What is your most memorable wine experience?

I can’t choose just one! Perhaps enjoying exceptional food and company at the barrelling down dinner of a fantastic estate who shall have to remain anonymous. A generous selection of JJ Confuron (personally supplied by Sophie and Alain) was brought to the table: a mix of bottles and Magnums from ’01 and ’02, all of which were suspiciously hand labelled ‘Bourgogne Rouge’. You had to slice the foil over the corks to read what was written inside and uncover the true provenance of each bottle. I wasn’t disappointed to read the names Romanée Saint-Vivant and Clos-Vougeot over and over- and the ’02 RSV from magnum might be one of the finest things I’ve ever tasted.

The other contender would be an amazing New Years Day lunch with the wonderful family of John Avery. Mimi very generously raided the cellar for a Remoissenet Le Montrachet 1992, along with her father’s own bottling of Corton Clos Du Roi (hilariously hand labeled as “1969/70”) and a Chambolle Les Charmes 1959. There were a few of us, so naturally they were all magnums! The Montrachet had kept so beautifully it reminded me why my death row wine would have to be a great Chardonnay…

If you could choose any wine from the CV Top 100, what would it be and why?

Anything from the small handful of white Burgundies that can cast silence on a room of rowdy oenophiles by the mere sighting of their labels… I’m talking of course about the various Montrachet’s from Leflaive, Ramonet, d’Auvenay and DRC. If pushed to choose, I think the Batard from DRC or Lalou’s Chevalier would be the most exciting- asking me to choose is like asking a parent to pick a favourite child.

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?

Douglas Adams, Bertrand Russell, Mark Twain and Leonard Cohen – my favourite thing to enjoy at a dinner party – after great food and wine – is wit. These four are the high priests of badinage and probably have more witty remarks attributed to them than the rest of humanity combined.

Food and wine would be a chaotic affair: beginning with assorted dim-sum paired with a horizontal of Fritz Haag’s 2005s; Steamed SeaBass with Cullen Kevin John and Kumeu River’s Mate’s Chardonnays; Lamb Chops with some ’02 Rousseau and Dujac side by side then Tarte Tatin and Chateau de Fargues 1996 to finish.


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