The glass-walled, temperature controlled wine cellar is a feature of Manfredi at Bells, housing an impressive collection of both Australian and Italian wines. The Australian list is dominated by wines of the New South Wales Hunter Valley, reflecting the regionality of Bells at Killcare and the proprietors’ long association with the Hunter. Diners can enjoy eclectic finds from Brian Barry’s longstanding collection or browse the Italian list, developed under the watchful eye of Stefano Manfredi.
In national competition, our wine list is one of a number of restaurants to hold a top accolade of “3 Glasses”. But our list is unique in that we are the only regional NSW restaurant to be thusly awarded. The independent criteria of assessment is based on quality, balance, innovation and suitability. With further focus on vintage and wine by the glass selection, which can all sound terribly correct. But a wine list within a family business is bound also to display a few family eccentricities. A cellar accumulated over my life time that is now an integral part of the list, contains such eccentricities. Listed are wines from makers with whom I am great mates. As well as wines from cellars visited and any number of other personal favorites. With the most recent and considerable Italian wine listings evolving under the tutorage of Stefano Manfredi. It is hoped that future wine list judging criteria will continue to accommodate my slightly unbalanced personality
But more importantly it is hoped that from within the list a wine is found that is both interesting and tastes good
I was born in Wangaratta; surrounded by North Eastern Victorian Wine Country. My father was the licensee for a bottle shop and one of my first jobs was working under age in that store. So at the tender age of fifteen my cellar started; there is a few of those 1960’s vintages still in there. We sold and drank Gold Medal winning Muscat and Tokay in flagons. Sales of Brown Brothers of Milawa slowed due to a significant price rise at the time, moving from $0.60c to $0.90c a bottle. During this period I also helped a mate’s Dad maintain a rural property for a Mr. Alan Watson. In season we would steal grapes from the adjoining property, Bailey Brothers of Glenrowan. I met Alan years later at his wine bar in Carlton where it turned out he was the son of Jimmy Watson. And of course today, I prefer the fruit from Bailey’s 1904 block fully fermented. After a very educational but academically disastrous stint at La Trobe University I had to escape the wrath of my father. I found myself picking tobacco in the King Valley for an Italian family; Fred Pizzini ran the family owned hotel in Whitfield. I saw a lot of Fred in those days; we still catch up and vaguely recall drinking his Father’s homemade grappa. Eventually I started working at Brown Brothers Cellar Door under the tutorage of Tom Seabrook. Tom came from a Wine Merchant family and his generosity of knowledge was inspirational. My time there lead to a role in sales and marketing for Brown Brothers opening markets in NSW and Queensland. Whilst Sydney based, trips to the Hunter Valley started my fascination with aged Semillon and Shiraz. My father’s attitude towards me improved but he really started to like my Wangaratta based cellar. And so my cellar’s journey began, Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Sydney, Hunter Valley and now Killcare. As did my wine travels start, with memorable visits to Rothschild, Palmer, Latour, Petrus, Yquem, Taittenger and more. The wine industry has afforded me a lot of fun and cellar acquisitions. The most recent of which reflect new influences in my life brought about through a partnership with Stefano Manfredi. It was Len Evans who said that he never drank great wine by himself and that the real joy of great wine was in the sharing
Like all good cellars mine remains a work in progress and so there is plenty there and I hope you enjoy the sharing.
Beverages include: Cocktails - Italian Bitters and Liqueurs - Tradition Sherry and Madeira – Prosecco – Champagne - Wine - Beer.
While the ever changing “Spuntini” Bar Menu includes: Prosciutto and Grissini – Vitello Tonnato Crostini – Fish Crudo – Rabbit Terrine – Potato and Taleggio Polpettine
For those wanting to avoid the 5pm “aperitivo rush” our larger and quieter library facilities are available.