Michael Broadbent MW – RIP

by Charles Lea

In the midst of all the current gloom and uncertainty, take a moment to celebrate the long life of Michael Broadbent MW, who died on Wednesday night, timing his exit elegantly as you’d expect. Think about raising a glass in his memory over the weekend.

Much has already been written about Michael, and can be read in various obituaries by Jancis Robinson, The Wine Spectator and the Drinks Business.

Michael really began the idea of systematic critical note-taking, which resulted in some that were eyebrow raising – two from memory would be ‘a whiff of wet oilskin‘ in a note about a vintage Port (brilliant description which really chimed for me), and one which noted a wine, but nothing more than the name and ‘tasted at xxx . On the way home I was knocked off my bicycle in the King’s Road Chelsea‘.

Tom Lorimer has reminded me this morning that the note on Gould Campbell 1983 really helped us sell a parcel we had bought in the 90s: ‘…Most recently, still impressively deep, immature; considerable depth of fruit; fairly sweet, flavoury, like a pretty child with an upturned nose‘.

Michael was not only a fount of wine trade wisdom, but also charming and funny, with a wealth of perfectly filthy stories and jokes. He will be much-missed.

It was pointed out to me this week that my in-laws feature in the Great Vintage Wine Book, with an glossary note ‘perfect hosts’ – fame indeed. (If anyone can find where in the main body of the book they appear I’d be happy to know).

Charles Lea