Fri 15 Mar 2013

A Year To Remember


This year my buying colleagues Mark Buckenham and Sebastian Payne MW notch up their fortieth year as employees of The Wine Society.

Sebastian Payne MW and Mark Buckenham

Let’s hope they are persuaded to bring out a few stories for posterity, and for the enjoyment and benefit of those more recent recruits as well as all those who will remember those ‘old’ days of Wine Society bottlings, and when Chile was barely a twinkle in the British wine buyer’s eye!

One who remembers those early days well is Bernard Chéreau, supplier of Muscadet to The Society for nearly thirty years. On my recent visit to the Nantais, Bernard was recalling Sebastian’s first visit, to taste 1984 or 1985 he thought, a follow-up visit from Sebastian and Marcel Orford-Williams (who, coincidentally, shares Bernard’s birth year), and one from CEO of the time Edmund Penning-Rowsell.

Muscadet has ended up with a small but very good vintage 2012; indeed, one grower I spoke to recently claimed that it may be the best of the past 20 years, maybe as good as 1949 (presumably legendary?!).

A visit to the region comes highly recommended, even if you are only passing through en route to the south west or to Spain. If you can’t get there this year or next, look out for more news from this underrated region on Society Grapevine, in Society mailings, and elsewhere.

Jo Locke MW
Society Buyer


  1. John Cruse says:

    Nice to see the old logo still on the website.

  2. Dr Peter Jarvis says:

    1949 Muscadet was indeed distinctly OK. In my view, 1947 was even better, but distance may colour recollection. Both were lovely summers.

  3. David Ling says:

    Congratulations to Mark and Sebastian on notching up 40 years’ loyal service… from another who has just quietly reached the same landmark… !!!

  4. neil wilson says:

    Congratulations to Mark and Sebastian on such long and loyal service, benefiting so many members with such great depth of knowledge and experience….. I look forward to the book of reminisces/tales of the past 40 years!

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