When Noma pops up for 10 weeks at Barangaroo in January, it won’t serve a copy or reimagining of its Nordic menu. Nor will it serve the same European-based wine list. Just as chef René Redzepi has been researching Australian native produce, Noma’s sommelier Mads Kleppe has been investigating the domestic wine scene.
Kleppe has been working with wine writer and wine judge Mike Bennie (co-founder of Rootstock Sydney) to source the best and most Noma-appropriate wines from across the country. Each guest will have the option of either an a-la-carte drinks list, mixing international and Australian producers, or Kleppe’s curated drink matching. “It won't be a traditional wine matching – it's much more about the application of drinks over several dishes,” Bennie says. “It won't just be wine. There will be an array of drinks that will be offered throughout the meal.”
The exact wines, spirits, beers or entirely new creations Noma will serve are secret. Bennie says, it’s about keeping it a surprise for each guest. We did, however, get some indication as to what style and genre of drink will be served. Matching Noma’s focus on the natural produce of the region, the wine list will be dominated by organic and biodynamic Australian vineyards. “The expectation is that you'd find the great wines of the world on the list, but that's just not how it works.” Bennie says he expects there to be some criticism of the eventual wine list, because a focus on natural wines will automatically exclude many highly acclaimed Australian producers. “[Kleppe] needs wine grown from good places by people who interfere minimally with their wines. There's no other way around it. That's just the Noma program.”
Bennie, who’s recently been chaperoning Kleppe on a tour of Australia’s leading natural vineyards, mentioned the Noma sommelier is particularly taken by the work of Patrick Sullivan Wines, a Tasmanian wine producer, and Tom Shobbrook of Shobbrook Wines. The latter is the only Australian wine producer to appear on Noma’s international wine list. “Mads was taken aback that there were high-quality wines that fit his oeuvre at Noma immediately. I think he thought he might have to work a bit harder to find these wines.”
Bennie and Kleppe have also been talking to Ashley Huntington of Two Metre Tall Brewers, one of the world’s only paddock-to-bottle distillers; Belgrove Distillery; and Tasmanian farmers, Provenance Growers. Bennie says to expect Kleppe to serve native botanical-distilled spirits, infusions, sour beers, orange wines and petillant natural sparkling wines. “I think, in general, [Mads has] caught a significant vibe that there's a lot of very interesting things going on in terms of wine and drinks and beer in Australia.”
Noma Australia opens in January at Barangaroo. Tables are sold out, but you can still put your name on the waiting list