Steven Spurrier

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Much has been written already about Steven Spurrier, who died last week, and here is a link to Jancis Robinson’s fine obituary of him in the Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/59c7a954-8680-4ae0-b50c-52cd5cd5553d .

Here are a few brief memories of this remarkable man.

I first encountered Steven at his shop in Paris, pictured above, around 1983. Sent there by Nick Lander to see Steven when I was working at L’Escargot, Steven was to point me in the direction of some good restaurants whilst we were on a brief visit to Paris. And he did just that, with great thoughtfulness, to include a terrific Vietnamese restaurant with an equally good wine list.

Ten years later, with Ransome’s Dock underway , Steven became a regular customer, and we got to know each other better. Whenever I saw him at a tasting, he would say hello, and then pass on a tip or two of wines he saw as fitting the bill for the restaurant list. He encouraged me to join his illustrious band of tasters assembled in London each year for the Decanter World Wine Awards, and when he learnt that I had not visited South Africa, spoke to the right people so that I could visit [with Gerard Basset and Joelle Marti].

I remember Randall Grahm putting on as tasting just for Steven at Ransome’s Dock of every single vintage of his celebrated Cigare Volant. Steven insisted that I taste with him!

In 2003 Steven held a party the restaurant to mark his 40th year in the wine trade, and the guest list was simply extraordinary. Bella provided the lamb from her flock at Bride Valley, Steven the wines.

January 2003, Ransome’s Dock.

Ever helpful, friendly, never too hurried nor too busy for a chat, he was, as so many have said, a real gentleman, and in some small way I would like to think also a good friend.

Vale Steven.