It’s a quarter of a century since international wine guru Robert Parker was in the UK and while news of his visit slipped by many in the national press, Britain’s wine buffs coughed up a small fortune to meet the great man.
The venue was Hedonism Wines – London’s most upmarket wine store, more or less opposite one of London’s most upmarket private members’ clubs, Alfred’s in Mayfair. Hedonism was set up by Russian oligarch Evgeny Chichvarkin and is just around the corner from Morpho’s Brook Street office.
No surprise, then, that Morpho founder Neil Anthony Richmond found himself on the VIP list to meet the man known to wine lovers as “The Million Dollar Nose” and “Le Pape du Vin”. Or simply “God”.
An American, Robert Parker invented the widely-used and easily-understood Parker points system for grading fine wines. The maximum points any wine can earn under the system is 100. And Neil managed to work his way through no fewer than 9 different 100 point wines and a couple of very special glasses of champagne, all in the name of research and education of course.
We won’t turn this blog into a book by introducing tasting notes, but those in the know will recognise the quality of the wines on this list:
1) Welcome Drink: Champagne Dom Perignon Vintage 2004 – an elusive wine that sold out within 24 hours of release.
2) Champagne Dom Perignon Second Plénitude (P2) Vintage 1998.
3) M. Chapoutier De L’Oree Ermitage Blanc 2010 (100 Parker points)
4) Chateau Pontet-Canet 2010 (100 Parker points)
5) Verite La Joie 2007 (100 Parker points)
6) Lokoya Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (100 Parker points)
7) Peter Michael Ma Danseuse 2010 (100 Parker points)
8) Dominus 2010 (100 Parker points)
9) Remirez de Ganuza Gran Reserva 2004 (100 Parker points)
10) Penfolds Grange 2008 (100 Parker points)
11) Alvear Pedro Jimenez 2011 (100 Parker points) – dessert wine.
Neil got to hang out with Evgeny and Robert and has since developed a deep affection for Hedonism, which probably suits his clients down to the ground. Its two floors house 4,500 of the world’s most desirable, rarest and finest wine. It’s a cru classé act, according to the Financial Times.