Paul Morgan owner and wine buyer Fourth & Church restaurant and bar in Hove

Tell us about when you first became interested in wine
Parents’ dinners in the 1970s. Campari, vermouth and medium Riesling that were all mischievous treats to enjoy when the adult’s back was turned. Then a serious bottle of Morgon Cru Beaujolais – the producer escapes me but the wine was delicious – as I was an apprentice chef enjoying a special dinner in the restaurant where I worked in Wales.

Tell us about your wine list at Fourth and Church
We offer you a wine list that we like to drink and which changes every day. We use many suppliers and try to always be a little different, moving away from big-ticket bottles with a lean towards sherry, leftist Spain, Italy and lots of German Riesling. The latter is a growing obsession for me and my business partner and chef Sam Pryor: Fourth and Church Fourth was recently named National Winner of the #31 Days of German Riesling campaign for 2022.

During your career, have you had any wine-related disasters?
A personal disaster occurred following a stay in Alsace. I came back with some very nice bottles that were added to a wall-mounted wine rack in the basement of a house we were renting at the time. It was just before Christmas, and I had added several more bottles in anticipation of a wonderful festive break. In hindsight I should have paid more attention to the wall fixings because at work I received a very stressed phone call from my wife informing me that she was ankle deep in broken glass after losing about 30 bottles from my modest but super interesting collection. of bottles.

Name your top three restaurant wine lists
Auberge de l’Ill (in Illhaeusern, Alsace). I have a soft spot for Alsace wines and this list is so special if you want to dig deep into the region. La Carbona (in Jerez). An amazing selection of Sherry from El Marco de Jerez and beyond. Such a brilliant choice and value by the glass, including rarities. This must be followed by a visit to Casa del Jerez on Calle Divina Pastora, to decide what to take home, while tasting rama fino from casks from the shop. (Andrew Edmunds (in Soho). Always good options for good drinking in central London, never frills, just delicious lunches.

Who do you respect the most in the world of wine?
Beltrán Domecq is a true gentleman and ambassador of Jerez wines. A source of knowledge and a fascinating man to talk to.

What is the most interesting wine you have ever encountered?
As an avid Sherry drinker, I’m very happy to have received a bottle of Raya Cortado from Bodega Yuste. It is a single cask Oloroso which, during the hot summer of 2022, developed a veil of flower unheard of in the production of Oloroso. This is a very rare event that is still under investigation! Haven’t tasted it yet but will open it with a few like-minded colleagues.

What are the three most overused tasting notes?
Creamy and reductive. Not a tasting note as such, but I’m also sick of the residual sugar conversations.

What’s the best wine on your list right now?
Some great wines from Gattinara (in Piedmont). If you love Nebbiolo, there are some fantastic wines at a fraction of the price of Barolo.

What is your ultimate food and drink pairing?
Iced manzanilla on a hot day alongside the best tortillitas de camarones, always at Casa Balbino in Plaza del Cabildo in Sanlúcar de Barrameda.

Old World or New World?
I keep an open mind to everything.

What does your pet hate about wine service at other restaurants?
Not reading the customer, understanding the budget, tastes and comfort levels. If you’re wrong, it’s really disappointing. If you succeed, the journey begins.

Who is your favorite producer right now and why?
We enjoy the different vintages of Chenin Blanc from Domaine François Chidaine in Montlouis-sur-Loire. It produces many different styles that work with all sorts of food pairings or are just delicious on their own.

As a restaurant owner, what is the question that customers ask you the most?
Is it dry? Is the rose pale?

Which wine region or country is currently underestimated and why?
Greece. World class wines at all price points, learning is interesting with difficult pronunciations.

It’s your last meal and you can have a bottle of any wine in the world. What is it and why?
I think it might need something like a Niederhauser Hermannshohle, Auslese from Weingut Dönnhoff with some age, I recently had the chance to try the 2010 vintage which was so complex and complex. As this is my last meal, I would also have foie gras and a lightly poached Comice pear.

About Michael Brafford

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