Passion & Grapes
Pinot Plus truly is one of those unique little gems; it’s not just a wine bar, it’s not just a restaurant - this is the living embodiment of owner John Ingle’s passion, love and taste for good wine.
The passion is infectious. As soon as you enter this little hole-in-the-wall, you can’t help but be overcome by John’s warm welcome as he shows you to your seat, waxing lyrical the various wines, flavours, tannins, grapes and regions that are his current favourites, and he’s only too happy to share a glass, a bottle or a story with you.
2012 is the worldwide year of Riesling – a fact John plans to jump a-hold-of loudly and proudly; it’s becoming a personal crusade to show the world the virtue of this often overlooked grape.
In John’s own words: “It’s the most undervalued wine in the world, and it’s the best value wine in the world.”
It’s true, Riesling is often overlooked but there’s no chance of that happening with John and his Pinot Plus.
For the last year, he’s had three very special boxes of wine sitting in his cellar waiting for their debut. Identical grapes were sent to 20 of New Zealand’s top winemakers who were asked to do with the grapes what they will and produce their own signature Riesling. In total, only 200 boxes of the wine were made, and John has managed to secure a few for his customers to try.
“This is really special - the grapes are exactly the same, so what you’re tasting is solely the winemaker’s interpretation.”
When you walk into Pinot Plus, you get the full story and you get a tasting from John’s pick of the bunch. Because it’s so rare he refuses to sell it by the bottle, but if you’re lucky he might share a glass with you.
It’s these personal touches, and John’s obvious pleasure in sharing his wine and knowledge with you, that lend Pinot Plus its unique flair. John was named Sommelier of the Year 2005 at the Lewisham Awards – and it’s blindingly obvious he’s one of the top in the industry.
The wines are boutique, it’s unlikely there will be any of the labels you’re familiar with, but that’s John’s challenge – he’s not here to keep you comfortable, but to help you discover something new and share what he has to offer.
Good wine accompanies good food and a small, but carefully selected, menu of sharing plates, mains and desserts has been created to match the distinguished wine list.
The idea is to order a few plates as you sit and relax with friends, enjoy the conversation and fine wine while sharing the food. Of course, the sharing plates can be upgraded to a main if you prefer.
The food and wine pairing is honestly beautiful – Pinot Plus know what they are doing.
For 2012, there’s a new dinner promotion: a selected main and matching glass of wine for $25. The current special is a beautifully flavoured Chicken Kiev on herb risotto with tomato pesto. This is paired to perfection with Pick and Shovel Pinot Gris. The meal, the wine, that price… this is a special deal. If you and your partner are hungry, go down and see John for a first class meal and glass of wine each for $50. You can’t beat that.
As the quote on the wall says: “Life’s too short to drink bad wine.”
Open: dinner Tue-Sat, 5.30pm till late.
Pinot Plus, 168 Hurstmere Road, 489 9510.