Last Thursday, straight after Patrick Sandeman's memorial, I had the uplifting experience of attending the opening of a wonderful photographic exhibition dedicated to some of the greatest winemakers in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne. It brought home forcefully what an extraordinary place the world of wine is. I would urge any wine lover in London to try to drop in to the friendly Marylebone Hotel just north of Bond Street tube station some time between now and the end of the year.
On the walls of the ground floor is a series of beautiful prints of Colin Hampden-White's thoughtful and clever colour photographs. We see, for example, Jean-Guillaume Prats of Cos d'Estournel tempting us with an apple, a symbol of the gravity that feeds his spanking new winery. We see Frédéric Engerer of Ch Latour looking proprietorially and rather suspiciously at the camera. We see Lalou Bize-Leroy, her confidence and her hard-working hands. Hubert de Boüard of Angélus is caught throwing the ace of spades (horribly cropped above). You can see small versions of them at www.greatestwinemakers.com but I urge you to take a look at the full-size versions, more than a metre high. A small subsection of the collection won Hampden-White Louis Roederer's Artistry of Wine Award last month.
As you can see from the site, the collection is described as 'produced by Henry Matson'. Henry works for Farr Vintners, was Colin's best man, and presumably opened many a door and sketched many a background detail for Colin, a professional photographer who is represented by the Rebecca Hossack Gallery. I met the young man responsible for the high-quality prints at the exhibition. He told me they are on sale for around £2,500 each. They'd make a great addition to any wine lover's wall.
The Marylebone Hotel is also showing some of his portraits of the magicians of the Scotch whisky business, as shown in www.greatestwhiskymakers.com.