☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
I wish I could have been born in the 1960’s as I would have been able to afford top Bordeaux, Burgundy and Madeira! Now I would need to win the Euromillions or find a generous sponsor!
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
I was 22 years old and studying for my ‘Mention Complementaire Sommellerie’ in Talence near Bordeaux. Our class patron was Le Comte Alexandre de Lur Saluces and he invited us for dinner at Château Yquem. I can still remember him showing us around the castle and the wines we were served.
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
I have a meagre 200 bottles – far too few in my opinion! My most recent addition was a few bottles of Madeira – the 2000 Barbeito Single Harvest Medium Dry Colheita.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
I have been working in the wine industry for 18 years. My first job was as assistant head sommelier for Lucknam Park in Wiltshire.
☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
The 1978 Barbaresco Riserva from the Produttori del Barbaresco.
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
Probably South Africa, though mostly through tasting and meeting winemakers in London. There is a very exciting dynamic in the Cape. They are moving away from labelling single varietals and are trying to express the personality of their terroir through white and red blends.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
Gerard Basset MS MW. He has all of the major wine qualifications possible and he managed to achieve them at the same time as running several successful businesses. More importantly, he remains modest, down to earth, approachable and very supportive of everyone within the wine industry.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
An Alvarinho drunk with freshly caught oysters and grilled razor clams in the middle of a vineyard in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
If I could get my hands on a bottle, I would love to share a Terrantez from the 1800’s with my friends and family.
☆ What’s the highest number of wines you’d had on one of your wine lists?
☆ What is the oldest bottle of wine you’ve served?
The one that comes to mind first is a 1928 Château d’Yquem.
☆ What do you enjoy most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
The DWWA offers a great opportunity to taste wine with fellow professionals and to exchange opinions and ideas about the wines and the wine trade in general.