At The Bar with Publican Vincent Magrath from Central Club Hotel North Melbourne

The latest pub to get a substantial make-over in North Melbourne is the Central Club Hotel; with corner views of the Queen Victoria Market and across the street from The Last Chance Rock’n’Roll Bar [yep, the publicans trying to buy The Tote].

This corner pub is a charming reboot of a historic site with a shiny new purpose, and in the hands of publican Vincent Magrath, holds onto its rich roots and delivers on the menu classics too.

The Write Drop spoke to Vincent ‘Vinny’ Magrath about the wines on the list; and if you get a chance to dine and drink here, you’ll instantly be welcomed by his heartfelt warmth and enthusiasm for his job; not to mention supporting local winemakers.

Magrath talks about his favourite wines they’re pouring at the Central Club Hotel North Melbourne. There’s also a bar in the basement on site; perfect for booking your next private intimate function. It’s a cracker!

Tell us about the white wines on the list

Thick As Thieves Arneis 2022 – Yarra Valley, Victoria

“We have been working with Syd Bradford for years and adore his wines,” says Vincent Magrath. “We first fell in love with his Gamay in 2017.  Syd is the epitome of the term “one-man-band”. He grows and nurtures the vines himself, picks the fruit, makes and bottles the wine, delivers it and does all the admin behind it all. With no wholesaler or distributors in the middle, Syd does everything himself meaning we get to see him every time we order wine from him,” he says.

“Syd’s winemaking is very much about letting the fruit do its thing and be a true expression of the variety itself and where it’s grown,” he adds.

“This Arneis is exactly that – it has a complex floral nose that lures you into a beautifully textural mouthfeel that is wrapped up in a lively, zippy acidity. A wine like this just screams to be paired with something as simple as our Beer Battered Fish & Chips (served with Sarson’s malt vinegar of course).”

Mayford Chardonnay 2022 – Porepunkah, Alpine Valley, Victoria 

“This is our newest Chardonnay on the list and I am as much in love with the site that this wine is grown on and the people who grow it, as I am the wine itself,” says Magrath. “This cool climate Chardonnay oozes elegance and finesse. Sweet, stewed apple and pear on the nose with a touch of spice gets the juices flowing before delivering a rich (but not cheap Chardonnay in the ‘80s rich) fruit forward palate rounded out by a touch of well-integrated new oak. The hero in this wine is the pin-point acidity that marries the pieces of the puzzle together to perfection,” he says.

Swill a glass of this with their Crab Linguine in prawn bisque sauce – the richness of the sauce marrying perfectly with the texture of this beautiful Chardonnay.

Red Instead

Rouler Wines – “Strawberry Fields” Pinot Meunier – 2022 – Whitlands High Plateau, Victoria 

“Valentine Kuzniewski-Lebrun who runs V Wine Salon on Bourke St, Melbourne introduced me to Matthew East from Rouler Wines,” says Magrath. “When he suggested we meet at his “Cellar Door in North Melbourne” I thought he was taking the p*ss! Sure enough, Matt has a tasting room/cellar door tucked away on Laurens St, North Melbourne. There are no set business hours, but there is a lightbox sign above the door with the Rouler logo on it. If the sign is on the cellar door is open, then Matt’s inside pouring wines,” he says.

“Among other by-the-bottle listings, we pour Matt’s Pinot Meunier by-the-glass. We want to offer wines by the glass that consumers might not necessarily be picking up off the shelf themselves. Coming from the same family as Pinot Noir, this wine suits the current shift to lighter styles of red that consumers seem to be reaching for.”

He says: “This wine is vibrant in colour showing a very bright, youthful pink/purple hue in the glass. With the first whiff of this very aromatic nose, one can understand immediately why Matt dubs this wine “strawberry fields” – lifted sweet aromas of strawberries and raspberries fill the glass. The palate packs more punch than the look of this wine suggests with lovely spice rounding out the sweet upfront fruit. A gentle tannin structure holds this together and has you reaching for the next sip and the next sip.”

When it comes to Sparkling, The Central Club North Melbourne is pouring Seville Estate 2018 Banc de Blancs Yarra Valley 2018. A Spring must try is Hahndorf Hill Rose Adelaide Hills 2022 and when it comes to a cocktail, the Clover Club is the ticket.



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