Wine Books: Michael Broadbent
Michael Broadbent is a venerable British critic with a wealth of tasting experience. He has written hundreds of columns for Decanter and was a pioneer in selling wine at auction, during his time at Christie's.
Repackaged in plenty of time for Christmas 2003, this is an authoritative and entertaining book. Those who have already purchased it need not lose any sleep, by the way, as the repackaging does not include any internal adjustments. For those who are without, this book features a huge collection of Broadbent's tasting notes, spanning his fifty-plus years in the wine trade. With regard to Bordeaux and other traditional Old World regions it is comprehensive, with notes on wines and vintages stretching back to the eighteenth century. Other regions fair less well. Vega Sicilia acts as Spain's sole flag bearer, and many countries of the New World are similarly under-represented. This is not a criticism, however, as this merely reflects Broadbent's work (many of the tasting notes are from cellars he has assessed prior to auction at Christie's, or from tasting with Hardy Rodenstock, Bipin Desai, and so on) and also the changing face of the world of wine. The book is rich with personal annotations concerning people, places and events that Broadbent has come across during his time in the trade, which add a wonderful personal touch, and give a real insight into why and when many of the bottles were consumed. A charming book, worthy as a work of reference but cut through with an almost autobiographical streak.