Michael Broadbent celebrates 400th Decanter column

  • Friday 24 September 2010

A delightful evening here at Decanter HQ this week saw a select gathering to commemorate the 400th contribution of our doyen of columnists, Michael Broadbent.

Michael Broadbent
Michael Broadbent Mouton Rothschild 1982 Michael Broadbent's 400th column Dinner, Decanter, Blue Fin Building, London 23 September 2010

A delightful evening here at Decanter HQ this week saw a select gathering to commemorate the 400th contribution of our doyen of columnists, Michael Broadbent.

It was sobering to think that some of the highlights we were reminiscing about spanned the entire lifetime of some of the younger members of the Decanter staff.

Michael was in tremendous form, jousting with fellow columnist Steven Spurrier, along with venerable wine merchants Simon Berry and Adam Brett-Smith, of Berry Bros & Rudd and Corney & Barrow respectively, swapping amusing anecdotes from their time in the wine world.

The evening was a distillation of Michael’s illustrious decades in wine.

The wine list, put together by Decanter’s publishing director Sarah Kemp, included his favourite wines: Mouton 1982 in magnum (‘So fresh it might have been ten years younger,’ Spurrier said), as well as Chateau Climens 1971: ‘At its peak but will go on,’ said Michael.

On the terrace guests drank Champagne Pol Roger, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 1990 in magnum. Then there was a Corton-Charlemagne, Bonneau du Martray 2003, the Mouton, the Climens, and finally Graham’s Port 1970.

Freddy Price, one of Broadbent’s oldest friends, was one of the guests. ‘We go back to 1955,’ he told Decanter, ‘when we used to have a little tasting club. It was wonderful, and it set us all up.’

He said the evening was a delight. ‘I can’t say which was the best wine. They were all so completely appropriate to whatever was served.’

Also at the dinner was Janet Stansfield, Broadbent’s amanuensis who has typed up almost every one of his columns.

Ian Harris of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, veteran wine journalist and foodie – and husband of Kemp – Brian St Pierre, and Decanter editor Guy Woodward completed the small party on the 10th floor of the Blue Fin Building in Southwark.

It was sad, though, not to see Michael’s wife Daphne, a familiar figure to readers, by his side. Laid low by a heavy cold , we wish her a speedy recovery.

Perhaps Michael should have taken home a sample of some of the wines as a recuperative aid.

The Mouton ‘82 alone would surely do the trick.

Panel tastings

Wine labels from some of the world's most famous wines

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