James Miles and Justin Gibbs founded Liv-ex in 1999 – about the same time that I started selling serious wine. No matter what you think of wine as a commodity (and I really mean what – good thing/bad thing, clever/stupid, undiscovered market/Emperor’s new clothes – etc, etc), Liv-ex is without doubt a benchmark in valuing said commodity and a very handy platform of exchange for the wine trade. In a business still chock-full of red trousers and spaniels, these guys are on the cutting edge.
I thank James for his answers, and hope he doesn’t have a spaniel or a pair of red trousers:
1) What was the first wine/bottle that got you into the whole wine thing?
Ironically my family (with the exception of my Dad – sensible man) have been in the booze trade for generations, so I grew up around old Madeira, Bordeaux and Port. It is Miles Davis though – now at Wine Asset Managers – who is responsible for getting me (and most of my mates) interested in wine. He bought a lot of 1980s second growths in the early nineties when they were still (relatively) cheap. The most memorable of which was Las Cases 82 – he must be kicking himself to have shared it with us!
2) What was the first wine/bottle that took you closer to your maker?
I have been spoilt once or twice at wine trade lunches (not to be missed!). The best bottles include a Latour 82 with a very low level – absolutely perfect. Margaux 83 is also a brilliant wine – every bit as good as the best 82s. There is something very special though about old Burgundy or Rhone when it really hits the spot. I had an early 70s Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses (with no label – grower unknown) which was sweet and delicious and unforgettable. But possibly the best of all was La Chapelle 72 with David “Boob” Boobyer of Reid Wines, which to quote him, was “stonking”.
3) What was the best wine/bottle you have had this year?
Last word goes to Miles, who hosted a dinner with old mates a month or two ago (he is also a very good cook by the way). We had a couple of bottles of Charmes Chambertin 1999 by Dujac – decanted for a couple of hours – still very young, delicious now, and will be brilliant in 10 years.
Thank you again, Mr Miles.