Whether it’s tending to A-list cellars or exploring the Chinese mountains of Ningxia in search of interesting varieties, the ever enthusiastic and endlessly creative Douglas Blyde just doesn’t stop.
‘If I’ve been told by a client that they really dislike red Burgundy, I will go out of my way
to find a Burgundy that they will actually fall in love with, or I will find a ranger, so a Pinot Noir from somewhere else in the world that has a beguiling quality about it,’ he says. ‘It’s putting in front of them strange products that a client might not necessarily have thought about.’
HNWs might be minded to gravitate towards the classics, but Blyde is always eager to ignite passions for New World flavours from the likes of Canada, South Africa and California.
It’s no wonder the likes of Evgeny Lebvedev and the Weymouths have entrusted the Evening Standard columnist and gastronomic consultant with arranging their most exclusive events. And while clients certainly aren’t becoming less demanding, Blyde says he’s better at anticipating their needs these days.
He is excited by a new wave of non-alcoholic wines which are ‘complex, nuanced, savoury and not too sweet’, as well as a range of vintages including Pomerol, Pichon and ‘several’ champagnes. ‘It’s as much about the time, place and person as it is about the bottle itself,’ he says. ‘But a bad bottle will always be a bad bottle.’