House Wine gets a makeover

The story of the Bacchus House Label wine began a long time ago, and it isn’t a tale of simply co-labeling a top drop. No, the wine taking pride of place as the Bacchus House Label this year was a long time in the making, driven by the passion of Sommelier Andrew Giblin.

Wine almost runs through Giblin’s veins – he hails from South Australia and has been in the wine industry for 30 years, during which time he has nurtured many relationships and tasted many, many vintages! One of those companies he has worked alongside is Kaesler in the famed Barossa Valley.

Throwback to 2008 and Andrew Giblin was in Paris, staying in a small apartment off Rue St. Étienne in Arrondissement 11. While there, he lived like a Parisian and ate out every night – an easy task given there were four restaurants on his street alone and many more in walking distance. And, he always had the house wine with dinner – because, it was always excellent. As he travelled through Belgium, France and Luxembourg, he continued having house wine with evening meals, and it continued to be excellent. When he returned to Australia he was quickly reminded that house wine in this country is generally, terrible. “It’s usually the bulk cask wine and is virtually undrinkable,” said Giblin.

“I couldn’t understand why, as Australia is one of the largest wine producing countries in the world with lots of excellent wineries producing outstanding wine, did restaurants and bars continue to offer dreadful house wine.”

When Giblin took up the Sommelier baton at Bacchus Restaurant some five plus years ago, the restaurant was already engaging with producers to make bespoke items for the restaurant such as olive oil, coffee and tea blends. “I saw this as an opportunity to create a wine product that was representative of our venue, that stood as a quality, sought-after wine, that we could offer with immense pride and at the same time create a new benchmark for the Australian hospitality industry,” he said.

Given the time constraints, the first house label wines were a Pinot Grigio and a Tempranillo. The next year was a very difficult year for many Barossa producers due to the poor weather conditions of 2011. “The very first Kaesler red to be under the Bacchus label was actually the declassified 2011 Kaesler Avignon, a Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro blend. As our house wine, the price was amazing value for money and all-around deliciousness,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to not only support a great winery in a difficult vintage but also to have a very good wine represent our restaurant as the House Label.”

“Since then we have adjusted the blend and the label of each vintage. Winemaker Reid Bosward has been to Bacchus to train staff, taste dishes and do some matching. I have visited the winery to taste barrel samples, as have many of our staff. It is a whole-of-restaurant commitment.”

Giblin said this year was the best wine to date – the 2015 Kaesler ‘Bacchus’ Shiraz, Mourvèdre. Indeed, the wine is so good that the Bacchus wine is now under the Kaesler label.

“This is truly an honour. Bacchus is the only restaurant to have a Kaesler-produced House Label.”

In addition, I believe that it is equal to, if not better, than any house wine I have tasted in Europe. I think we’ve achieved our goal of having a House Label that is truly representative of our house. The future tastes pretty good!”

Podium Level, Rydges South Bank, Cnr of Grey and Glenelg Streets, South Bank

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