A Taste of Italy at Bella Venezia

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

For decades Bella Venezia has been wowing diners with authentic Italian cuisine and a killer wine list in a stunning setting. Tony Cox previews the upcoming Hello Sunshine Magazine wine lunch.

The dedicated Wine Program at Bella Venezia is unlike any other. Owner and Wine Director Todd Young curates an extensive wine list featuring different styles from varying regions and with different price points. Iconic brands feature alongside new and emerging winemakers, expertly matched and poured by a team of sommeliers led by Head Sommelier Ben Watson. 

Comprising in excess of 420 wines with more than 50 by the glass, it’s no wonder that the restaurant was recently awarded its second consecutive Three Goblets in the Australian Wine List of the Year Awards as well as an Award of Excellence – Two Goblets – from prestigious American magazine Wine Spectator. The wine list is refreshed regularly and the Coravin system enables the team to pour wine without extracting the cork or removing the cap thereby showcasing premium, hard-to-find bottlings while still maintaining superior quality. Naturally, the wine is stored in temperature-controlled wine fridges and glassware is matched to what is poured.

What better location and fare than the authentic Italian cuisine of Bella Venezia for our next Wine Lunch? To give it an even more authentic flavour Specogna Vini, based in Friuli, north-east Italy, and imported by Buderim-based Paolo Sandri of Convivium Wines, will be the wine partner for the lunch.

The menu kicks off with the expertly handmade Prawn and Spanner Crab Tortellini with Prawn Bisque and local Finger Lime paired with the Ribolla Gialla, an indigenous variety which has lifted florals and high acid, perfect for the subtlety of the seafood.

Next course is Confit Duck Leg, Roasted Carrot Puree, Red Wine and Masala Braised Cabbage and Roasted Prosciutto Jus. The wine accompanying the duck is another indigenous variety, Refosco Dal Peduncolo Rosso, which is a late-ripening variety that undergoes 15 days of maceration before seeing partial barrel aging in various sized oak. Lively, fresh and a lovely foil for the duck.

The Chocolate Nemesis to close is a combination of dark chocolate with caramelized white chocolate and with different textures, whipped vanilla mascarpone and puffed wild rice providing counters to the richness as well as textural variation. The wine to conclude the affair is Verduzzo, again an indigenous variety to north-east Italy. The grapes are left on the vine to ripen fully with high sugar levels. Naturally having a high level of tannin, the grapes are hand-picked as machine picking would lead to further tannin extraction and bitterness. Fermentation occurs in stainless steel tanks with half transferred to stainless steel and half transferred to barrel post fermentation. Regular lees stirring adds some mid-palate weight and texture which balances the phenolics at the back end of the palate.

Whether you are an old hand at Bella Venezia or yet to become acquainted, the wine lunch provides the perfect opportunity to experience the authenticity for which the restaurant is renowned. When teamed with Friulian wines, imported by locally-based Italian sommelier Paolo Sandri, the event is promising to be the best Italian lunch this side of Venezia.


Join us for A Beautiful Feast, Italian-style!

Three courses with matching Italian wines

WHEN: Wednesday 18 May, 12 noon

WHERE: Bella Venezia, 95 Mooloolaba Esplanade

Tickets: $95 per person

About the Author /

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After 25 years of sniffing, swirling, spitting and slurping various vinous temptations our wine writer has decided that his future lies firmly planted on the consumption and storytelling side. Tony not only still enjoys consulting about wine and other beverages but is now part of the successful Kate Cox Real Estate Team at Reed & Co. Estate Agents.

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