2 May 1927
Micheal Broadbent is born in Yorshire, England.
Micheal Broadbent is one of the most famous wine personalities in the World, a writer, a critic and an expert of old vintage wines that most of us will never taste in our entire life. And when I say “old vintages” I really mean it: in his The Great Vintage Wine Book he goes back in some cases to the 17th century! I guess that being the historical auction director for Christie’s helped him in this regard since he worked for this famous auction house for decades.
What else? He writes for Decanter and other magazines, he has been President of the WSET for a couple of years and he is one of the historic Masters of Wine. Happy Birthday!
15 May 1855
The Exposition Universelle des produits de l’Agriculture, de l’Industrie et des Beaux-Arts finally starts in Paris.
Last month I have already written about the Bordeaux Cru Classés list made by the local brokers for Napoleon III. Well this list would have never come into existence (or maybe it would be different) without this event.
Wine lovers remember it for the Bordeaux classification, but other Countries presented their produce in the hope of carving out a name for themselves. An official report by some Professor Owen, Juror for the United Kingdom in the “Alimentary substances” category, enlighten us to the state of New South Wales wines, which he held in high regard, even higher than the wines from Europe. From his words we also discover that Austrian (not Australian) wines, including those from Hungary, were also deemed worthy of attention because the Austro-Hungarian vineyards were still free from the “grape blight” (powdery mildew I suppose) which was scourging historical UK suppliers (Jerez, Madeira, Porto).
18 May 1152
Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II Plantagenet marry at the Frontevault Abbay.
At time Henry was “only” Duke of Normandy and Count of Anjou, but two years later he would have ascended to the throne of England, creating an anglo-french empire extending from Scotland to Gascony. This brought many frictions between England and France, and it ultimately led to the Hundred Years’ War and the defeat of the former. On the other hand though it also created close ties between the United Kingdom and Southwest France, part of the Empire, and contributed to the spread of this region’s wines in the British market.
People say that the wedding featured Cahors wines, maybe made from Malbec, but are we really sure? Frontevault Abbay lies between Anjou and Tours, so more likely the menu featured local wine (maybe Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc). It was not easy task to transport wine in the Middle Ages and anyway much of the new vintage would have been already spoiled when drunk 8 or 9 months after the harvest.
23 May 1881
Henry Lindeman passes away in Cawarra, New South Wales, Australia.
He was born in Surrey, England and emigrated in Australia in 1840, where he bought the Cawarra Estate in Hunter Valley and started making wine from own plants of Riesling, Shiraz and Verdelho (a pretty modern lineup of varieties). His wines, which were even exported to the UK, featured in the 1862 International Exhibition of London.
In 1850 an arsonist burnt the winery to the ground, but, ever a resourceful man, he was able to reestablish the business, while fathering ten (10!) children.
His legacy lives on in the famous Lindeman brand, today owned by the Treasury Wine Estates conglomerate.