Drinking Victoria: Jack Shaw and Pete Baxter

Published on 19 August 2021

Photo: Pete Baxter and Jack Shaw (photograph: Isabella Connelly)

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

Pete Baxter and Jack Shaw are the driving forces behind what's on pour at Hope St Radio, the wine bar and restaurant they opened earlier this year in the new Collingwood Yards arts precinct. If the waiting list for a table is anything to go by, Hope St is the northside's new favourite establishment. Under the guidance of chef Ellie Bouhadana, the Baxter and Shaw offer an ever-evolving menu that conjures a wholesome, neighbourhood energy, along with one of the most exciting natural wine lists in the city. If you haven’t been into Hope St just yet, you may recognise Baxter from his time behind the counter at Northcote wine shop Samuel Pepys. Shaw, meanwhile, spent the better half of 2020 cooking free meals for people during Victoria's multiple lockdowns out of the kitchens of Good Gnocchi. Both of them are passionate about drinking and sharing wines made with minimal additives. If that's your flavour and you ever find yourself looking for booze inspiration, then look no further than what the pair post on Instagram; they drink broadly and often. 

The last three delicious things I drank were…
Jack Shaw:2019 Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Hommage à Marguerite. It feels a little "no duh!" to include this bottle, because any 1er Cru Saint Aubin is obviously going to be wonderful. This bottle has everything going for it. Complex and elegant, poise and power, warm rich spice and just enough acid. Very sexy business.

La Ferme Du Plateau’s 2018 FouzyTout is a potion of cab franc, chenin, and grolleau via Liz Carey of Vivant Selections. Pete and I have shared a number of these in the last couple of months, but the best setting has been knackered after a Sunday service with a meal of shellfish and small birds at Supper Inn.

And the 2020 Express Winemakers Chenin Blanc really knocked my socks off. Totally precise and invigorating acid with really full and developed apple and pithy lemon. A 50ml taste of this makes a great straightener.

Pete Baxter: 2011 Le Vigne de Babass Roc Cab. A nice story about this bottle: I started working at a wine store in 2017 and we sold this bottle cheap, because the reduction on the nose could clear a room. If you left it open an hour or so the smell blew off and the wine was great. We recently tasted the current 2019 vintage and I asked Halle aux Vins if there was still any of the infamous 2011 around. They said they had a couple of cases left they weren't sure what to do with. I asked if we could taste a bottle, having a psychic intuition that it would be delicious. We snapped up the last few cases; it’s amazing to see a wine transform over the years. Right now it’s clean on the noise and the palate, with a cool, spritzy, beetroot kinda thing happening, Black Forest notes and a really refreshing finish.

Marto’s 2019 Al Dente. A blend of pinot noir and pinot gris from the Rheinhausen. Just so yum, I could drink this anytime, anywhere.

And 2019 Serragghia di Giotto & Gabrio Bini Bianco Zibibbo.I drank this in bed watching RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars season six and it was perfect.

As far as I’m concerned, the defining place to get a drink in Victoria is…
JS: The wine list at Bar Liberty is comprehensive, exciting, and affordable and the food is consistently delicious. What makes this the defining place to get a drink for me, though, is the service. You could drink the same bottle at home, and it would taste half as good without frequent table visits from Nick, Dominic, or Josh (who between them account for the three warmest smiles in Melbourne hospitality). What’s good wine without good people to share it with? 

When someone hands me a wine list in a restaurant, I…
JS: Look for Lambrusco!
PB: Say thank you!

There’s no better value on a wine list or in a bottle-shop in this state than …
PB: I had a look at a nearby bottle shop, Hops and Vine in Warrandyte for fun the other day and stumbled upon a 1998 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Shiraz in the rack for $60. It was so cool to try this wine. Elegant and leathery but with silky fine tannins and still a little raspberry fruit. Past its recommended drinking age, perhaps, and it's not at all my normal style of wine, but I loved it and it felt special drinking a wine that is almost 25 years old. (For anyone who’s interested, there were still a couple of bottles left last time I checked.) 

My favourite place to buy booze is…
JS: Public Wine Shop. As someone who is also prone to superlatives, I really respond to the way Campbell Burton talks about wine. There is a standard of quality here that is really impressive. Every bottle in the building is exceptional and the service is personable and generous. Even just visiting to browse is a pleasure.

My guilty pleasure in the fridge/drinks cabinet/at the bar is…
JS: Heaps Normal Quiet XPA. The only reason this is a guilty pleasure is the sheer volume I’m consuming at the moment. This is my primary mode of hydration.

The best or most important change to the way we drink in Victoria in recent years has been…
PB:I think over the last 10 years a wonderful thing that has changed is that people care about the winemaking process a lot more these days. When I was working at Cumulus Inc back in 2009/2010, no one was asking if a wine was biodynamically grown, filtered or if it contained added sulphites. It was all based on variety and region. The fact that people care now about sustainable farming and minimal additives in wine pushes everyone to be better.

I’d love to see us planting/brewing/distilling more  
JS: Apples. I love Calvados, and would be stoked to stock a proper, locally made Normandy-style Calvados at Hope St Radio.

For me, the most inspiring person in the Victorian drinks world is …
JS: I couldn’t pick just one, so I'll have to tell you about my top three: Rhen Dodd. He's a legend, and Ephemera Wines are consistently interesting and beautiful, and many of my most cherished recent meals were at his restaurant, Faye. I love to go for BYO dinners with Moira Tirtha, and her magazine, Veraison, has such a fresh and exciting voice. And Charlie Osborne of Dazma wine is a great friend whose passion is admirable and contagious.

Hope St Radio, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood, hopestradio.community and @hopestradio.

 


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