Competition – Stephen Mandy


Stephen Mandy probably tells us enough about himself in this unedited entry in our seminal wine competition, the second one we have published. 

As a physician in training in Dermatology at the University of Miami I encountered a teacher, Dr Louis Skinner, a distinguished Dermatologist but also a world recognized wine lover and gourmet. Lou was well known in France as his greatest passion was in Bordeaux – nearly every owner of a grand cru Chateaux knew him personally. He was a charmer who came from South Carolina and he befriended people like Michael Broadbent, Serena Sutcliff and other MW’s at a time when few Americans had any wine knowledge or a cellar. I had expressed to Lou my desire to learn about wine, and he graciously invited me to tastings now and then. During one of his frequent jaunts to Europe he asked if I would cover his practice, and as I had just open my own I was delighted to assist him as I needed the business and exposure. When he returned I invited him to dinner at my home and he arrived with a wine hidden in a sack, and as he poured it at the table the bottle jingled. I asked what the sound was and explained that after decanting, he added marbles to the bottle to refill it so it would not air too much. He then sat back with an impish grin and waited for me to taste the wine. Never before, or since have experienced such a perfect ambrosia like, silky and classic claret. The year was 1973, and the wine was a 1953 Chateau Margaux. He smiled an almost evil smile and said, ‘you will spend the rest of your life chasing that taste’. His prophecy has manifest itself in 45 year long pursuit of an extensive collection of Bordeaux wine, though I confess some Burgundy and Italian gems as well. Lou has long since gone to the great cellar in the sky, but his legacy lives on. He started the Miami Chapters of the IWFS and the Commanderie.