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Born in Cork, Patrick O’Connor had little exposure to fine wine growing up. But as a teenager he did his first harvest and he hasn’t looked back, making his way up at Fine & Rare to become one of the youngest CEOs in the wine industry at the age of 40.
Fine & Rare has a network of agents, reservists, traders, private clients and industry relationships, giving it access to more than 75,000 fine wines globally. It looks after a broad range of HNWs, from novices to connoisseurs, and since it holds no stock it is able to offer completely impartial advice.
O’Connor’s main interest is Bordeaux. ‘I like the balance and structure, and its ability to deal with food better than any other wine. I like it when it’s young and when it matures,’ he says. He is also passionate about Château Rayas in the Northern Rhône, which is rare, delicious and very good value. ‘It blows me away,’ he says. ‘When I’m not trying to sell it, I’m buying it for myself.’
A high point of his love affair with wine came early in his career over a bottle of 1940 Cheval Blanc and a toasted truffle sandwich at Maison Rostang in Paris. ‘Everyone closed their eyes, but I opened mine to see men crunching into these truffle sandwiches and raising their glasses and I thought, “This is pretty special.”’