For drinkers that have bent the elbow at cult wine bars such as Embla, Sydney's 10 William St or P. Franco in London, the idea of having a similarly casual, unstuffy natural-wine stronghold in Perth city limits is reason to cheer.
If you visit the West Coast post-June, put Sam Winfield's natural-wine bar Wines of While on your hit-list. The menu? Highly drinkable, minimal-intervention wines with an opening list that will feature 200 bottles with around a dozen wines available by the glass.
As we settle into the chilly season, Winfield has recommended five autumnal wines that represent the best of the natural crop, including a belter from Gippsland.
Domaine Mămărutá Le Vin de Ma Cocotte 2014 (Languedoc, France)
An incredible natural wine made of carignan from 120-year-old vines that will fill that shiraz-sized hole in your heart. Perfumed, savoury and will sit on the couch with you all winter long. Grown organically and minimal sulphur used only at bottling.
Sam Vinciullo – Red/White 2017 (Margaret River, Australia)
Pure, energetic and completely natural wine from local boy Sam whose half-merlot, half-semillon blend celebrates fastidious farming. Open after a half hour in the fridge and it’ll be empty before dinner.
Ampeleia Un Litro 2016 (Tuscany, Italy)
It may come by the litre but by the end you’ll be wishing Elisabetta Foradori, the godmother of Italian winemaking, filled a whole magnum. Epic drinkability here from alicante nero, alicante bouschet and carignano making a cuddly, generous wine with enough spikes of spice, tannin and acid to keep things interesting. This screams for a chilled tumbler, some grilled flank steak and a little torn bread for the juices.
Sepp and Maria Muster Opok 2015 (Austria)
Autumn will surely throw up a few warmer days, perfect for hanging in a park with a bottle of something crisp, dry and aromatic. Sepp and Maria Muster are among a throng of passionate Austrian winemakers making incredible natural wines, as demonstrated by this biodynamic white blend. There’s grapefruit, gooseberry and minerality for days, balanced by moreish oxidative features.
Patrick Sullivan Waterskin 2017 (Gippsland, Australia)
A crisp sunset by the ocean will play right into the hands of this beautiful, savoury orange wine. Patrick Sullivan of the Baw Baw Shire in Gippsland, Victoria combines fresh semillon and sauvignon blanc that’s spent a month on skins to create a saline, crunchy and aromatic wine with none of that orange-wine funk. That lick of salt, seaspray and savoury fruit snuggles up perfectly with a bundle of fish and chips. Don’t forget the crabstick.