As a taster for my account later this week of an unparalleled vertical tasting of the famous Pomerol Ch La Conseillante, see this short film of part of it. The tasting, of 2009 back to 1945, was encouraged by wine writer Neal Martin who is writing a book on Pomerol. It was organised by Farr Vintners, who had recently managed to acquire much-discussed bottles of the 1953, 1949 and 1945 from the cellar of American wine writer James Suckling's ex-wife's uncle (yes, convoluted) and took place in the private room on the first floor of Michelin-starred Chez Bruce in Wandsworth in south London just before Christmas.
So many flights to London had been cancelled because of snow that we were all worried that Conseillante's winemaker Jean-Michel Laporte would not be able to make it but, as you can see from the dark-haired man on the left, he did get there in the end. You can also see James Suckling who was there with his film director partner James Orr, all miked up to film for his new daily-video website www.jamessuckling.com, as was Stephen Browett of Farr Vintners. In the picture below you can see Orr photographing the bottles and, if you look very carefully, you can see me in the mirror photographing him.
I apologise in advance for the close-up of the spittoon, but this is very much a tool of my trade. And paper cups are by far the most practical form of spittoon in my experience. They have to be emptied every now and then but are disposable, biodegradable, require no cleaning, and are inexpensive. I try to remember to take them to tastings but usually forget.
On my immediate right was Luke Robertson, sommelier at The Ledbury, part of the same restaurant group as Chez Bruce.