What is your most memorable wine experience?

One of my most life-affirming wine moments was during a trip to New Zealand, in the breathtaking Central Otago region on the South Island. Whilst visiting Gibbston Valley wines, the winemakers and I hopped into a helicopter and were whisked to the top of the Remarkables mountains. We tasted Gibbston Valley Blanc de Blancs whilst taking in the most spectacular views of Queenstown and the surrounding area, a setting so perfect it hardly seemed real!

If you could choose any wine from the CV Top 100, which one would you pick and why?

I am devoted to white Burgundy and would consider something like a Chevalier Montrachet from d’Auvenay, but I think in the end I would go for one of the legendary grower Champagnes from Jacques Selosse. I am fascinated by the precision and grace of grower Champagnes and how much they can differ from the Grandes Marques we all know and love. I would probably choose the Selosse Substance which is an incredible 100% Chardonnay wine made in a unique solera system.

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?

How long do I have!? I absolutely love entertaining and take any opportunity to fill the house with people, wine and food. I am an avid foodie and most of the people I would love to have dinner with are chefs themselves – Angela Hartnett, Claude Bosi and Anthony Bourdain. Perhaps we could throw in Audrey Hepburn for some Old Hollywood glamour, too! It would be a lot of pressure cooking for such amazing chefs so I would try and keep it simple and delicious; Selosse Champagne and oysters a few different ways to start; then something like a beautiful, meaty turbot with a beurre blanc, accompanied by a stunning bottle of d’Auvenay Puligny-Montrachet. I am not a talented pastry chef so maybe we’d skip dessert and enjoy a cheese board with a bottle of Quinta do Noval 1985.


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