What is your most memorable wine experience?
It has to be my visit to Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux. They make some fantastic wines which aren’t inflated to some of the high Bordeaux prices we see at the moment, but still offer so much enjoyment (especially some of the back vintages). We managed to arrange a tour around the vineyards and winery with owner Daniel Cathiard himself, which made for a tasting we wouldn’t forget. Especially when the floor of the tasting room started to open up and Daniel invited us down to his hidden cellar! A little insider knowledge for you there…
If you could choose any wine from the CV Top 100, which one would you pick and why?
Well I’m a big fan of Rhône whites, so it would have to be Château Beaucastel, especially their Roussanne Vieilles Vignes. Vintage wise, I’m pretty much in love with them all and they age so beautifully and develop such complex flavours (if you can manage to hold on for it that long!). But what really stands out for me is those exotic floral aromas and sweet honeysuckle, which somehow still manage to stand up against the richness and nuttiness of it all.
You’re throwing a dinner party and can invite anyone, dead or alive. Who do you invite and what would be your signature food and wine pairing?
I think it would have to be the late Keith Floyd. Who hasn’t grown up watching his cookery programs and his over-excitement for all things French?
He’s always got a glass in his hand and I’ve heard his last tipple was a fine bottle of Côte du Rhône, so I’d definitely be serving him up a good bottle of spicy Château Rayas (1978 if I could get hold of it), alongside a rich cassoulet and endless amounts of cheese to finish – plus a few more bottles of wine, of course!
STORIES FROM THE CHELSEA VINTNERS TEAM
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