It is with a heavy heart that Imbibe reports the death of Caspar Auchterlonie, who passed away at his home in London on April 10th.
Many of you will know Caspar from his regular tasting notes or articles in Imbibe. Many more of you will have seen him at various industry tastings down the years, at which he was a regular attendee.
The luckiest among you, however, will have got to spend a bit of quality time with him, either tasting or relaxing over a beer afterwards or, possibly, listening to him sing 1970s prog rock at the top of his lungs to a surprised bar.
Caspar was extremely knowledgeable about wine – a good taster, with decades of experience. And he wasn’t precious with his knowledge. If he knew something, he was only too happy to share it.
The other beauty of Caspar was that, if you had spent time tasting or socialising with him, even just once, you were a friend for life. He was as open and generous with his affection as he was with his wine knowledge. He would greet you on your second meeting as though he was your long lost brother.
And he remains the only person in the wine trade who I would greet with a hug as a matter of course.
Over the years Caspar did a bit of everything: journalist, consultant, educator, a spell at Le Pont de la Tour, cataloguer of cellars to the stars. If it was to do with wine, he would take it on and make a go of it.
As someone who had a first from UCL, he clearly had a terrifyingly high intelligence, but he was a gentle soul, happy to potter through life. As long as he had his beloved greyhound Herbie (who died a few years ago) and some decent wine at his elbow, he was happy. The road of untrammelled ambition was not for him.
Since 2007 he had acted as a team leader at the Sommelier Wine Awards, where his good humour, no-nonsense approach and sheer love of what he was doing stood out almost as much as his questionable dress sense – and put even the most nervous first-time tasters at their ease.
He was one of the first people I ever turned to for advice in changes or improvements to the competition, and he was as free with his time as he was unerringly accurate in his suggestions.
He leaves a wife of 15 years, Alex; a good-natured gap in the wine world that can never be filled; and a wealth of affectionate memories that will never be forgotten.
I just hope that wherever he is now they serve sherry. We’ll miss you, big lad.