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Denis Dubourdieu honoured at Decanter Man of the Year lunch

Professor Denis Dubourdieu, one of the world's most respected wine researchers and also a Bordeaux château owner in his own right, has been officially honoured as Decanter Man of the Year 2016 at a celebratory lunch held at Château Haut-Bailly this week. See photo highlights and John Stimpfig's report below.

Denis Dubourdieu formally received his accolade as the Decanter Man of the Year 2016 at a lunch hosted by Château Haut-Bailly on Tuesday 21 June.

Haut-Bailly vines, decanter man of the year 2016

Château Haut-Bailly and its vineyards bathed in the summer sunshine. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

In presenting the engraved decanter, Sarah Kemp, Decanter’s managing director paid tribute to Dubourdieu’s extraordinary contribution to wine in the fields of research, teaching, consultancy and winemaking.

Denis Dubourdieu, decanter man of the year

Professor Denis Dubourdieu enjoys an apéritif with Decanter’s managing director, Sarah Kemp. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

Dubourdieu’s key achievements

To re-cap, after initially being turned down for a job at Château Latour as a fresh graduate, Dubourdieu has gone on to:

  • Be a consultant to some of the best Bordeaux wine estates, including Château d’Yquem, Cheval Blanc and Margaux (Pavillon Blanc)
  • Publish more than 200 research papers
  • Teach some of the leading winemakers in Bordeaux and beyond
  • Produce wine at his own estates, including Château Reynon, Doisy-Däene and Clos Floridène. He lives at the former with his wife of 40 years, Florence.
  • Found a prestigious wine education and research centre called the Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, in 2009.

Celebratory lunch at Haut-Bailly

haut-bailly terrace, decanter man of the year 2016

On the right of the picture: Jean Jacques Dubourdieu (facing), son of Denis, talks to Alexander Van Beek, of Château Giscours (centre right) and Frédéric Rouzaud, of Louis Roederer, which owns Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Pauillac.
On the left of the picture: Fabrice Dubourdieu (far left), also son of Denis, speaks to Eric Perrin, of Château Carbonnieux, with Tristan Kressmann, of Château Latour Martillac, standing just behind. Credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

Attending the celebratory event was Dubourdieu’s close family: his father Pierre, wife Florence and two sons Fabrice and Jean-Jacques, who spoke on their father’s behalf.

bob wilmers, haut-bailly, decanter man of the year

Bob Wilmers, owner of Château Haut-Bailly, catches up with Pierre Dubourdieu, father of professor Denis. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

Also present were clients, colleagues and friends including Frédéric Rouzaud of Louis Roederer Champagne, Pierre Lurton of Château Cheval Blanc, Bob Wilmers and Véronique Sanders of Château Haut-Bailly, Eric Perrin of Château Carbonnieux and Philippe Castéja of Château Batailley.

pierre lurton, decanter man of the year 2016 lunch

Pierre Lurton, of Château Cheval Blanc, attended the lunch to honour professor Denis Dubourdieu. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

Decanter’s content director, John Stimpfig, and contributing editors Jane Anson and James Lawther also attended.

valerie lavigne, decanter man of the year 2016 lunch

Jancis Robinson OBE MW (right) enjoys a conversation with Dr Valérie Lavigne, who has worked as an associate researcher with Denis Dubourdieu for more than 20 years. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

So too did the FT’s Jancis Robinson MW OBE, who flew in specially for the lunch. Robinson was herself a recipient of the award in 1999.

Véronique Sanders, decanter man of the year 2016 lunch

Véronique Sanders, of Château Haut-Bailly, enjoys a quiet moment with Sarah Kemp, Decanter’s MD. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

The wines served numbered three of Dubourdieu’s own châteaux, beginning with a Reynon Blanc 2014 and a Clos Floridène 2010.

All the red wines poured were from châteaux which Dubourdieu consults for and comprised a Giscours 2010, Batailley 2010, Pichon Comtesse 2006, Carbonnieux 2005, Haut-Bailly 1998 and Cheval Blanc 1998.

decanter man of the year lunch 2016, haut-bailly

Guests get to view the lunch menu ahead of the celebratory meal at Château Haut-Bailly. Denis Dubourdieu’s sons, Jean Jacques and Fabrice, are seated as heads of the table – at the near end and far end respectively. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

The last wine poured was a sublime Doisy-Daene 1949, which was Dubourdieu’s birth year.

The wine was made at the family estate by his father Pierre who spoke about the wine and the vintage.

decanter man of the year lunch 2016

The wines are served during the lunch for professor Denis Dubourdieu, culminating in the special Doisy-Daene 1949. Photo credit: Francois Poincet / Decanter

Dubourdieu is the 33rd Decanter Man of the Year.

The award began in 1984 when it was given to Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar. Other previous winners include Piero Antinori, Christian Moueix, Aubert de Villaine, Angelo Gaja, Paul Symington, Paul Draper, Hugh Johnson and Robert Mondavi.

Photo editing by Chris Mercer

Read more about the Decanter Man of the Year prize

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