Wines of While, up at the top end of William Street, has certainly built a profile since its opening about 9 months ago acting as a beacon to lovers of natural wines by both emerging and established winemakers from Australia and overseas.
It’s only a small place but has a few tables out front on the footpath for sunny days, a stringy bark bench that serves as the bar, and wine racks breaking up the space inside. Did I mention it is a bottle shop as well?
As well as serving wines by the glass from the black boarded specials any bottle can be bought and consumed in-house – each is marked with an in-house price and a cheaper, takeaway price if you are wanting, for example, to dine at one of the myriad restaurants a short stroll away or just take some home.
The food menu is small, simple, and suited to snacking while sampling one or two of the wines on offer – although I didn’t eat on this last visit, I can truly recommend the white beans which have retained their place on the menu since opening.
Anyway I was meeting with a couple of other wine enthusiasts, but being early I started off with an orange wine from Italy – Montesoro from Piedmont producer, Valli Unite – made from Timorasso, it has a funky, scrumpy cider-like bouquet, it is cloudy and burnished coppery pink, with a tannic, grippy and slightly honeyed palate.
Then, as I was still waiting, the same producer’s rosé – Roseato – made from a blend of grapes including Malvasia and Brachetto. Another cloudy and fragrant wine, with yeasty and lemon aromas, followed by a tart palate of sour cherries, orange marmalade with a long dry finish.
Later, after my companions joined me, we bought a bottle of Spanish white – well orange really – Els Bassotets 2017 – made near Barcelona – it is a field blend of mainly Macabeu, Chenin and Parebella, and another very cloudy, unfiltered and unfined natural wine. Apples, stone fruit and a hint of smoke leap out of the glass – it has a tangy, nutty palate with flavours of tart Seville oranges, honey and peaches. A very interesting wine, indeed.
Then it was time for me to get off along home – reluctantly of course!
Wines of While is a must if you are a lover of natural and organic wines – the range they have is spectacular and the simple, rustic food absolutely complements the wine.