Every year since 2001, Craig Bancroft and his team of sommeliers have had a tough job on their hands. The annual Obsession festival invites the best chefs from all over the world to create bespoke, one-off menus for lucky diners. Each dinner also features a perfectly matched wine flight, which needs to be all but confirmed in advance. Luckily, Northcote’s wine cellar of over 400 bins, which Craig has painstakingly curated and developed over the past thirty-three years, is the ultimate resource for any sommelier. This, combined with Craig’s expert knowledge, results in perfect pairings which showcase the more unusual or lesser known vintages in the restaurant’s vaults.
‘The experience of having fifteen years of food matching with the 108 chefs that have come through our doors during Obsession, with all their different styles from different continents, means we’ve got a really good understanding of what does and doesn’t work,’ says Craig. ‘They’re not necessarily what I would call the champion wines of the world, because we feel there has to be a level of economics that’s sensible for the part of the world we live in. But the main driver of the list is to offer a complete exposure of the countries that are producing great wine.’