Three bottles: Luis Gutiérrez

Who next for the three bottles?  Sir Patrick agreed in principle a couple of years ago though has yet to come up with the goods.  There are at least a couple of guys who, every time I see them say: “what about me then?” though again, have had the open invite for a couple of years.  Suggestions on a postcard please.

I like the critics.  And I like some more than others.  The easy way for a critic to get some influence or, rather, to get their name out there, is to throw around some high scores and some wild superlatives on a vintage.  I think we all know at least one main culprit here.  But the guys that just get on with it, get their heads down and taste and write?  These are the ones to read, I think.

Luis Gutiérrez, like the rest of the Wine Advocate team, gets on with it and writes.  There’s an irony here: the publication whose scores are the ones that set the bar is, these days, the publication that is less about the scores, and more about the written content, than most.  Prior to joining the Wine Advocate, he wrote for Jancis Robinson, another publication that focusses on the content and is refreshingly ego-free.

I thank Luis for his answers:

What was the first wine/bottle that got you into the whole wine thing?

Well, it was something gradual in the mid 1990s, and it increased over time, especially after we started in 2000 but there was one Rioja I was very impressed with early on, it was the 1987 Viña Bercero Reserva form Rioja that costed 1,000 pesetas at the time (around six euros!) which at the time it was a lot of money for me, and I only bought it when we had a special dinner or something.

What was the first wine/bottle that took you closer to your maker?

It has to be another Rioja again, the 1954 Viña Real Reserva Especial form CVNE. That was later on, we used to meet for dinner and we all brought top wines Chave, Raveneau, whatever. Mariano Garcia, who at the time was Vega Sicilia’s winemaker used to join us for these dinners and one night he showed up with the Viña Real which blew all of our fancy wines away! I was hooked for there on!

What was the best wine/bottle you have had this year? – OK, the past twelve months.

That’s hard to say, because there are so many and I like diversity, depending on weather/season, who’s around, what we’re eating, etc. But one that definitively stuck to my mind was the 1988 Vin Jaune from Pierre Overnoy. I could have given you very different styles, Burgundy, Rioja, Madeira… but that’s the one that came to my mind straight away.

Luis: thank you again.