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Stephen Browett started out as a van driver for a wine shop and ‘fell into wine’; 30 years later the unpretentious and straight-talking owner of Farr (who also happens to part-own Crystal Palace FC) celebrated his 50th birthday at Château Latour.
Exports have been fantastically strong this year due to the weaker pound, and Farr’s main clients continue to be based in the US and the Far East. ‘We are unique because we are very efficient, our pricing is competitive, and we are one of the biggest stockholders of Bordeaux wines in the world,’ he says. ‘We also have a very high level of expertise and experience among our staff.’
Browett is still reeling from a two-day marathon tasting at Farr, where ‘the finest palates
in the wine industry’, including gurus Neal Martin, Jancis Robinson and Steven Spurrier
(see page 82), gathered for a tasting of 150 of the top 2005 Bordeaux vintages.
The 2016 Bordeaux en primeur campaign has been the best since 2010, and the wine is the best in six years too, he adds. ‘Good for a merchant specialising in Bordeaux,’ he jokes, recommending picking up those from the north of the Medoc region as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, if it’s value you’re after, he recommends Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Domaine de Chevalier, which ‘are not the superstar or most glamorous names but very good quality’.