On the evening of October 24th, 2017, at 67 Pall Mall, Steven Spurrier hosted a Master Class to announce the renaissance of L’Academie du Vin, the Paris wine school that he created in 1973 and which gained worldwide fame for hosting the tasting of wines from California and France which became known as “The Judgement of Paris.”Following almost three decades of inactivity, according to a company release, Spurrier and Patricia Gastaud-Gallagher, director of l’Academie from 1973 to 1988, have registered the name and logo of this brand for the purpose of “creating, recognising and encouraging excellence in wine education and appreciation” on an international basis.
For the London launch, the following wines were poured, five of the eight coming from Spurrier’s own cellar in Dorset.
1.Aperitif – Bride Valley Blanc de Blancs 2014.
2. Riesling Grand Cru Schlossberg 2015 Domaine Weinbach.
3. Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2012 Grand Cru de Graves.
4. Corton-Charlemagne 2006 Domaine Bonneau du Martray.
5. Bandol Rose 2016 Domaine Tempier.
6. Beaune 1er Cru Clos des Feves 2009 Domaines Chanson.
7. Chateau Langoa-Barton 2005 Cru Classe de St Julien.
8. Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2005 Chateau de Beaucastel.
9. Vouvray Le Mont demi-sec 2008 Domaine Huet.
The same wines from different vintages were served in a Master Class in Japan at the Academie du Vin de Tokyo, which Spurrier co-founded in 1987 and remains Chairman, to celebrate their 30th Anniversary. The theme was “Wines I have loved during my five decades in the wine trade.”
In forming a private company under the Academie du Vin name and logo, Spurrier and Gastaud-Gallagher have been joined by Marc Nadeau from Canada, who managed l’Academie in Toronto during the 1980s, and Mark Williamson from Paris, owner of Willi’s Wine Bar and Maceo Restaurant. The same range of wines will be served at a luncheon at Maceo to allow L’Academie to regain its Parisian roots on November 16th, 2017.
On November 1st, Spurrier and L’Academie will again be at 67 Pall Mall to host “The Judgement of London”, a comparison of English sparkling and still wines to those of France and Europe to test the theory of Chef Marco Pierre White that “anyone who drinks English wine is a ‘numpty’.”
From next year, 67 Pall Mall will host L’Academie du Vin wine courses, a recreation of those of the Christie’s Wine Course, created by Spurrier at Michael Broadbent’s request in 1982, which ran very successfully until 2016, recently under the direction of Nancy Gilchrist MW. Gilchrist and her team of MW lecturers will be taking this in hand.
Born in October 1941, STEVEN SPURRIER was educated at Rugby School and the London School of Economics. In 1964 he joined the wine trade as a trainee with Christopher and Co (established 1665). In 1970 he moved to Paris and purchased Les Caves de la Madeleine, a small shop in the centre of the city, and in 1973 opened L’Academie du Vin, the first independent wine school in France. Spurrier is perhaps best known for having created the tasting between top Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California and France in May 1976, subsequently referred to as The Judgement of Paris.
In 1988, he sold his wine business interests in Paris and returned to the UK to become an independent wine consultant. His clients have included Harrods in London and Hediard in Paris, Singapore Airlines and Christie’s for whom he created the Christie’s Wine Course in 1982. He is also Consultant Editor for Decanter Magazine and Chairman of the Decanter World Wine Awards, now the world’s biggest wine competition, since its inception in 2004 and Chairman of Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Asia’s largest wine competition, since 2012. Most recently, Decanter Magazine honoured Spurrier as the Decanter Man of the Year 2017.
Friend, supporter and contributor to Sommelier India wine magazine since its launch in 2005, Steven Spurrier is also a member of SI’s Advisory Council and was the founding chairperson of the Sommelier India Wine Competition in 2009.
He is the author of eight books on wine of which two: L’Academie du Vin Wine Course and L’Academie du Vin Guide to French Wines have been translated into several languages.