Steven Spurrier

Goodbye, Steven Spurrier

Steven Spurrier, the legendary character of the wine world died yesterday at the age of 79. Wine professionals are aware of his immense contribution to the wine world as we know it now, but even amateurs must have heard about him. Bottle Shock American movie (Steven is played by Alain Rickman) is about the historical tasting of 1976, where Californian red wines could win over their Bordeaux opponents. I met him in 2012. Despite of his huge knowledge and fabulous career, he was the most modest man in the world.

He loved Hungary

I saw Bottle Shock at the beginning of my wine career. I was the editor in chief of the Hungarian edition of Decanter, so I read about the movie before it was even released. I read that Mr Spurrier does not really appreciate the movie, because it was not faithful to the facts. Nevertheless I was curious, and after the movie I decided to invite him to Budapest to a wine event, of which I was the chief organizer at that time. He replied my email quickly, accepted the invitation, and it was his idea to conduct a masterclass with 12 Cabernet based wines from all over the world. The participants tasted the wines blind and created the order according to their preferences.

When Steven entered the masterclass hall, he was speechless. There were 200 people sitting in front of him. “I have never spoken to so many people in my life” – he whispered to me.

The winner was Torres, and the two Hungarian wines of the contest came in 4th and 5th: Sauska Siklós 7 Cuvée 2008 and Malatinszky Kövesföld, 2009 (scroll down for the full list of wines). After his visit, he wrote a column in Decanter magazine. He wrote: “The fact that these Hungarian wines were in the company of the international icon wines, signs that Hungarian Cabernet wines have already achieved very high standard.” He also mentioned some other wineries, whose wines he tasted and liked: Vylyan Vineyard and Winery, Gere Attila Winery, Heumann Winery, Kiss Gábor Winery.

He wrote “There are so many great wines in Hungary, I must go back next year.”

Well, he did not come and he never will. Rest in peace, dear Steven Spurrier.

steven spurrier masterclass budapest
Steven Spurrier at VinCE Budapest masterclass in 2012

Interview with Steven Spurrier in Hungary

The interview below was made by Kristian Kielmayer DipWSET in Budapest, in 2012.

List of wines at VinCE Budapest masterclass in 2012 by Steven Spurrier

Chateau de Pez, Saint-Estéphe, 2007, Bordeaux, France
Mazzei Tenuta Belguardo 2007, Italy
Torres Mas La Plana 2007, Spain
Nicolas Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Argentina
Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon Artemis 2007, Napa, California, USA
Cape Mentelle Cabernet-Merlot 2006, Australia
Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Chile
Rustenberg Peter Barlow 2007, South Africa
Te Mata Coleraine 2007, New Zealand
Malatinszky Kövesföld, 2009, Hungary
Sauska Siklós 7 Cuvée 2008, Hungary
Myskhako Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Russia