You mightn’t know Pierre Stock by name, but if you’ve had a rambunctious night at South Yarra’s French institution France-Soir, it’s likely the passionate Frenchman’s wine expertise has fuelled it.
For ten years, Stock was the bistro’s sommelier and wine buyer, presiding over the almost encyclopaedic wine program of more than 2000 bottles. It runs the gamut from big, bold and French to entirely lo-fi, in line with the tastes of France-Soir’s charismatic owner Jean-Paul Prunetti. Together, Stock and Prunetti also channelled their knowledge into French-wine importing business France-Soir Wine Selections.
Though Stock can’t understate that he’s where he is today because of Prunetti, he decided to leave the restaurant and took sole directorship of the importing operation, which he rechristened Pierre Stock Wine Selections. This is its public face: an appointment-only wine destination in Camberwell Junction. But it’s not a bar or bottle shop in the traditional sense.
The space acts as a wine tailor, according to Stock, so you won’t leave with a bottle or case. Instead, he offers recommendations sur mesure (tailored to you or bespoke) that you can then buy through him online and get delivered.
The experience, then, involves plonking yourself alongside Stock in a cushy armchair, snacking on cheese and charcuterie, and sipping on something great while you get into the nitty-gritty of your wine preferences in a space that he says feels like his living room. It was designed by Hunter & Richards and is filled with greenery by Mannix.
It couldn’t be less transactional – and that’s the point. Stock (who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, including France’s Paul Bosuse) is used to offering his customers a personalised experience. He wanted to weave this into wholesale – restoring the connection that has been lost with the rise of solely-online transactions.
Importantly, though, Stock’s venue wasn’t made to be exclusive or just for the rich. He can curate wine for everyone with every budget. His suggestion could range from a $29.50 grenache-syrah-mourvèdre-counoise blend to an opulent 2009 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Pauillac with a whopping $3274 price tag, plus cru and grand cru standouts.
Pierre Stock Wine Selections is open by appointment only. Book via email or by calling 0466 342 208.