Having been turned down for a job at Berry Bros & Rudd, Rupert started out at Fortnum & Mason before going on to establish the Henriot champagne brand in the UK. This was followed by a role as UK Brand Manager for the South African wines of the Simonsig Estate and three years at Charles Taylor Wines.
He can hit a ball around a golf course without too much embarrassment, which is more than can be said for his ability to dance in time to music.
Vinous & Curious Q&A
What is your first memory about wine?
My father allowed me to pour the claret on Saturday night dinners at home just before I went to bed (I was 9 or 10). He instilled in me the importance to leave a bit at the bottom of the bottle so as not to pour sediment into guests’ glasses. It was Mouton Cadet!
Your best memory, or a very special one?
1949 Chateau d’Yquem, served with Foie Gras as a first course… a dinner in April 1991. I can still taste the richness and intensity… Kumquat and lime, supreme balance. Quite superb, easy 100-pointer.
If you could bring, only one bottle to a deserted island, what would it be?
Chambolle Musigny, Les Amoureuses, Domaine Robert Groffier. The best vineyard in the quaintest of villages in the heart of the greatest wine region in the world. And Nicolas Groffier is yet to be recognized as one of the greatest of current Burgundian winemakers
If you were a wine, what would we read on your label?
Plenty of Terroir showing through (I like vegetable gardening), tenacious, hearty, with plenty of acidity.
If you were not in the wine trade for a living, what would be your job?
Easy one. I would be either a tractor of JCB driver. Have always wanted to have a go in a JCB Fastrac 55
Basically, a farmer.
The perfect evening: what wine, what music, what dish, etc…?
A warm autumnal evening, roast grouse served on the bone, still pink (12 minutes in a good hot oven, and another 12 minutes resting), watercress, bread sauce and game chips.
If not Chambolle Les Amoureuses, then a bottle of 2000 Chateau Trotanoy, which I think is about as good as claret gets for me. Who needs Petrus?
Music: Coldplay – Head Full of Dreams (the missus adores Chris Martin… gotta keep her happy).
And if not wine, what do you drink?
I was born in Burton-on-Trent, next to the Bass brewery at the time. A hearty pint of ale – has to be at least 4% ABV… goes down very well. Marstons Pedigree if I can find it.