Drinking Victoria: Hannah Day

Published on 5 March 2021

Photo: Chancery Lane sommelier Hannah Day

Your guide to what’s in the glass from the people in the trade.

You might know Hannah Day from her time at Rosetta or Rockpool Bar & Grill or possibly her years at Soho House in Berlin. A musical-theatre graduate and cabaret artist (hence the Berlin stint), she traded treading the boards for walking the floor and sharing her other great passion, wine. When you visit Chancery Lane, Scott Pickett’s superb new CBD finer-diner, you’ll find her front-and-centre, playing her part as sommelier and beverage manager for the restaurant to the hilt.

The last three delicious things I drank were Cocchi Americano Rosa, Hop Nation 30-G Single Hop Series Citra IPA and the glass of water I had after a busy service last night. (Kidding!) I tasted Rob Dolan’s 2019 sangiovese the other day and it was such a delicious reminder of the excellent sang we make in Victoria.

As far as I’m concerned, the defining places to get a drink in Melbourne are Carlton Wine Room or Embla. Both run their beverage programs in such an inviting and friendly way without compromising on standards of service. There is always something new to try, both by the glass and by the bottle and the spirit offerings are tight and tasty.

When someone hands me a wine list in a restaurant, I ask them what they love on the list. Hospitality for me is about passion and I love hearing what people are excited about. Hopefully, I’d be sipping on a vermouth at the same time.

The Victorian spirit I’m loving most right now is anything from Marionette. Try their Mure. It’s like adult Ribena on steroids.

There’s no better value on wine list or in a bottle-shop in this state than…This is tough. We are absolutely spoilt for choice. I love Payten & Jones VV Wine Series (magnums for just more than a pineapple, anyone?). And, of course, Rutherglen for fortified wines.

My favourite place to buy booze is… I definitely always hit up Blackhearts & Sparrows regardless of what area of Melbourne I’m in. Otter’s Promise in Armadale for all the best local craft beer and excellent beer-nerd chat. Act of Wine in Southbank for fun and funk. Prince Wine Store for the serious stuff.

I’d love to see us planting/brewing/distilling more Italian indigenous varieties in Victoria. Chalmers are leading the charge in planting and fostering these drought-resistant, hardy vines and I hope many continue to follow suit; they are the way of the future should we wish to continue drinking beautiful Australian wine. I honestly can’t wait for Victorian nerello mascalese.

My guilty pleasure in the fridge/drinks cabinet/at the bar is if not my ever-growing collection of vermouth from Casa Mariol to Maidenii, it’s definitely rosé. Contrary to the trend of the moment; the darker, the better!

The best or most important change to the way we drink in Victoria in recent years has been the focus on sustainable and well-crafted beverages. I love that we are now attributing the same attention to the growth and production of beverages that we have been for food. It’s this care and awareness that is going to serve us very well as our climate continues to change.

For me, the most inspiring person in the Victorian drinks world is… When it comes to discussing inspirational individuals within the Victorian industry, I cannot not mention Jane Lopes, the former sommelier at Attica, and Jonathan Ross by old boss at Rockpool Dining Group, without whom I would not be the hospitality professional I am today. These absolute legends are two of the most passionate people I’ve met, and such incredible advocates for Aussie wine. They have, however, returned to the US. As an aspiring writer, the dedication and insight of Max Allen and Jeni Port is unparalleled.

Hannah Day (@ohhannahday) can be found most nights splashing wine and shaking tins at Chancery Lane. Chancery Lane is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner from 6pm and Thursdays and Fridays from noon. Make your booking via chancerylane.com.au.

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