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Men of the Year gather at Decanter

Decanter hosted a unique gathering of some of the world’s greatest wine producers last night at the inauguration of the Decanter Terrace and vineyard.

What Hugh Johnson described as ‘a phylloxera-free polyglot vineyard on a north-facing slope in the middle of Southwark’ has been planted on the 10th floor terrace overlooking the Tate Modern gallery.

Piero Antinori, Serge Hochar, Jean-Claude Rouzaud, Angelo Gaja, Anthony Barton, Miguel Torres, Corinne Mentzelopoulos and Marcel Guigal, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson congregated at Decanter’s headquarters in Southwark, London.

Antinori ceremonially planted the final vine – a Sangiovese he had brought in his suitcase from Tuscany – and Johnson cut a red ribbon while 100 guests – shivering in a brisk northerly wind blowing off the Thames – drank Roederer Brut Vintage 2002 from magnums

Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp explained why the New World was not represented: ‘It’s not the famous Decanter Old World bias – it’s the government. Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) won’t let anything in from outside Europe.’

Decanter is now proud owner of six thriving vines – planted in some 12 inches of soil – given by their respective Men of the Year: a Furmint from the Royal Tokaji Company presented by Hugh Johnson, a Pinot Noir from Champagne Roederer (Rouzaud), a Syrah from the Rhone (Guigal), Cabernet Sauvignon from Lynch Bages (Cazes), Palomino from Jerez (Domecq), and Antinori’s Sangiovese.

Decanter Men and Women of the Year at the Blue Fin Building, 20 May 2008

The Men and Women of the Year, as well as wine importer Bartholomew Broadbent representing his father Michael, Jean-Michel Cazes’ wife Tereza and son Jean-Charles representing him; Beltran Domecq representing his late uncle Jose Ignacio, Frederic Rouzaud, the son of Jean-Claude and now head of Champagne Roederer, Steven Spurrier and other guests then went into dinner.

Wines served were Chateau Musar white 2001, Chateau Lynch Bages 1990 in magnum, Ridge Monte Bello 1997, sent by Paul Draper (Man of the Year 2000), and Michele Chiarlo, Nivole, Moscato d’Asti 2007 – one of Michael Broadbent’s favourite pudding wines.

During dinner the celebrated Lebanese winemaker Hochar (the first-ever Man of the Year in 1984), said his peers around the table were like ‘his family’, and Spurrier paid tribute to the guests, and to Decanter, ‘an extraordinary magazine, and one that we’re all very lucky to be associated with.’

Blue Fin Building: the lobby

Written by Adam Lechmere

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