Scenes from the Wine Media Guild 2010 dinner

“Numerical scoring has replaced the drama, joy, pathos and excitement of wine,” said Dan Berger last night at the Four Seasons in New York City. Berger was one of four inductees into the Wine Writers’ Hall of Fame of the Wine Media Guild, a 35 year-old organization. This was the third class of inductees, which included Michael Broadbent, Karen MacNeil, and Andre Simon (posthumously for Simon; see bios here). Over 100 attendees brought wines from their cellars to share and pair with the bison, duck and rabbit on the menu.

Berger, once a math major who has written for a lengthy list of publications over several decades, delivered prepared remarks lamenting the rise of scores and the decline of prose in wine evaluations.

Bartholomew Broadbent (right) accepted the award for his father. He delivered some funny remarks about how his father had stopped drinking, except for putting champagne in his orange juice at breakfast, having a Madeira in lieu of coffee at 11 AM, drinking red and white wine with lunch (which didn’t count because it was with food), then having Madeira again instead of tea in the afternoon, more wines with dinner that, again, didn’t count, followed by some port. But because his doctor had told him to have a drink a day, he had some cordial before going to bed.

Broadbent praised the festive nature of the dinner while wistfully remembering the bygone dinners of Lloyd Flatt and others. He said that such dinners of fine and rare wines “don’t really happen any more because nobody thinks they are real.”

Ed McCarthy, a WMG member and previous inductee, reminded the crowd of the adage that nobody should die with a full cellar. Then he said that Andre Simon died with only two bottles of wine, very successful indeed. Peter Sichel, also a previous inductee, said that when Simon, the author of 104 books, hit 90 years old, a message went out to his friends alerting them to the fact that Simon had depleted his cellar and requested bottles to be sent.

The WMG also awarded three scholarships to students studying food and wine service at New York City College of Technology.

The wines flowed freely. Some bottles were off while others were on. I had ’71 Haut Brion that was drinking beautifully with the ethereal delicacy of mature cabernet. A Chateau Branaire ’75 from magnum was also in excellent shape. A ’97 Turley Old Vines was devoid of acidity, had residual sweetness and angular alcohol. I finished the evening with a glass of ’49 white port from Australia that was a ringer for Madeira. Other wines seen in the room ’66 Lynch Bages, ’74 Spanna, ’38 Niepoort, ’00 Hermitage, ’71 Beerenauslese, ’79 Ridge Lytton Springs and dozens more. More photos after the jump.

Dan Berger and Kevin Zraly, a previous inductee

Presenting the award certificates to the scholarship recipients

A table before corks were pulled

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12 Responses to “Scenes from the Wine Media Guild 2010 dinner”

  1. I can independently vouch for the ’71 Haut-Brion. Freakishly fresh with a lovely deep garnet hue. Better than superb, as was the ’95 Mosbacher TBA. You WMG people sure are generous!

  2. Great story, Dr. Vino. Dan Berger is a wonderful man/wine writer.

  3. As an inhabitant of Table 1, I can vouch that the ’71 Siebeldinger Konigsgarten Beerenauslese was outstanding. It was rose in color and had some fruit and significant complexity.

  4. Thanks for capturing the highlights of a wonderful dinner celebrating some of the legends of wine journalism.

  5. There were 10 people at my table and 13 wines (one a magnum, so I make it 14 bottles). These included a single vineyard Kistler Chard., a 1998 Corton Charlemange, a 1979 and 1977 Zinfandel. The 1979 Lytton Springs was particularly interesting and tasty. a 2000 Bones Mare and a 2000 Pousse d’Or Corton Clos du roi. Also a 1985 Smith Woodhouse port and a 1997 Huet Late Harvest Chenin Blanc that was fabulous.

    The food good, the conversation stimulating, and the three scholarship winners very appreciative, interested in wine and interesting to be around. A gathering of the best wine witers, wine marketers and PR people in the NYC area.

  6. Broadbent’s daily regimen sounds pretty tasty!

  7. Curious who the scholarship winners were & why they were chosen. Thanks.

  8. The Guild as a whole (I am the scholarship committee chair) decided to use some funds to give back to the NYC community. We wanted to encourage young people to pursue an interet in oeonology and an oenological education.

    We selected City Tech since it is part of City University of NY which has a long standing committment to NYC. City Tech (offically NYC College of Technology) has had a hospitality program for about 60 years. All hospitality majors must take the basic wine course and the college offers three aditional wine courses.

    The scholarship money was paid directly to City Tech and MUST be used for to pay for an advanced wine course for the winners.

    Professors Karen Goodlad and Roger Dagorn nominated several students who then submitted an application. the committee selected the three we thought showed the most potential to pursue a career in wine.

    The three winners: Julia Alunun is a full-time student and looking for a career in wine. Joseph Lopez is a student and a server and part-time captain at Beacon restaurant. Theresa Evans is a student and a sommalier (spelling?) at Porter House restaurant.

    All three attended the event and, according to professor Goodlad, were excited to be there, to meet some luminaries of the wine community and to tase fabulous wines. There is a great deal of “buzz” at the college about the dinner and the opportunity enjoyed by the winnrs.

    The Guild hopes to continue this program next year and for years to come.

    Hope this answers all questions, if not I will do my best to answer whatever has been left unsaid.


  9. […] members have written about the event. See Dr. Vino’s wine blog, Cynthia Sin-Yi Sheng, and Brian Freedman thus far! […]

  10. “nobody thinks they are real.” Is that because of Broadbent Sr’s run in with ‘The Billionaires Vinegar’?

  11. Just curiuos, Vinogirl what does “nobody think is not real?”

  12. I have just posted video clips of part of Dan Berger’s speech, my acceptance speech on behalf of my father and the posthumous acceptance on behalf of Andre Simon by Peter Sichel and David Milligan. All three speeches can be viewed at

    I hope you enjoy them.
    Bartholomew Broadbent


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