Uncorked: Tim Lang

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Caia restaurant co-founder Tim Lang one wine

Related tags Tim Lang Caia Uncorked Wine Notting hill

The co-founder of Notting Hill restaurant Caia on 1982 Pétrus, Beth Brickenden and the importance of balancing passion for wine with the art of human connection.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine
Living in Paris in 2004 inspired it all, looking back it was a dream-like sojourn that would change my life’s trajectory. Amongst the cobbled streets and cosy bistros, I discovered a world where every bottle told tales of tradition. It was a revelation sparked by a disdain for ubiquitous beer and kindled by the affordable elegance of Beaujolais, where supermarket aisles became treasure troves of delight.

Describe your wine list at Caia
Our wine list embodies a labour of love shared between myself, Caia co-founder Rishabh Vir, and wine expert Mark Chaben. Our collective passion for coastal, classic, volcanic-influenced, and wild card wines has made for a balanced selection that caters to all palates.  

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 
One disaster that comes to mind was while I was living in Paris. I remember spending days roaming markets searching for ingredients in preparation for a duck dish with orange sauce, potato dauphinoise, and the perfect wine pairing. My zealous quest for culinary perfection consumed me to the point where I neglected my date, who never saw me again. It was a sobering lesson in balancing passion for wine with the art of human connection.

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Estelle Manor (in Oxfordshire) was a recent highlight for me. In London, Mountain is always reliable for an amazing glass or bottle, and Planque’s focus on Loire Valley keeps me coming back. 

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 
Beth Brickenden. Beth’s approachable perspective on wine has left an indelible mark. As the head of wines for Street Feast and a collaborator at Fiend, her charm and Irish wit make even the most complex vintages feel like old friends. She demystifies the world of wine, inviting everyone to join in the journey. 

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve come across recently? 
A new addition to our by the glass program at Caia is the Slobodne Majer Red made by winemakers Agnes Lovecka and Mišo Kuropka in Slovakia’s Hlohovec region. During a meeting with Nick and Roman of Modal Wines, we sought a medium-bodied and intriguing red for our list, and this was their immediate recommendation. Some bottles are full and juicy, while others seem to be a bit lighter and earthier. Every bottle has proven exciting and delicious to open.         

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Tension, funky and sweet, which is often misused. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment? 
I was recently introduced to boxed wine and I’ve become a fan. We have the Valdibella Nero d’Avola on our list as our house red for £8 a glass, which is outstanding value. 

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
I’m happiest with oysters and Chablis.  

Old World or New World?
I’ve always been a fan of drinking local, and living in London gives an amazing opportunity to try some of the best wines of the Old World. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants? 
Stemless or cheap glassware, or when a wine hasn’t been decanted for long enough.  

Who is your favourite producer right now? 
My current favourite producer is Aris Blancardi of Selvadolce (in Liguria). Aris’s dedication to biodynamic farming and non-interventionist winemaking, especially with local grape varieties like Pigato and Vermentino, is truly inspiring. His wines, once featured on my wine list at Fiend, reflect a deep respect for tradition and terroir, while also showcasing his innovative spirit through experiments like skin maceration whites.  

As an co-founder, what question do you most get asked by customers?
How often do you change your wine list? We like to keep it fun and interesting, keeping in mind seasons and availability. People are surprised by how often we do tastings and introduce new wines. 

Which wine-producing region or country is underrated at the moment? 
I think Croatia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. I’ve been trying a variety of wines and producers from the area and they are making some phenomenal liquid.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 
I’ve always been a huge fan of vintage Bordeaux, so something like an 1982 Pétrus with a bistecca alla Fiorentina would suffice. 

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