At The Bar with Stokehouse Head Sommelier Wil Martin

Stokehouse Head Sommelier Wil Martin talks to The Write Drop about his favourite Melbourne bar, a fine dining food memory while holidaying in Spain, what he looks for in a glass of wine, and those that keep his palette ever curious.

MY CITY

Melbourne is everything you want from a city. I love the weather – it forces you to make plans inside looking out, and a bonus if it’s a nice day. The fashion is understated, but precise and always gives little hints about the people who are in the know. In my opinion, Melbourne is leading the world in the restaurant scene too. Casual fine dining is much harder to master and gives you more opportunity to relax and feel comfortable with some of the best food and wine on offer.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY

Eating at ASADOR ETXEBARRI in Basque Country, Spain is simplicity at the highest level. I love anything that comes from a wood grill and here, they use different wood for charcoal in different dishes. The cheese comes from the cows you see outside of the window, with the backdrop of the incredible Basque Mountains. The chorizo is grandma’s recipe, and everything on the plate you can see around the gardens. The effort it takes at a high level to put just one item on the plate, and for it to still be incredibly complex, is a true food memory.

FAVOURITE BAR MEMORY

BAR MARGAUX: I love cocktails and Bar Margaux has an amazing atmosphere in the early hours after midnight. My favourite thing is to match a few of their petit serve cocktails with their late-night menu. Gibson Martini with a freshly shucked oyster, a Perfect Manhattan with L’Americain cheeseburger and finish it off with a palate cleansing Last Word – from there it’s always a little blurry..

WINE THAT DESCRIBES YOU

 Chenin Blanc is an incredibly versatile wine. It can be a great bubbly, a simple relaxed and a very serious complex wine. It’s important for me to have different moods for different occasions which Chenin Blanc is never polarising and never intensively assessed only enjoyed.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

KORR-JEE CHICKEN: The roast chicken with chicken jus, hand cut chips and glass bottle Coke is almost an excuse to have that last drink the night before. This chicken is tender with a beautifully golden crispy skin and your lips stick together from the deliciously gelatinous chicken jus! The hand cut chips are the best in Melbourne and you always need something deep fried with a good hangover!

BEST INTERSTATE WINE BAR

Maeve Wine Bar Brisbane has a wine selection that’s on point. The room is well-lit and ideal to enjoy a glass of good wine in the warm QLD weather. They value wine knowledge and always slip a little rare find on the list. The staff are welcoming and make you feel like you never want to leave.

FAVOURITE WINE

DOMAINE ROULOT MEURSAULT: There is Burgundy and then there is the rest of the world. The complexities of Burgundy are to be embraced and discussed. Jean-Marc’s wines are incredibly detailed and precise, which incrementally evolves over the entire experience. You don’t get a lazy wine here and you need to pay attention and focus on the subtle.

FAVOURITE WINERY

JAMSHEED URBAN WINERY: This is an amazing concept to bring the winery to the city. Gary Mills wines are all great and the environment is completely different to the rolling hills of a typical winery. The ‘wine tasting’ is more like ‘wine drinking’ and gives you the opportunity to try the entire range. If you get the chance to chat with Gary about the wines, will leave you with enough knowledge to break through the daunting world of wine.

BEST NEWCOMER

RYAN PONSFORD – ENTROPY WINES: The backbone to any refreshing drink is acid and Entropy wines are electric. These wines are perfectly balanced and paving the way for clean natural wine culture.

NEXT DESTINATION

I love visiting Sydney. We are heading to Berowra Waters Inn for lunch via the seaplane out of Rose Bay followed by a bar table at Café Paci and ending the weekend with a long lunch at Sean’s Panaroma. Maximum impact minimum time.

Stokehouse – St Kilda Institution.
Stokehouse St Kilda
White or Red? Stokehouse St Kilda has it sorted.

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