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Drink Better Wine: Wine Bar Review

Drink Better Wine: Wine Bar Review

Wine Adventure Roll Call:

FLS (Fearless Leader Sam)
DP (Desperado Pete)
NGN (New Guy Nick).

I have argued long and hard that drinks on a Tuesday night are no way for a civilized man to endure the working week. Monday is for recovery and the rest of the week is for productive human endeavors.  However, NGN is only available for wine adventuring on a Tuesday. Oh how quickly my principles crumble.
We have been given a tip off that Drink Better Wine is a North Sydney wine bar that we had to check out. Drink Better Wine is actually a cafe/restaurant open from the 7am, serving moderately priced meals and is directly attached to the North Sydney Cellars bottleshop.


Unlike most wine bars and restaurants the wine list itself is a slight double-sided slip of a paper and DP starts off with a 2013 Maretti Nebbiolo ($13 a glass; surprisingly high acid and pleasant enough to start off with) while FLS has a 2009 Tyrrell’s Futures Semillion, which is very good value ($10 a glass; crisp, lemon, lime, with a bit of grassiness) for a special on their blackboard.



Slimmest wine list I have ever seen

Think of our bottleshop as our walk-through wine list (we don’t charge for corkage) DBW

In fact what is on the ‘wine list’ is merely their by-the-glass offerings. At the top of the list is statement “Think of our bottleshop as our walk-through wine list (we don’t charge for corkage)”, which for a wine bar (when you consider it) is incredible value. We take advantage of this and ask our sommelier for recommendations and end up with a mini-tour of the bottleshop’s shiraz selection. This was a particularly unique experience to Drink Better Wine and gives you a more tangible feel for wines when selecting a bottle.



The walk-through wine list


NGN is into particularly bold, strong, full-bodied reds so rating scale for tonight was wine intensity.  Looking for a contrast, we asked for a cool climate Shiraz and something more “heavy duty” which were aptly filled by the Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2014 ($60 a bottle) and a Torbreck Struie 2013 (also $60 a bottle) respectively.

Our choices for the night

The Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier was an exceptionally fine wine. Aromatic with dark fruit flavour. Smooth round tannins, pepperiness offset with tanginess of the 4% Viognier.
NGN 40% on the intensity scale,
FLS 55% (love the aromatics),
DP 60%

Fantastic bottle and a great recommendation.

Torbreck Struie 2013: deep, dark and intense but still with a layered complexity.

NGN “I’ll be impressed if this reaches 80% on the intensity scale”
DP “I think Torbrecks are 100% for intensity… the only way they could get more intense is if you stuck a shot of whisky into them”
NGN (after a sip) “Yea this is 95% intense… that’s the stuff”


We ate a pulled beef brisket sandwich with horseradish and pear relish ($17) and a Beef and Bacon Burger (blackboard special, $20) with extra chilli sauce.

The Torbreck held up to the food pretty well, but the Lark Hill was too delicate to handle the beef and relish.

I have been quite surprised how low key and casual some wine bars are. What sets Drink Better Wine apart from your average wine bar is instead of rifling through an encyclopedic wine list, you can stroll through the bottles with your sommelier, picking up and handling all the interesting wines. This tactile experience cannot be underrated and the walk-through wine list is a smashing idea.

If you ever wanted to drink a bottle as soon as you purchased it, head on over to Drink Better Wine.

Drink Better Wine
189 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia
+61 2 9954 0090

North Sydney Cellars
189 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060 Australia
+61 2 9954 0090

From 7am – Monday to Friday

About The Author
Peter Tan avatar
Peter Tan
Dilettante. I had to look that up.

Notable Replies

  1. I feel like the Lark Hill was a great find. A more budget-friendly alternative to the Clonakilla SV which I love, but too expensive to drink regularly.

  2. @SammyLee Lark Hill was great and fantastic recommendation from DBW. I’m going to search out Dan Murphys for a bottle or two.
    We need to get more people together to come here. Doing bottles between 3 people gets a bit heavy man

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