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Tuesday, October 01, 2002
How much of a satirist is Simon Hoggart?

No sooner does one blog about a competitor (OK - influence) than they turn out to have feet of clay. On September 22nd, I was enthusiastic about Simon Hoggart. However, he served up this gem in last Saturday's Guardian:
A copy of Michael Broadbent's new book Vintage Wine (Little, Brown, £30) thumps on to my desk. Broadbent is the doyen of wine tasters and this covers thousands and thousands of bottles, some 100 years old.
Everyone jokes about the way wine writers express their enthusiasm ("I detect top notes of cinnamon, vanilla and an undertone of Nivea cream") but Broadbent is even better on wines he hates.
Here's a sample of what he doesn't care for: "Bitter, mahogany, harsh, medical, reminded me of singed bracken - a sort of fishy, caramel taste" (That's a bad Chateau d'Yquem, one of the priciest wines in the world). Then there is "lean, faded - strange, sweaty nose - tinny, seaweed tarry rum, nose of weak tea and treacle peroxide, a nose like linoleum and stale cheese".
And here is his majestic put-down of another of the world's great wines, Chateau Lafite, though in 1961, a famously bad year. "It reminded me of the smell of Dr Gilchrist's surgery in my Yorkshire boyhood days." That is almost Proustian.
More than Proustian, this last paragraph is rubbish so three possibilities exist:

1. Simon is being provocative, trying to find out how many wine buffs would notice such a silly mistake.

2. Simon made a mistake.

3. Michael Broadbent made a mistake.

Now, I have tasted some of the finest 20th century clarets. I can assure Mrs Trellis and Simon Hoggart that 1961 Chateau Lafite is arguably the finest of the finest. See my blog dated September 9th. Even (especially) when being provocative, it is important to get facts right. What's your excuse, Simon?

[ I have since had a cryptic (i.e. one word) reply from Simon Hoggart. 'Misprint.' it says. I thought that the Grauniad didn't have misprints these days...- Josh]

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