WWC: What’s it like becoming an MW?
CB: It is the wine equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. The challenge of studying about globally produced, sensual creations with like-minded, enthusiastic people at the very highest level was incredible.
WWC: How long did it take you to become an MW?
CB: It took four years of preparation with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust and three years on the MW programme. Learning how to synthesise the knowledge into true understanding took time. The hardest part was spitting out the wines at tastings!
WWC: Any wine memories you can share with us?
CB: One of my first trips as an MW was to Germany where we were treated to a tasting of German Pinot Noir. I was with Liz Robertson MW, and we were enjoying the wines. The table behind was occupied by several old school MWs who kept grumbling that the Pinot Noir’s were not like top quality Burgundy. Liz told them to stop moaning, that of course the wines were not like Burgundy because they came from Germany, and that wine was meant to give pleasure and be enjoyed, not pontificated over. The men went quiet and looked like scolded schoolboys …. I have always kept her words in my mind whenever I buy and select wine.
WWC: Favourite wine book?
CB: Can I have two? ‘The Art and Science of Wine’ by Hugh Johnson and James Halliday, brilliantly written and so condensed. ‘The New France’ by Andrew Jefford, is another masterpiece.
WWC: What wine are you planning to drink tonight?
CB: The latest release from a local producer, Simpsons – Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2020, which I will compare alongside the Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2019, (purely from a professional viewpoint of course!)