At The Bar with Amy Oliver Head Sommelier at Pt. Leo Estate.

As Head Sommelier at Pt. Leo Estate, Amy Oliver curates the wine lists we find at this iconic Mornington Peninsula winery. She talks to The Write Drop about how she selects the wines that hail from Spain to McLaren Vale and beyond – and shares some tips on what we should be ordering at the cellar door bar this summer.

From her favourite San Francisco bar to a fabulous alternative to Champagne, she takes us through what’s on the wine list right now for our At The Bar series.

Pt. Leo Estate on the Mornington Peninsula

MY CITY 

I’ve lived in and around Melbourne nearly all my life apart from four years living in the UK in my mid 20s.  Melbourne is one of those cities that has a real feel to it, it’s that mix of new and old architecture, music and art, food and drinks. I love the old pubs as much as the beautiful bars and restaurants.  At the moment I’m living in Balnarring Beach, and I also enjoy driving away from the city, getting home, and looking at the way the light falls over Western Port Bay.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

For me there’s a lot of nostalgia tied up in food memories.  It’s never just about the dish, it’s about where you are and who you are with, a bit like a bottle of wine.

Some travel food memories include:  a chicken tagine full of spices and dates overlooking the Sahara in Morocco, dinner with exceptional company for my birthday at the French Laundry in the Napa Valley, eating freshly shucked oysters in the Loire. It is however hard to go past the memory of looking forward to going to my Nanna’s as a child and hoping she would cook a lamb roast with homemade mint sauce from the garden.

FAVOURITE BAR  

I’m pretty happy if I find myself at Heartbreaker with a Manhattan in my hand trying to win the pool table.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

Dry Martin Millers Martini with olives – because it’s strong and dry.

BEST HANGOVER CURE 

Champagne and a Big Mac. Failing that, a trip to Shujinko for a Karakuchi Ramen, some gyoza, and Kirin from the tap sorts things out.

BEST OVERSEAS BAR 

Absinthe Bar & Brasserie in San Francisco.  Old school vibes.  Beautifully made cocktails by excellent bar people.  Superb wine list.  You can get into trouble there.

FAVOURITE WINE

Chardonnay.

FAVOURITE WINERY

I love going to Beechworth and the Alpine Valley and visiting wineries.  There are so many great people doing amazing things.

NEXT DESTINATION 

I’ve never been to Central or South America so I’d like to head somewhere in that direction next.

WHAT’S ON THE WINE LIST AT PT LEO THIS SUMMER

In the Bistro we are pouring lots of great Victorian wine. In addition to our beautiful Pt Leo Estate wines we are also pouring Yayoi Wines Vallée of the Kings Chenin Blanc from Swan Hill, Little Frances Merlot, and Fighting Gully Road Verdicchio from Beechworth, MDI Picolit from Mildura, and Bass River Iced Sauvignon Blanc from Gippsland.

In Laura, we have things from all over the place on the pour including L’Austral Armandiers Saumur Blanc, Peay Vineyards Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Orbis Wines Trousseau from McLaren Vale, Barr-Eden Avenue to Gold Shiraz from the Eden Valley, Mukai Shuzo Ine Mankai red rice sake from Kyoto in Japan and for something sweet Telmo Rodriguez MR Moscatel from Malaga in Spain.

YOUR FAVOURITE SUMMER DRINK

I love champagne and sparkling wine all the time, but I’m really enjoying Terraze dell’Etna Brut Rosato at the moment.  It’s a wine that’s all about the subtle tart red fruits and the beautifully textured dry finish.  So good with delicate summer dishes or as an aperitif.  Also, a beautiful price compared to champagne.

WHAT SHOULD WE TRY NEXT AT PT LEO?

I was in Valtelina in Italy earlier this year and fell in love with the place.  I visited the guys from Dirupi and they had such an infectious passion for what they do.  Their wines made from 100% Chiavanesca are great and I now have them on the list.

Similarly, I travelled to the Wachau in Austria after I left Valtellina, and was reacquainted with the beautifully pure fruited single vineyard wines from Alzinger which I have since added to the list.

Closer to home, Praeter Blue Note Chinato from the Pyrenees in Victoria is a fortified Nebbiolo and Shiraz inspired by the classic Barolo Chinato style.  Excellent with chocolate.

A COCKTAIL FOR SUMMER

Jakob our Bar Manager has just created the Uncle Wray which is a riff on the classic daiquiri.  He combines Plantation 3 Stars White Rum, fresh lime, and homemade coconut water syrup with a splash of Wray and Nephew White Overproof Rum.  Wray and Nephew Rum has not been available in Australia in the past and has only just hit the shelves, it lifts the drink with its grassy, crunchy green banana notes.  It’s a super refreshing summer cocktail.

 

 

 

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