Kirsten Dickie and Virginia Selleck are moving at light speed. The pair launched their smart and thoughtfully curated online wine store Magnum + Queens in 2017. In May last year they turned it into a physical store in South Melbourne. And now, not only can you pick up top drops to take away, the intimate space doubles as a wine bar.
Selleck, a veteran sommelier who’s put together lists at wine-centric diners Rockpool, Cumulus Inc, Stokehouse, Bellota and the now-closed Wilson & Market, and Dickie (Marios, De Los Santos, Cicciolina), want visitors to linger. The tiny space has slate-green walls, warm lighting and a charcoal-grey communal table, and you can pull up a stool or perch on a sunny table outside.
Wine from the almost 700 bottles on the shelves is available to drink in-house, with a $10 corkage fee for anything less than $60. A Coravin (a preservation system that drills through the cork to reach the wine without opening the bottle) means you can try some of the more special drops by the glass too, alongside familiar locals and more everyday wines.
“We tend to have three whites by the glass, three reds by the glass, a rosé and two bubbles,” says Selleck. “We have a really nice mix of customers. Some that just want to have $20 to $30 bottles, and we have others that come in and they’re happy to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a bottle.”
If the options become overwhelming, Selleck is there to lend a hand. For an unusual drink, she might lead you to a Wildman Wine Astro Bunny pét-natfrom South Australia (which has elements of strawberries and cream) or a zingy gruner veltliner by CRFT Wines.
For something more accessible, try a light, red-fruit driven Ampel pinot noir from Tasmania’s Tamar Valley or the André Clouet champagne from Bouzy, France. Then pair any drop with a wodge of rich and buttery Brillat-Savarin triple-cream brie, crisp black truffle potato chips, or a tin of salty Ortiz anchovies with crostini.
In addition to the wine bar, Dickie and Selleck have introduced “The Queens Tasting Table”, a wine-tasting event held every Saturday from 12pm to 2pm. It’s an opportunity to hear from growers and producers and taste drops that you wouldn’t normally reach for.