The first guest is the smartly dressed Will Hargrove, who heads up the sales team at one of the oldest and well connected wine companies in England, Corney and Barrow.
Will and I know each other mainly through Twitter. Our links with rugby, horse racing, wine and cigars seem to be common ground.
Will is worth following on Twitter @DuvaultBlochet
Here are a few questions for Will Hargrove:
So Will, tell me why you ended up working with wine. You seem to be as equally passionate about horse racing, rugby and cigars..........why wine?
Finished a degree in Sport Studies back when it meant even less than it does today and didn’t know what I wanted to do except that I didn’t want to work at the weekends because I wanted to play Rugby (still do). Ended up selling advertising, hated it, so looked for something I was interested in as I promised myself I wasn’t going to do something I wasn’t into. My interest in wine was increasing so I made a few calls and was just about to join Majestic when a son of a friend of my mother (tenuous I know) said the Corney and Barrow needed a driver for the West London wine shop for Christmas with potential to stay on. That was November 1998. Love all the other things but they are hobbies I guess, wine still is too but the balance of having hobbies works for me and the scope and variety of the wine world probably beats even those things.
Was your family involved in wine, winemaking or restaurants?
Not really, my dad and grandfather have/had an amateur interest. First proper wines I had with them were Beychevelle and Cos d’Estournel, both 1986’s, we finished both cases years ago which was a bit premature but I wasn’t complaining at the time!
You work for a prestigious London wine merchant and therefore you taste some exceptional wines on a regular basis. Which is your favourite and most exciting wine region currently?
I think the quality of wine generally is as good as it has ever been. I am lucky in that respect. My own favourite, and what I buy most, is the wines of Piedmont, mainly Barolo but also Barbaresco and a few Barbera’s. I just think there is Burgundian like complexity and the pricing in the most part is reasonable. I love the ability the wines have to age and the food from the region too. Otherwise Burgundy for red and white and Mosel (not that knowledgeable there just love the wines!).
Who is the most attractive female/male winemaker currently working?
Good question. Sandra Tavares da Silva of Pintas sets a high standard.
In your opinion which wine journalist (global) is the most interesting to read and which wine journalist has the most power?
I always think that Andrew Jefford writes very well and in a way I enjoy. I like Antonio Galloni on Piedmont as he “gets the region” and is positive. Robert Parker has the most power and has been amazingly consistent but as he relinquishes regions, to others on the Advocate this wanes. You can’t blame him for his power but I think it isn’t generally a positive thing to have one dominant voice.
Which vinous area is the NEXT BIG THING?
Piedmont should be, I am buying what I can now. In seriousness I think the number of new areas and countries is slowing which means everyone can just get on and do the best they can where they can, I think this is positive.
What would your work colleagues say about you?
That I am grumpy….I don’t disagree I am happily grumpy
Many thanks to Will Hargrove.