Find out more about the world-renowned names that make up the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards judging line-up in this Q&A series.
Martin Lam works as a food and wine consultant and was chef-proprietor of London restaurant Ransome’s Dock from 1992 up until it closed in 2013. He previously worked as L’Escargot’s head chef, and in 1981 he opened Le Caprice with Chris Corbin and Jeremy King.
Read our interview with Martin Lam below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
I am very happy with the one I got – the 1950s – other times are always interesting, but one should not wish one’s life away!
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
18, in 1973, with Giles de Maré of Harveys of Bristol. Sauvignon de Saint-Bris, Harveys Chilean Cabernet and Gigondas were the wines he introduced me to whilst I was cooking at the Beaujolais Restaurant in Bath.
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
Far fewer than you might think. Having just sold my restaurant after almost 22 years, the cellar has been mostly sold off, so time to start a new one!
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
43 years. Washing up aged 15 in Bristol whilst still at school!
☆ Which wine do you wish you’d bought a whole case of?
Château Haut-Brion 1982.
☆ 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?
Jura. Going back to the wines of this region after more than 20 years, it’s fascinating to see how the ‘next’ generation is reinterpreting their very particular traditional methods (flor etc) as well as making some thoroughly modern wines.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
Jancis Robinson MW and Hugh Johnson.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
My 40th birthday party at Ransome’s Dock, with a great group of friends and wines from 1955 by Stephen Browett.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
Echezeaux from Henri Jayer or Domaine de la Romanée-Conti – with my family, all of whom love good Pinot!
☆ What’s the highest number of wines you’ve had on one of your wine lists?
☆ What is the oldest bottle of wine you’ve served?
Probably a Tokaji from the 1800s for a customer’s 50th at Ransome’s Dock. Otherwise, 1904 Terrantez Madeira from d’Oliviera.
☆ What do you enjoy most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
Learning from one’s co-panellists every year, and Peter Richard MW’s jokes.
For more information on this year’s competition, including how to enter, visit the Decanter World Wine Awards website
Written by Decanter
Martin Lam is a mentor of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, a member of The Master Chefs of Great