Since arriving in Australia, I have become absolutely obsessed with wine! Normally, one would come to love wine in France, or in California, but after taking my wine tour in the Yarra Valley, I finally understand wine! While in Europe, one would easily be brushed off for not knowing the traditional terms, flavors, or regions, in Australia, they embrace all wine tastes and preferences. Wine in Australia is particularly exciting, as they are a “new world” producer. Translation: they’ve got nothing to lose! If you are looking for wine innovations, exciting branding, and unique pairing suggestions, Australia’s got it!
Now, I had normally been buying my wine from a local bottle shop, sticking to the $10-$15 daily drinking range. However, when I was invited by a few friends to try on of my chef friends’ new Boutique Wine Bar, Clever Polly’s I was excited to split the cost of a few more expensive bottles and sampling plates!
Tucked away in West Melbourne near The Victoria Market, you will find a dedicated young-adult crowd who love their wine, and are happy to get away from Brunswick St. and the CBD. Clever Polly’s is choc full of warm, cozy, and a quiet buzz, making me confident that people will travel far and near to get a peak at their wine list.
The one thing I have to say about Clever Polly’s is value. I am generally not one who would spend much on wine, as I am on a budget, but Clever Polly’s has little to no markup on their product when compared to a bottle shop. So, every dollar you are spending at Clever Polly’s contributes directly into the quality of the wine. In the past few times I have visited Clever Polly’s I even saw a few sommeliers and vineyard-buffs wandering around, checking out their product and the competition.
Along with high quality, comes the passion and the knowledge the staff have of the small wine producers, wine regions, and blenders they supply from. All of the wines are bio-dynamic, meaning that the grapes are grown in small quantities, and for Australia that may means the bottles will never be exported. In other words, you are drinking up the wine culture of Australia and supporting a sustainable method of producing in the region.
We ordered a variety of delicious dishes which are unique to the chef and prepared magically with no more than a hot plate and a mini fridge. Adding to the sustainable message, the chef has creatively and resourcefully pickled local ingredients creating unique mixes of sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy….some je ne sais quoi that makes the wine absolutely POP. I am not going to recommend any one dish in particular, as the menu rotates with what vegetables and ingredients they can find in season, just ask for a bit of help pairing, and you will not be disappointed!