At The Bar with Morena Sommelier Pablo Toledo

Head Sommelier Pablo Toledo showcases the best of Latin American wines at charming Sydney restaurant Morena.

The new diner by acclaimed Executive Chef Alejandro Saravia – best known for his Melbourne hatted restaurants Farmer’s Daughters – sees him showcase dishes from his native Peru among other Latin hits.

Executive Chef Alejandro Saravia

Morena is located at The Fullerton Hotel at 1 Martin Place, with a sassy cuisine that hustles between Peru, Brazil, Argentina and Colombian influences. Much the same happens with the wine list – where those curated by Toledo champion the best from these regions and give us a reason to look where we might not have necessarily ventured before.

Pablo Toledo speaks to The Write Drop for our At The Bar series. He’s been living in Sydney for the past decade, and brings his whip-smart curiosity for wines to the floor with an abundance of passion at Morena.

We highly recommend you order a Morena Sour before you cosy into the Chef’s Choice menu with wine pairing; and allow a few hours to truly appreciate all this place has to offer.

MY CITY 

I was born in Santiago, Chile but have been living in Sydney for 10 years. Sydney is full of surprises and you would need two lifetimes to visit all the beaches and bars here.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

Going to the Seafood market in Central Santiago on New Year’s Day. Paila Marina is a clear seafood soup, perfect if you have spent all night out celebrating.

FAVOURITE BAR  

Palmers and Co. They have pianist who performs and host other musicians every now and then which adds an element of atmosphere you don’t get from other places.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU 

French Martini, it has the perfect balance of acid and sweetness in one sip.

BEST HANGOVER CURE 

A shot of leche de tigre (tigers milk) will always sort you out in the morning after a long night out. Maybe chase it down with a skin contact wine.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR

The Tasmania Lavender Company. The restaurant and bar overlook the lavender fields and ocean at Long Bay. The view is stunning and they incorporate their produce into every item on the menu.

FAVOURITE WINE

So hard to choose! From Chile, Toro de Piedra Single Vineyard Carmenere. I love to drink Chilean wines, especially more undiscovered varieties. The Standish ‘The Relic’ Shiraz/Viognier – they are amazing and robust and for a white Aldo Conterno, Bussiador Chardonnay, it is very elegant and has a refined touch of oak.

FAVOURITE WINERY 

Yangarra in McLaren Vale, they farm using Indigenous and biodynamic land care practices and you can taste the care they take in the final wines. Mayfield is also beautiful, with lake views and a large estate home – the wines aren’t bad either.

NEXT DESTINATION

I am really looking forward to heading to Geelong to visit By Farr, Farr Rising, Irrewarra and Lethbridge.

TELL US ABOUT HOW YOU CURATE THE WINE LIST AT MORENA

Morena’s wine list has a large focus on Criolla varietals, native grapes from Latin America that have been lost in time and are experiencing a revival. I love showcasing these unknown wines to the city. Of course, we also feature some of the most notable grapes from Latin America such as Carmenere, Tannat and Malbec with our selections showcasing a high standard of grape growing and wine making present in Latin America.

FAVE NEW WINE ON THE LIST 
It is not on the list yet but it is coming soon! I tasted an amazing Albarino from Uruaguay, 2023 Bouza. The terroir is limestone which highlights the minerality in the grape and its aged 9 months in a mix of new and old oak adding a great layer of complexity and texture.

HOW TO PAIR WHEN AT DINING AT MORENA

  1. Spencer Gulf Kingfish, aguachile, fermentated tomatillo, serrano chilli with 2023 Villard JCV skinzy Semillon, Casablaca Chile.
  2. Abrolhos Island Scallops, with parmesan cream, lime and aji amarillo butter – these are a must paired with the 2019, Catena Zapata ‘Angelica’, Chardonnay, Mendoza Argentina.
  3. Ox Tongue anticuchos, Peruvian dried Chillies, carretillera sauce paired with the 2022 Pedro Parra ‘Vinista’ Pais, Itata Chile
  4. Stir fry beef eye fillet, saltado sauce, aji Amarillo, red onion, tomato paired with This dish has a soy sauce based marinade – pair with 2020 Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Petit Verdot, Uruguay.

WINTER WINES BY THE GLASS

TRY:

2020 – Catena Zapata ‘Historic Rows’ Alta, Chardonnay, Mendoza Argentina.

2020 – Marcello Pelleriti ‘Signature Malbec’ Valle de Uco. Bold plump fruits with a warm rum finish.

2020Bodega Garzon Single Vineyard Petit Verdot, Uruguay. Rich warm and robust.

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