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Decanter contributors

Steven Spurrier Fiona Beckett John Stimpfig James Lawther MW Michael Broadbent Andrew Jefford Hugh Johnson Poh Tiong Ch'ng Stephen Brook Brian St Pierre Linda Murphy

Steven Spurrier

Steven Spurrier joined the wine trade in 1964 as a trainee with Christopher and Co, London’s oldest wine merchant. In 1970 he moved to Paris where he opened Les Caves de la Madeleine, which rapidly achieved recognition as one of the most highly regarded specialist wine shops in Paris. In 1973 he opened L’Academie du Vin, France’s first private wine school, and went on to stage the famous Paris Tasting of 1976, when a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California scored more highly than some of the most prestigious wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux.

In 1988 Spurrier returned to the UK where he became a wine consultant and journalist. Today his roles include a director of The Christie’s Wine Course, which he founded with Christie’s Education in 1982, wine consultant to Singapore Airlines and consultant editor to Decanter, to which he contributes monthly. He has received several international awards for wine writing including the Bunch Prize and Le Prix de Champagne Lanson, both for his articles in Decanter. He is the author of several books on wine, and his latest, The Clarke-Spurrier Guide to Fine Wine (Websters International Publishers, 1998), was updated and reissued in 2001. That same year Spurrier was awarded Le Grand Prix de l’Academie Internationale du Vin (only the third time the award has been made since its creation in 1982) and The Maestro Award in honour of André Tchelistcheff. In 1988 he was made Le Personalité de l’Année (Oenology) for his services to French wine.


Fiona Beckett

Contributing food editor Fiona Beckett writes our regular features on food and wine matching and is the one we send to the front line when challenging food and wine pairings are required.

She’s also an award-winning journalist who has written regularly for many of the UK’s leading newspapers including The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Mail. In 2002 she was nominated Food Journalist of the year by the UK Guild of Food Writers. She has written 15 books about food and wine including How to Match Food and Wine, Cooking with Wine and Wine by Style.

Her latest project is her recently launched website www.matchingfoodandwine.com which also includes pairings with beer, cocktails and other drinks.


John Stimpfig

John is an award-winning writer who began writing about wine in 1994. Currently, he also writes for The FT’s How to Spend It Magazine, Harpers and The Oxford Times. He has also written for the Observer, Financial Times, Sunday Times and Investors Chronicle as well as Wine International, FOOD & WINE, Reuters, Londinium, Queste and various other titles. In addition, he has contributed to several websites including Reuters City, Thomas Cook, Sainsbury’s Taste for Life and The Restaurant Game.

John has a Diploma (Honours Pass) from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, is a member of the Circle of Wine Writers and is a Contributing Editor to Decanter Magazine.

In 2001, John won The Lanson Wine Writer of The Year Award. In 2002, he collected The Glenfiddich Wine Writer of the Year Award and in 2005, won the inaugural Louis Roederer International Wine Writer of the Year Award.

He also runs Taste-In Ltd (www.taste-in.com), which organises private and corporate wine tasting events. John is 47 and lives in Oxford with his wife and three children.


James Lawther MW

James Lawther has lived and worked in France for the past 20 years, and has been based in Bordeaux since 1996. He sold wine at Steven Spurrier’s Les Caves de la Madeleine in Paris in the 1980s, and has lectured at the Academie du Vin. His early career also involved stints as cellarhand in Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Roussillon and Western Australia. He became a Master of Wine in 1993. He is a contributing editor to Decanter and regularly writes and lectures on wine and acts as a guide in the vineyards of France. He is the author of the Bordeaux Wine Companion and the Bordeaux section of the Global Encyclopedia of Wine.

Andrew Jefford

In the late 1980s Andrew Jefford jumped at the opportunity to combine his passions for wine and writing, and has since gone on to become a successful freelance drinks journalist and broadcaster, in particular for Decanter, Evening Standard and BBC Radio Four.

He has written eleven books on wine, and won praise and accolades from critics worldwide for his most recently published title The New France.


Poh Tiong Ch’ng

Poh Tiong Ch’ng is the publisher of The Wine Review, South-east Asia’s oldest wine magazine (since 1991), and the world’s first Guide to Bordeaux in Chinese. Poh Tiong also works as a consultant. His clients include Singapore’s FairPrice & Liberty Supermarkets, Conrad International Singapore and, prior to the opening of their Hong Kong office, Berry Bros & Rudd of 3 St. James’s Street, LOndon. Poh Tiong is also the founder of the Lianhe Zaobao Wine Review Annual Wine Challenge, Singapore’s first, independent wine competition.


Stephen Brook

After many years as a publisher’s editor, in both the US and Britain, Stephen Brook became a freelance writer in 1982, specialising in travel and wine. His Liquid Gold: Dessert Wines of the World won the André Simon Award in 1987 while Sauternes and the Other Sweet Wines of Bordeaux (Faber, 1995) is now the standard work on the subject. His other wine books include Pauillac, and the Mitchell Beazley Pocket Guide to Sweet Wines (with John Radford). Other awards include the Wines of France award in 1995, the Bunch Award for wine writer of the year in 1996, and the Glenfiddich, Lanson, and Veuve Clicquot awards for his book The Wines of California (1999). His Bordeaux: People, Power, Politics has taken two major American awards. The Wines of Germany is his latest book, and he has just finished revising the new edition of the Hugh Johnson Wine Companion. He has contributed travel articles to many newspapers and magazines and writes regularly for Decanter, to which he is a contributing editor. His articles on food and restaurants have appeared in Food & Travel, The Cigar Aficionado, The Financial Times, and other publications.

Brian St Pierre

Brian St Pierre is Decanter’s restaurant critic. An American who’s lived in London for 17 years, as well as being a Contributing Editor for Decanter, he has written ten books on food, wine, and travel.

Brian grew up in the restaurant and catering business, then cooked and wrote, in New York and several other places before ending up, happily, in San Francisco in the mid-’70s. He wrote for several newspapers, especially the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times and the Sunday Telegraph in England, Gourmet and The Wine Spectator, the California Wine Institute, and wrote books, some on food.

He edited cookbooks, lectured a little, travelled a lot, and summed it up with several more books: A Perfect Glass of Wine is a best-selling all-round guide; The Perfect Match (nominated for a James Beard Award) is a food-and-wine cookbook; and The Wine Lover Cooks Italian is a new cookbook about Italian food and wine.

His latest project include a website on dining out in London – which also includes wine tips, recipes, and side trips to Italy and France: www.foodandwineinlondon.com – and a blog on wine: http://stpierreonwine.blogspot.com.

He can be contacted at Brian@foodandwineinlondon.com

Michael Broadbent

Michael Broadbent has had a long and distinguished career, celebrating fifty years in the wine trade in 2002 and, more recently, 30 years as a Decanter columnist.

He was head of Christie’s Wine Department in London in the mid-1960s and then on for more than twenty years. A Master of Wine and an auctioneer, Michael has published several books and contributes regularly to numerous high profile publications. His tasting notes are legendary.

Hugh Johnson

Hugh Johnson is widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost wine writers, an authority in the field and responsible for introducing a huge number of people to wine. His approach to wine has earned him the admiration of wine lovers – amateur and professional alike – all over the world.

His wine writing began in the mid sixties the international bestseller Wine. Further publications include The Story of Wine, The Wine Companion, the annually updated Pocket Wine Book and the famous World Atlas of Wine. His latest offering is the autobiographical Wine: A Life Uncorked. He also writes on his other passion: gardening.

Linda Murphy

Linda Murphy took over from the stalwart Norm Roby as Decanter’s North American correspondent and contributor. Formerly of the San Francisco Chronicle, Murphy writes her monthly Stateside column from the West Coast, where she is based.


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