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Tributes to Steven Spurrier, Decanter Man of the Year 2017

Here you can read tributes from across the wine world to Steven Spurrier, Decanter's Man of the Year for 2017.

Sarah Kemp, managing director of Decanter

‘What I admire most about Steven is his egalitarian approach to wine. He can be as excited about a wine from an unknown produce in an obscure region as he can be about a great classic from an incredible vintage. For him, it is only the intrinsic quality that matters. That is why he is so admired as a taster, and why he is internationally revered. His contribution to Decanter is immense, but his contribution and influence on the wider wine world is even greater.’

Jancis Robinson OBE MW, 1999 Decanter Man of the Year

‘Steven is the unsung hero of the wine world. He lit the flame for so many of today’s famous luminaries and deserves much more credit than he has received, so I am thrilled that he is being so prominently honoured by Decanter this year. As a member of his Bordeaux primeurs tasting group, I owe him an enormous debt – both for organising our Left Bank visits, to the minute, and for being so indefatigably polite and enthusiastic during virtually every appointment.’

Brian Croser, Australian winemaker and 2004 Decanter Man of the Year

‘There are few more recognisable figures in the world of fine wine than Steven. His very proper English appearance (I am sure he wears a grey suit to bed) lights up recognition in Australia and the US as readily as in the great wine regions of France. He has made it his life’s work to know the fine wines of the whole world, new and old, in a most respectful fashion.

I am always delighted to see Steven’s dapper figure in the distance at a fine wine event. This usually presages a short, eloquent exchange and an opinion to take away as a distillation of fine wine wisdom, thoughtful and generously shared in a way that is uniquely Steven.’

Marcel Guigal, 2006 Decanter Man of the Year

‘At the beginning of the 1970s, I had the great pleasure of being able to present my wines at Les Caves de la Madeleine in Paris. Steven and I were so young… I was struck by his interest and his involvement in the great wines of the Rhône, at a time when our region evoked a lot less interest than it does now. It was my first and greatest memory, and the start of a long friendship marked by a profound admiration.’

Miguel A Torres, 2002 Decanter Man of the Year

‘On behalf of the whole Torres family we want to congratulate you for being named the Decanter Man of the year 2017. We very much appreciate your advice and guidance over the years in so many wine tastings with our family.

Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher, director of L’Académie du Vin 1973-1989

‘During his Paris years, Steven shared generously with me and others his love and knowledge of wine, and introductions to his friends in the vineyards. Always ahead of the curve, he championed in the 1970s and ’80s estate bottled regional wines, Alsace grands crus, Champagne brut zero and unchaptalised Beaujolais without ceasing to revere the great wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône.

A terrific boss, never a micro-manager, he empowered his staff. Every wine lover in Paris at the time, from residents and winemakers to the president of AXA, remembers L’Académie du Vin and Les Caves de la Madeleine.’

Véronique Sanders, Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan

‘Steven is without doubt one of the most influential wine professionals of our time. His word is an all-time reference for Haut-Bailly.

This is a richly deserved reward for 50 years of passion, work and success. Congratulations too to both Steven and Bella for their English sparkling wine at Bride Valley!’

Paul Draper, 2000 Decanter Man of the Year

‘A most deserved honour for this soft-spoken, gentle man. Steven, as a champion of the world’s established wine, is often more interested in introducing us to the less well-known regions and their wines. Most importantly, in his tasting he maintains a firm sense of what is fine wine. Bravo Steven.’

Tim Johnston, owner of Les Juveniles Wine Bar, Paris

‘I first met Steven when he came to stay in Aix in the early 1970s, stepping out of his car in his green leather suit – in the middle of summer! Over the years he has been a wonderful friend, extremely generous and a joy to go tasting with.’

Mark Williamson, owner of Macéo and Willi’s Wine Bar, Paris

‘Were Steven a grape, he would be a noble variety: one that stands apart or can blend brilliantly. His fearless mind has inspired far more change than he will ever be given credit for.’

Roy Richards, founder of UK importers Richards Walford

‘Without his inspirational qualities, I doubt I’d have ended up in the wine trade, or grasped where the commercial opportunities were. Thank you Steven – you were, indeed are a great mentor.’

More about Steven Spurrier:

Steven Spurrier’s top wine memories

Steven Spurrier's wine memories, with tasting notes by John Stimpfig...

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