Uncorked: Beth Bond

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Beth Bond The Cottage in the Wood restaurant Cumbria on wine

Related tags Beth Bond Uncorked The Cottage in the Wood Sommelier

The co-owner of Cumbria’s The Cottage in the Wood on Chinon-based producer Martine Budé, overseeing a compact list and how Radikon’s Ribolla Gialla changed her palate forever.

Tell us about the moment you first became interested in wine…
I’m not from a wine background, or one where hospitality is seen as a career. Wine at home was always red and jammy and to be drunk with whatever we were eating. It wasn’t until our sommelier at Tredwells (in Covent Garden) didn’t come to work one day that I suddenly had to quickly taste and learn enough about wine to advise our guests. Because of my science background, I was captivated by how the environment and landscape can affect the taste of wines and how every time you think you’ve understood something, another wormhole of information opens up. I was hooked.

Tell us about your wine list at The Cottage In The Wood
We’re very small with little storage space, so I have to be very selective with the list. I choose wines from small producers that care about their soil and community. I try to choose trail blazers and rebels that make statements with how they farm or produce wines. Everything needs a meaning, and I try to balance the wonderful and wacky with the well-known and approachable.  

Over the course of your career, have you had any wine-related disasters? 
I significantly under ordered pre-chosen wines for an event. I had to phone round other London restaurants and organise Ubers which showed up with minutes to spare.

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Noble Rot (all of them). The wine list Honey Spencer and Sarah Wright curated for Evelyn’s Table & The Mulwray, although they have left now. Holly Carter’s wine list at Carters of Moseley and their offshoots.

Who do you most respect in the wine world? 
That’s such a hard one, but I think all the women that are smashing it on the restaurant floor like Honey, Sarah, and Holly above, Tara Ozols, Alex Price, and many, many more. 

What’s the most interesting wine you’ve ever come across? 
I remember trying Radikon’s Ribolla Gialla for the first time and it blew my mind. It changed my palate forever.

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Lemon and stone fruits with great acidity. 

What’s the best value wine on your list at the moment 
Vanessa Cherruau’s Château de Plaisance L’Anjou Blanc. Dry Chenin made from biodynamically farmed grapes grown on schist soils from vineyards that border Grand Cru Quarts de Chaume. A steal because of its categorisation.

What is your ultimate food and drink match? 
I love spicy food, so a Thai green curry and a lovely Alsace blend with Gewurztraminer would go down well (I’m loving Josmeyer’s Fleur de Lotus at the moment). 

Old World or New World?
Old World. 

What is your pet hate when it comes to wine service in other restaurants? 
Opening bottles at the table and using wine terms that people don’t understand. 

Who is your favourite producer at the moment and why? 
I love all the wines from Martine Budé, who’s based in Chinon. She’s self-taught and runs her estate single handedly. She came into wine making later in life after reinventing herself. I love her attitude and feel her wine Renaissance captivates this feeling perfectly.

As a co-owner and sommelier what question do you most get asked by customers?  
What is natural wine? Why is my wine cloudy?

Which wine producing region or country is currently underrated at the moment and why?
Dare I say it... England. So many guests are put off when I crack open an English still wine and assume it’s going to be an acid bomb.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why? 
It would have to be my husband’s (Jack Bond, The Cottage In The Wood’s chef patron) favourite wine, Christian Tschida’s Felsen I 2015 for all our Christian Tschida memories together. I’d have it with a slow-cooked, braised beef dish and a side of his mash potato.

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