A Bottle With
— The Series #1
Meet Our First Guest
Santiago Lastra. Born in Mexico, Santiago first began cooking when he was 15, having found a recipe for a crab dip in a Ritz cracker box. Cooking professionally was love at first sight for him, and he began travelling the world.
For years, he lived the life of a nomad chef, working at some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Mugaritz and Noma. These days, it's the English that are the lucky ones, as Santiago has settled in London to open KOL Restaurant.
"Serving a wine to a table is not about the notes, or what we think the profile of the wine is, it’s about the people behind it — telling the story — what’s the background of these people that make this juice? Because that is what you’re drinking."
We first met Santiago back in winter 2019 on a bus, travelling through Austria and Slovakia on a vineyard tour for wine professionals. After chatting for just a couple of minutes, we were bowled over by the pure enthusiasm and unadulterated joy he has for the world of natural wine. We were fortunate to experience his cooking firsthand — he made a feast for us when we visited Slobodné in Slovakia. We didn't know at the time that this winery has a special place in his heart — these were his lightbulb wines. The winemakers are the people behind his four house wine cuvées at KOL, which feature labels inspired by Mexican lottery tickets.
Hear his story, learn about the Indigenous Mexican farmers and ingredients he works with, and experience his love for wine for yourself, together with us.
Cutis Pinoter. This wine is one of our obsessions: it's the kind of wine that makes you wonder why you haven't been drinking orange wine more often. Equal parts soothing, equal parts energising, this is the kind of wine that will stay on your mind for a long time. Think Angostura bitters, fresh cut flowers, lime pith and a twist of salt... yes please.
Smetana. We're lucky to feature this wine in our July Wine Club. This wine shows the gentler, creamier side of Grüner Veltliner. Think natural Greek yoghurt with fresh chunks of pineapple and a spicy twist, but still with that hallmark freshness the variety is famous for. A grown-up Piña Colada. Indeed, ‘Smetana’ means creamy in Czech, but it’s also a nod to the famous Czech classical composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884), who is pictured on the label.
Traja Boxeri. This is the ultimate wine for scorching heat. It shows Sauvignon in an alternative light — mineral and lemony, this is still all about freshness and vibrancy, but with a deeper, more complex side. With a textural sappy edge of wild herbs, this is a summer salad's best friend. Get the herbs, halloumi and mustard dressing ready!
Behind the Bottle:
Slobodné — Slovakia
The farm of the Slobodné quartet is called Zemianske Sady, and is located near Hlohovec in Slovakia. The family has an incredible story—they were able to reclaim their land post-communism thanks to some historical papers that had been left in a basement in Prague many moons ago.