Spicing Up The Wine List at Carlton’s Lagoon Dining with Chris Lerch

Hospitality friends and now business partners Chris Lerch and Keat Lee met while working at Ezard; now they’re the duo running Lagoon Dining in Carlton and talk to us about the wine list and how its inspired by the spice driven menu.

“Our list is a blend of classic styles with less known varieties and varied wine making styles,” says Chris Lerch.

“It’s important our list is approachable from a price point and we never want our list to feel intimidating,” he says. “It also reflects our interests and preferences of wine styles, varieties, flavours and producers. Often the wines that we enjoy drinking are most likely to be received well by our guests,” says Lerch.

You’ll find a 2021 La Busattina ‘San Martino’, Trebbiano Blend from Tuscany on the wine list – inspired by a lunch they enjoyed at an Italian restaurant.

“We drank the wine eating mafaldine with crab and sea urchin, which has a strong, umami flavour. The trebbiano was amber in colour, super fresh with intriguing complexity,” says Lerch.

“The wine worked perfectly with the pasta and we thought it would also sit nicely alongside our charcoal roasted char siu with spiced tare,” he says.


CHRIS: I tend to always navigate towards fresh and aromatic varieties with texture and varied weight such as Riesling and Chenin Blanc.

KEAT: We recently listed 2022 Entropy Echo white which is a blend of Savagnin and Pinot Gris. The wine has a little texture with cooking apple and herbaceous notes.


We definitely drink more white and orange wine since opening Lagoon Dining. These styles of wines are more suited to the flavour profile of our menu


I was first introduced to xarello when I was working at an Iberian restaurant years ago. Xarello is a white wine grape variety from Catalonia Spain and is one of three varieties used in the production of Spain’s sparkling wine Cava. We recently listed two wines from producers which make high quality xarello into still wines.


2020 Bodega Clandestina ‘Blanc Fugitiu’, Xarelo Catalonia, Spain. 50 year old Xarello vines that have seen a fair bit of skin contact once the fruit was plucked. From stainless, to oak and finally to rest in amphora, this wine is full of rockmelon, orange, sage and wet stones.

2021 Valldolina, Xarelo, Penedes, Spain. Organic Xarello from a remote, high altitude mountain range in Penedès. Planted on limestone, this is fresh and mineral yet serious.


Public Wine Shop in Fitzroy North. Local wine bar with an ever changing by the glass list, served along side tasty share plates, charming and knowledgeable staff.


Café Paci in Sydney. The food is moreish and interesting, perfectly seasoned flavours with varied cooking techniques. I am mostly unfamiliar with their wine list and I love that I am often introduced to producers and grape varieties not as commonly known. Staff are super knowledgeable, passionate and available to help guide you through the experience.


Often reading a wine list you can feel a sense of what the venue is about. After a welcoming, the wine list is often the next step in an introduction to a venue. It’s important to make a good impression straight off the bat. I like to mix things up when I’m drinking so I love seeing a varied by the glass offering.


I think there are no rules when ordering wine and it’s important to drink what you like. If you’re unsure of a variety or not familiar with a producer, then it’s good to ask to learn more. As a venue we want you to be having the best possible experience and the decisions you make around wine can influence this. Asking a venue ‘is this wine good’ always makes me chuckle. We don’t have bad wines on our list. Everything is tasted and considered.


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