Cellar and Bar
The glass-walled, temperature controlled wine cellar is a feature of Bells at Killcare Restaurant & Bar, housing an impressive collection of both Australian
and Italian wines. The Australian part of the list is dominated by wines of the New South Wales Hunter Valley, reflecting the regionality of our property
and our long association with the world-famous wine region.
Diners can enjoy eclectic finds from my longstanding collection or browse the list, featuring Australian, Italian and French labels.
In national competition, our wine list is one of several restaurants to hold a top accolade of “3 Glasses”. The independent criteria of assessment are 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 lifetime 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 favourites. 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.
With more than 300 wines on the list and numerous awards, our Cellar is an experience of tastes and history.
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. 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.
Bar opens from 5pm daily for aperitivi. Enjoy the Italian passion for aperitivi with a delicious bar menu of tasting plates of spuntini (little snacks) Italian style.
An aperitivo is a drink served before a meal to stimulate appetite and is traditionally served with something small to eat. Our wine list and bar menu will amply accommodate both these activities. 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.