Chats with Charlie Stein #1: Wine
We recently caught up with Charlie Stein to pose some questions on one of his very favourite topics, wine. Pour yourself a glass and watch the video or scroll down to read what he had to say – including what wine is in his fridge at the moment, where’s top of his wine travel, ultimate food and wine pairing and bunking a wine myth… enjoy.
What wine is in your fridge at the moment?
My fridge, my new fridge as we’ve just moved house, is full of wine and the bottle that I’m enjoying the most is a Burgundy wine, so made of Chardonnay, called Saint-Veran. In Burgundy recently they’ve had unbelievable problems with hail and frost so the wines have become super expensive, but you can still find value in Burgundy if you look for the lesser-known appellations, so lesser-known villages and towns that make wine, and Saint-Veran in the Mâconnais is one of those. It’s under 20 pounds, it’s rich, it’s fleshy, it’s my favourite style of wine and it’s still affordable compared to some of the bigger names of Mersault and Puligny Montrachet so I stick a bottle in there cook a nice fish supper with my girlfriend Laura and that’s what I’m drinking at the moment.
Where is top of your wine travel list for 2023?
I’m very lucky to have travelled all over the world with my job but there are a couple of regions that I haven’t been to. Top of my list that one day I hope to go to, hopefully this year, is California. I’ve never been to wine regions in California (Santa Barbara or Napa) and would absolutely love to visit – perhaps in the autumn with Laura and our daughter, Romy. Another one is the Greek island of Santorini where they make amazing Assyrtiko. Really salty, saline, white wines from the grape Assyrtiko. Then Mendoza in Argentina, where they make Malbec. is also on my list – big, strong, bold red wine and the very best steak.
Those three to be top my list so will hopefully do one this year.
Ultimate food and wine pairing?
As a proper oenophile and food lover there are so many different options I could list. I could sit here for an hour and talk to you about different matches but I think the top, well certainly my favourite, is oysters and a really steely white wine like Muscadet or Chablis or Sancerre so you get the kind of briny taste of the sea of the oyster and then you match that with really precise acidity and citrus fruit of one of those wines and match made in heaven. Another strong favourite of mine is Sauternes – sweet, really luscious kind of unctuous sweet wine from Bordeaux and tarte tatin. Those two are unbelievable, and also blue cheese – so Sauternes with tarte tatin and then afterwards have the Sauternes with blue cheese. That’s just perfection.
What’s the biggest myth in the wine world?
This one is close to my heart as we run seafood restaurants, but the myth of red wine only going with meat and not fish. It’s a very English thing – when you go anywhere in Europe they don’t understand it, it’s not a myth for them because if you go to Portugal they drink chilled red wine with sardines and in France you would have Gamay with sort of salmon. I enjoy a light Pinot Noir with a dish at The Seafood Restaurant, hake casserole – so lots of autumnal flavours and then quite a light red wine. It’s one of those things that’s just it seems very British, very English, kind of why you can’t have red wine and fish but you absolutely can, it just needs to be it needs to be light so light Pinot Noir or Gamey and then you’re onto a winner.
Thanks for watching or reading and keep an eye out for more Chats with Charlie soon.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT CHARLIE
Charlie leads our business with Rick, Jill, Ed and Jack – inspiring everything we do to make our guests smile. From choosing all the drinks on our lists and hosting dinners in our restaurants to sharing his knowledge with our teams to develop their skills. There’s so much to Charlie’s role.