, quite fleshy wine, lots of lime and citrus on the palate, and a nice crisp finish.
I followed with a glass of pinot noir rosé from Tasmanian producer Providence. The Cécile has aromas of strawberries and cherries on the nose, with a dry and spicy palate, finishing long and crisply.
As a wine bar Benchmark is without peer in Canberra – the wine list is outstanding and the number available by the glass quite amazing. I always enjoy a stopover here – It is a lovely spot – to drink and relax over a snack, or have a more substantial meal with friends. I highly recommend it to anyone who is visiting, or who lives over that way.