PROFILE BY BEST RESTAURANTS
If the wine at Woollahra's Wine Library told its own story, you could sit by the bar and enjoy a tale of rocky glens, dramatic mountains, hot summer storms and frost crusted vines; of winemakers in India and growers in Barcelona. Each of the 400 wines has been carefully selected like the books of a personal library and the catalogue explains the story of seasons behind each vineyard or winemaker.
The Wine Library is a cocoon enjoyed by the unique personalities here for the boutique drops and casual-cool atmosphere. Glossy bottles line the shelves of the bar like volumes ordered by author, shining with an orange-gleam from the backlight of the bar. The syncopated jazz tunes that flow through the restaurant are punctuated by the chinks of glasses toasting the weekend's beginning. Afternoon snacks and pre-dinner drinks are spent here as charcuterie plates are presented between elbows that rest gracefully on the generous zinc bar. The bar leads past the clear charcuterie coolroom to the low-lit dining room and the secluded outdoor oasis that beckons diners to a quiet escape of slate tiles and dappled sunlight.
Woollahra and Paddington residents drift in and out of the bar coming for an afternoon aperitif. Some order a drop that is the perfect equivalent of their identity while others dabble with alternate characters. The wine list, like a library, harbours creations from around the world. A glass of 2009 Granbazan ‘Etiqueta Ambar' could be the equivalent of a travel novel. Its albarino grapes drawn from the coast-hugging region of Spain's Rias Biaxas whisper dry and crisp oceanic characters, and this afternoon are enjoyed by a group of young women for after-work drinks. They're served plates of cluttered cabernet and vinegar oysters; grappa cured ocean trout; and pork and veal meatballs dusted with parmesan and sitting in thick tomato-based sauce. The dusty old hardcover from a past century – 1989 Domaine Leroy ‘les Beaux Monts' is shared by some old friends who've come to catch up on a year lost to the business of life. The Glenguin Estate's 2007 Stoneybroke Shiraz has a smooth body with a flirtatious spice making it alike an old love story, and ordered by a pair perhaps starting their own as they toast their first date. A group of gentlemen settle down to the dark wooden tables of the dining room to explore the seasons' influences on a region by trying a glass from each vintage - like working their way through a series. At the Wine Library, ‘quick afternoon drinks' will meld into shared dishes and orders for a second bottle, before conceding to make a night with dessert in favour of prior plans.