Fine wines without the fuss: Noble Rot Wine Bar
Designed to be a hub for wine in Wellington, Noble Rot is a place where wine-lovers can relax and enjoy themselves while discovering something new
It’s hard to imagine now, but when Noble Rot opened in 2016, it was the only dedicated wine bar in all of Wellington. These days, connoisseurs are spoilt for choice, but Noble Rot still stands apart thanks to its vast cellar, specialist staff and focus on classic wines, rather than trends.
Tucked away on Swan Lane, just off Cuba Street, the bar is a year-round haven. On hot days, the doors are flung open and you can bask in the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air. But Noble Rot really comes into its own in chilly weather – it’s reliably warm and cosy, with dim lighting, rich wood, elegant exposed brick and brown leather sofas to relax into.
The essence of Noble Rot is, ‘Hey, come in, relax, sit down.’ We want to serve fine wines without the fuss, without pretentiousness.
Maciej Zimny, Noble Rot Wine Bar founder and co-owner
Once you’ve made yourself comfortable, you’ll want to take your time over the wine list. There are hundreds of wines on offer, including more than 100 available by the glass. Winemaking regions from all around the world, including New Zealand, are represented; every palate is catered for. If you’re overwhelmed, award-winning sommelier Maciej Zimny – one of Noble Rot’s owners – or one of his super-knowledgeable staff is there to help.
After a snack? Pair your wine with oysters on the shell, a charcuterie board or chicken liver parfait. Or settle in for a proper meal, ordering à la carte or indulging in a seasonal dégustation menu, served with wine matches (you can choose New Zealand, international or a mixture).
Considering how universally praised Noble Rot’s food menu has been over the years, it could easily style itself as a fine-dining restaurant. But the owners have made a point of embracing the “wine bar” label instead; they want to make it clear that wine is their raison d’être.
Two years after opening, they doubled down on this passion by launching Noble Wines, which offers wine education, consultancy and supply. And yes, that means that if you try a wine you love at the bar, you can buy a bottle (or a case) to take home, right on the spot.
It’s all part of Noble Rot’s vision of being a hub for wine in Wellington, a place where wine-lovers can relax and enjoy themselves while discovering something new. Even the name is a nod to wine geeks – noble rot is a type of fungus that makes the sugar levels in grapes more concentrated, ideal for dessert wines. There’s a fact to impress your friends with as you share a bottle.
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