A week-old letter from Michael Broadbent MW awaited me on my return from Australia yesterday in which he chides me in his beautiful architect's script about my reference to him in my FT article on wines drunk for fun.
"I gather you somewhat mischievously reported (correctly) that I did not drink wine for fun. The point is that your request coincided with most stressful deadlines and I simply didn't have time to think – or write – about the subject for you.
"I don't regard wine as fun. I work, I lecture, with missionary zeal, to inform, teach, stimulate interest in wine; and, as for consumption, I drink wine every day, starting with buck's fizz at breakfast, and with every meal, lunchtime and evening, because, frankly, food needs wine and wine, as we all know, is good for you. Moderation though, and boozy wine parties I never go to."
I hereby set the record straight, and urge you to look out for the next edition of Michael's Vintage Wine on which he was working so hard last July.
Incidentally, those of you following the riveting story of model Caprice's attempts last week to get off a drunk driving charge in London may be interested to know that Judge Emma Arbuthnot, who in the end would have none of Caprice's claims to have been under the mitigating influence of antibiotics, is none other than Michael Broadbent's daughter. I was seated next to her at Michael's 75th birthday party, partly because they knew we'd get on but also because the family wanted to test their hypothesis that we are lookalikes. Earlier this year on my way to a tasting in Chancery Lane I was indeed mistaken for her by a fellow lawyer. Enough of this tangential nonsense. I must fly to Germany.
David Schildknecht, OH:
Renowned German wine grower Helmut Dönnhoff is well known for his habit of ending any number of discourses on the art and labours of the vintner with the words "... aber es muß Spaß machen": "but it has to be fun."
Count me in on that sentiment - even if the 80-hour work weeks of this joint merchant-journalist pale in comparison with farming and vinifying the fruits of 16 steep slope hectares and capturing in bottle the finest Rieslings in Germany.
The day that tasting, talking about, writing about, selling, proselytizing on behalf of ... and above all drinking wine with dinner at the end of each day stops being fun, is the last day anybody will hear anything further from me on the subject. (I hate to disappoint those who might be waiting in hope for that to happen, but the prospects don't look good. Working with wine is like my marriage: a very serious endeavor that's still fun after more than three decades.)