Uncorked: Natalie Demetriou

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Lost in the Lanes founder Natalie Demetriou on wine

Related tags Natalie Demetriou Lost in the Lanes Uncorked Brighton Wine

The founder of Brighton’s Lost in the Lanes on Michael Schuster, Sussex sparkling and Domaine Romanée Conti 1945.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine
In my early 20s my sister bought me a wine appreciation course with Michael Schuster. It ran over several days around a kitchen table and it changed everything. I probably knew the least about wine there but I came to understand so much in just a few evenings with him.  

Describe your wine list at Lost in the Lanes 
For want of a more exciting word I will call it approachable. It is small, considered and I hope it encompasses a range of favourites, tastes and all at a good, fair price point.  

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
Opening bottles in my early days of operating was always a very clumsy affair as I don’t have a hospitality background. 

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
In Brighton and Hove I absolutely love the wines at Wild Flor, Fourth and Church and our neighbours Plateau. 

Who do you most respect in the wine world?
It would be invidious to select a single wine maker so I’m going to plump for Jancis Robinson whose writing has inspired me and many others to try wines we’d never otherwise have encountered.

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently? 
Perhaps it’s the lovely weather that’s finally arrived but I’m obsessed with Sussex sparkling wines at the moment and in particular Dermot Sugrue’s South Downs. Also Breaky Bottom by another fabulous winemaker, Peter Hall.

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Silky, flabby and fruit bomb. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment? 
I believe all our wines represent good value,  they are ‘firm favourites’ that we know and love but the individual stories behind them are what make them special, be it from single blocks, family run independent farms or organically grown. If I had to choose one I would say it is the Loveblock TEE. From the veteran New Zealand wine makers Erica and Kim Crawford. This is truly their ‘love project’, producing a unique take on a wine that is many people’s Friday night favourite, Sauvignon Blanc. In terms of production it is breaking boundaries, using green tea in place of sulphur to preserve their single vineyard organically-grown grapes.

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
Grilled fish by the harbour at dusk with Santorini Assyrtiko. Preferably Hatzidakis. 

Old World or New World?
I really can’t choose – with roots in New Zealand, Greece and England I would feel too disloyal. Have you tasted the wines from Waiheke Island?  

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants? 
Always asking the man at the table to taste. 

Who is your favourite producer right now?
Apart from the already mentioned Dermot Sugrue and Peter Hall, I recently came across Piedmont-based producer Vigne Marina Coppi, who makes some great wines including whites made with the quite rare Timorasso grape.

As a restaurateur, what question do you most get asked by customers?
Is it a dry wine?

Which wine producing region or country is underrated at the moment?
Switzerland. There are some wonderful whites - including those made with Petite Arvine – that are interesting and easy to drink. The production is quite small and so not much finds its way over here.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 
Probably Domaine Romanée Conti. Maybe a 1945. It’s like drinking violets. 

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