Cover Camille Glass, co-founder, Brut (Photo: Karling Hamill, So Lightly Photography)

The co-founder of wine-forward neighbourhood restaurant Brut shares the labels that inspired a lifelong love, the varietal she adores above all others, and her pick when it comes to canned wine

Our By The Glass series sees sommeliers and wine experts share some vinous inspiration for your next pour.

If you’ve dined—and wined—at Brut, the restaurant Camille Glass co-founded in Sai Ying Pun, you’ll know to leave your grape varietal or region preferences at the door. Chalked on a board behind the bar are the pours of the day, but the only information that diners are provided with is the name of the wine and two or three tasting notes. It could be “kumquat, flint, lime”, or “blueberry, tomato, basil”. Glass and her team want to encourage guests to approach their drinking choices with an open mind, to explore—and hopefully enjoy—wines that they wouldn’t normally choose, and to, in other words, drink outside the box. Here, Glass shares some of the wines that her explorations have uncovered, revealing firm favourites and wines to write (home) about.

An early wine that made you go ‘Wow! I want to be a somm’

I’ll never forget my first sip of Beaujolais' icon, Jean Fouillard’s Morgon 3.14 2014. Tasting his stunning wine, in that moment, on that day all those years ago was a truly transcendent experience, ultimately resulting in my love affair with natural wines.

Most memorable pour

Without a doubt it was Arianna Occhipinti’s SP68 Bianco 2017. This wine was remarkable in every sense of the word. It was one of those wines that felt revolutionary to me. At Brut, I would see happiness flood people’s faces at first sip. I watched minds bend when I explained that this was in fact a skin contact, natural wine made from the lesser-known Sicilian grape zibbibo. I felt empowered when telling the story of its maker—a young Italian woman who began her career in wine when she was just 22 years old and has since taken the world by storm.

Tipple for a Tuesday

I’ve got a lot of love for the Public Service Piquette by Bree and Chad Stock of Limited Addition Wines. Piquettes are wines that are super low alcohol, making them perfect for a mid-week tipple. Originally known for being the “farm hand’s” drink made from leftover grape skins and water, this lighter and softer style of winemaking is starting to gain traction all over the world. If that weren’t enough, the Piquette programme that Bree and Chad have going in their hometown of Oregon also goes to supporting female farmers, regenerative agriculture, and equity and diversity in wine.

Sun, sea and …

Underwood’s Bubbly Rosé in a can. Take it to the beach, take it camping, take it on hike or bring it along to a picnic. There’s simply nothing that says “relax, you’re on holiday” more than cracking open a little tin of pure joy.

Wine of the moment

As a restaurateur it’s my responsibility to not only educate the market on how to drink more sustainably but also to curate the perfect drops for my guests, so that they can do just that. At the moment, I’m finding that grower Champagne is really hitting the spot. I’ve fallen hard for the Lamiable Souffle D’Etoiles Grand Cru. It’s a lovely blend of pinot noir and chardonnay made by a husband and wife duo who are doing their best to upgrade their winery with each harvest. The past few years have not been easy and now more than ever it feels appropriate to celebrate all the wins, big or small. Our friends in Champagne have got us covered.

What you wish a customer would order (so you can taste it—for taint, of course)

I’ve already mentioned Chad Stock in the context of his new winery, but previously, when has was at Minimus, he made a spicy and sophisticated pinot noir that is to die for. We have the last few bottles on the menu at Brut.

What you love to recommend to guests

I really love showing off our collection of South African wines by the glass. We’re lucky enough to carry a wide range of seriously impressive wines made by truly inspiring people who deserve as much recognition as they can get. Currently we’re showing a very cool chardonnay made by our friend Martin Smith of Atlas Swift Wines. My tasting notes for this wine are silken tofu and toasted hazelnuts, and it delivers just that at a price point that’s simply unbeatable.

A special something

Monte Tundu by Berrita. Cannonau is my latest grape crush, which is no surprise given that it’s a close relative of my all-time favourite varietal grenache. But there’s something extra special about the way that Sardinian winemaker Anotonio Berrita and his family bring something old yet new to life in this bottle of big bold bliss. Maybe it’s that they operate under the grandchildren's meticulous supervision out of the basement of a grocery store, or maybe it’s the distinct smell of macchia which makes it so intoxicating. I don’t know. What I do know is that it carries some sort of magic.

Bottle to bring to a dinner party

Alion 2017 Ribera Del Duero. I first tried this wine with my family in the New Territories, sat around a massive platter of paella and surrounded by love and good company. Honestly, I just about cried this wine was so good. Vega Sicilia is a legendary producer in Spain. It’s certainly not the most economical choice, but if you’re looking to make an impression, this is a sure bet.

What’s in your cellar?

All things Crushed Wines. I recently reread Jon Bonné’s The New Wine Rules and, as if I needed any convincing, was reminded of the importance of finding your perfect neighbourhood wine shop—a place where you know the folk working day in and day out and you trust them to guide you towards exactly what you’re looking for, leaving the overwhelming wine jargon at the door. I have the honour of co-owning Crushed and tasting its portfolio, but sometimes even I need a little hand holding. Leigh-Ann Luckett, [Crushed co-founder] our Crushed queen, has got my cellar covered with all my favourite gems for every occasion. Let’s just say it involves a lot of grenache.

Last glass

Before I die, I vow that I will try a DRC (Domaine de la Romanée-Conti). It’s crazy to think that I have access to so many stunning wines, but somehow, I’ve still not tried this particularly famous drop. I just want to know what all the hype is about.

If not wine, then what?

A very cold, very dirty, vodka martini.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.