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All Our Yesterdays
part 1

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Steven Spurrier

 When Winefullness Magazine started it was little more than a blog and only a couple of pages long. At one point I realised that I wanted to make it into something a little bit more substantial, and thus the concept of the Winefullness Magazine that now exists came into being.

 To take the magazine from a blog to an actual fully blown magazine that could stand on its own two feet, I knew that I needed to interview people in the world of wine. It didn't take me long to realise one of the first people I wanted to talk to was the legendary Steven Spurrier.

 I heard his name on my first visit to California, when an interest in the world of wine was ignited by the enthusiasms of the people I met, and the places I visited. These people kept telling me about something called, 'The Judgement of Paris' and from the tone of their voices it sounded almost Greek in its mythology.

 I returned home, did my research and the name of Steven Spurrier regularly popped up. I started reading Decanter Magazine and once again his name appeared regularly. It didn't take too much research to find about the life of this amazing man and his awesome contribution to the world of wine. From then on Steven became almost a talisman for me as I searched for a way to become a wine writer.

 I actually wrote to Stephen and was so surprised, and delighted, to receive a reply that he would take part in one of my first '15 Questions Sessions. In fact, I developed the 15 questions idea as a way of chatting to various wine specialists who would otherwise be difficult to meet.

 Steven was such an helpful person, and it is sad to think of a world where his sage advice about wine is missing. He was so encouraging, and I can honestly say that my career as a wine writer and Winefulness Magazine would not be in the healthy shape it is today without his support and kind words.

 At this present moment he is the only person who has been interviewed twice for Winefullness Magazine and this is because of the influence he has had on me.

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 'At this present moment he is the only person who has been interviewed twice for Winefullness Magazine.'

 Winefullness Magazine: While I believe that it was tasting Port that first interested you in wine, what was the first bottle you yourself bought that convinced you that this was the life for you?

 Steven Spurrier: I was already convinced that I wanted to be in wine and from out of school was interested in it, joining the London School of Economics Wine Society.  I suppose the best wine I ever drunk before actually joining the Trade in early 1964 was a Château Margaux 1934 at a dinner in Cambridge.

 Winefullness Magazine: Have you ever taken notice of the points system?

 Steven: Very much so, for I cannot imagine ranking wines without points.  In the early days it was out of 7, then 10, then 20 and now 100, though personally I stick to the 20 point scale, which begins at 10 but allows half marks, so still works out at 20.  The 100 point scale makes me mark higher than the 20 point scale.

 Winefullness: What's the biggest myth you've heard about yourself from the wine community?

 Steven: In the movie 'Bottle Shock' that I needed to hold the Paris Tasting to save my failing wine shop in Paris.  Nothing could have been further from the truth.

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 Winefullness Magazine: Have you a go-to wine after a hard day at work?

 Steven Spurrier: Whatever is white, dry and cold.  Almost never a sparkling wine.

 Winefullness: Is there a wine style that you've drifted away from?

 Steven: Sort of from Bordeaux, which I find although I have a lot of it in my cellar and it is very easy to buy, I drink less of compared to red Burgundy, Rhone and Tuscany.  But, as Michael Broadbent says, ‘one always comes back to Bordeaux.’

 Winefullness: What do you think has been the most recent excellent innovation in the world of wine?

 Steven: I suppose the Coravin, though I don’t use it myself as the bottles I open are for drinking, not tasting.

 Winefullness: Why do you think that wine equates with snobbery to the outside world?

 Steven: I don’t think it does.  Ask the French, Italians, Spanish, Greeks, Germans and so on, who treat it as a daily drink.  If wine equates with snobbery, it is the fault of the wine trade

 Winefullness: Which wine do you believe is the great undiscovered wine of Bordeaux?

 Steven: The dry whites and reds from the southern Graves.

 Winefullness: Which winemaker do you most admire and why?

 Steven: Stephane Derenencourt as he has no formula and treats every vineyard as a separate challenge to make elegant, vineyard wines.

 Winefullness: What advice would you give to anybody thinking of starting out in the world of wine?

 Steven: You might not earn much money, but you will never stop learning and you should never be bored.

 Winefullness: You have £10 to spend on a bottle of wine. Which do you choose and why?

 Steven: A southern Cotes du Rhone from a young vintage.

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 Winefullness Magazine: Visiting Burgundy, which Domaine should one visit and why?

 Steven Spurrier: I don’t think one domaine can give the Burgundy picture, so I would recommend visiting Joseph Drouhin in the centre of Beaune, whose cellars in the Rue d’Enfer date back to 1300 and who have all the history at their fingertips and in their wines.

 Winefullness: What made you decide to become a winemaker?

 Steven: I am not a winemaker, just a producer of grapes and the promoter of the Bride Valley brand.  The wines are made at Furleigh Estate and I only intervene for the blending pre-bottling and the decision on the ‘dosage’.

 Winefullness: Which wine has proved the most consistent over the years?

 Steven: These have to be the red wines of the Medoc.

 Winefullness: If you could go back in time. What advice would you give a young Steven Spurrier?

 Steven: Do not invest in start up companies.

 Winefullness: Would you rather give somebody you dislike a poor wine as a mark of distain or a brilliant wine to win them over?

 Steven: I would prefer not to be with people I dislike, but if I had to be with them, I would serve them a wine better than they were, which would not be difficult.

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