Thursday, 31 December 2015


I haven't done any form of "awards" since 2011 but for some reason I thought it might be fun this year.

Tasting of the Year: There have been several glorious candidates but it has to go to this one 10 Vintages of Romanee-Conti it was a tasting that I will certainly never get to repeat in a glorious setting.

Restaurant of the year: No shocks here at all, it has to be Zucca. I'll miss it so very much. I do feel I need to mention Kitchen W8 which has produced some cracking food and has a nice atmosphere and attitude to wine. It is such a shame that it is not more conveniently sited (for me).

Wine trip of the year: This was not difficult either, it has to be Piedmont 2015 with a rather splendid group of chaps. Piedmont really is somewhere every wine lover should go. I had to pull out of a trip to Port country which was a shame. I really want to go there.

Winery of the year: So for all those who assumed this was a "Shoe in" for Giacomo Conterno, and really that is still No.1 for me, a little surprise as Case Basse / Soldera just pips it to this years "title". It is such a great place to visit and Gianfranco is simply wonderful.

Birthdays and sad days: There have been some wonderful meals to celebrate birthdays this year:
At the same time it was so very sad to lose Anne-Claude Leflaive - whose wines I continue to love.

Meal of the year: I've gone a bit corporate here by choosing "All aboard the Cutty Sarkbut it was such a special (unique) evening shared with lots of customers who have become friends.

Wine discovery of the year: I think that as a region it has to be the Rhone thanks to a holiday down there and the fact that I just love more and more of the wines (Hartley you still won't get me to like Condrieu). But as a single producer it might have to be Flavio Roddolo in Barolo. A very notable mention to Domaine Labruyere in Moulin-a-Vent for converting me to the joys of Cru Beaujolais. Even an opinionated old fool like me can have their mind changed.

Quote of the year: Not one I had heard before and I probably apply it to Negronis rather than martinis but "One martini is all right. Two are too many, and three are not enough." from James Thurber

Sportsperson of the year: This is a shared award for two similarly brilliantly indestructible sports people who have both spent ages at the top of very tough sports. Both made their names or initials only mean one person so the nod goes to AP and Richie or Sir AP McCoy and Richie McCaw to use full names. Both have retired and both will be missed but at the same time it is wonderful to see them walk away in good health.

Personal sports highlight: This is an easy one. I had always wanted to play rugby in the same team as my son Charlie but due to too many bangs on the head (I never had enough brain cells to start with so have to be careful) I had to stop at 36 and so we missed out on that. But this year I have gone back to playing Hockey, which I love and thoroughly recommend, and now Charlie and I play in the same team. (He has more assists, I've scored more goals as I keep reminding him).

I am not sure who has appeared most on the blog this year but to all those who have contributed - Nobby/Halifax, Irish, Mr Magnum, Newcastle, Henley, Jordi, Ronaldinho, Chewy, Fiscali, Very duty bottles, Geronimo, Raw, Vestier, JuJu, Barolo Guru, Jazz Hands, Manski, Masterofwine - and many many more thank you so much for the bottles and the laughs! To colleagues and producers everywhere the very same thanks!

Same again in 2016?


  1. Well, Will, although we perhaps choose to write about different sides of the world of wine, I can identify with so much of what you say here. I have never been lucky enough to be invited to a DRC tasting, but staying at Pichon was pretty amazing, so I know how you felt.

    KW8 is a great restaurant, yet I've been just once in the last three years. It's as inconveniently placed for me, especially now Roberson have closed their shop. La Trompette is one I get to less often for similar reasons.

    Piedmont is on my list of places I need to return to soon. I seem to sway between drinking those wines and Tuscany, and I've been back with Tuscany these past two years.

    Many wine losses this year, not least Charly Foucault a couple of days ago, but Anne-Claude was a sad loss. Had a magnificent Pucelles 2000 from mag recently, pristine, very fitting.

    Funny what you say about Negronis. For me it's also either one or a session. They are surprisingly lethal, so the latter, not too often.

    And be's "Sir AP" now. Best amend before he sees it.

    Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year to you also. Thanks for your comments. You must get to Piedmont and well noted on Sir AP!!