80 today! Happy Birthday, Michael Broadbent

John Michael Broadbent, who nursed wine auctions back to life at Christie's in 1966, was born exactly 80 years ago today and is believed to be cracking open a bottle or two of 1927 Croft (*** "Classic but thinning") this evening to celebrate. [It was Cockburn 1927 apparently – I misheard Michael on the phone when I rang to tell him, that the thickest of head colds would prveent me from attending.] His first reaction? "But you'll miss the C... '27!"]

The rest of us can enjoy his long wine tasting life vicariously by reading the thousands of tasting notes in his Vintage Wine (2002).

He had some pretty serious heart surgery in early January but was looking very hale (and much younger than 79) at the Decanter dinner with the Bartons in March.

We all owe his dedication to note-taking duty and his little red notebooks a great debt of thanks. Let us hope for many more of them – the notebooks full of his spidery architect's handwriting, that is.