The British wine trade loses legend Michael Broadbent

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

18 March 2020

Wine critic, writer, auctioneer and Master of Wine John Michael Broadbent has passed away (Tuesday 17 March). His son Bartholomew Broadbent announced the sad news this morning on Facebook.

Broadbent was widely regarded as an authority on vintage wines and wine tasting since the publication of his seminal book Wine Tasting, in 1968.

‘He had added what the wine trade had lacked,’ Hugh Johnson said of him, ‘a veneer of scholarship, and a dealer of genius.’

Broadbent was born in Yorkshire in 1927; his career in the wine trade started as a trainee in 1952, yet it was in 1966 that he began working for auction house Christie’s, where he traded in and tasted an unmatched amount of fine and rare wines.

He notoriously recorded over 120,000 tasting notes, many of which were featured in his 2002 Vintage Vine: Fifty Years of Tasting Over Three Centuries of Wine, a unique testimony of wine-tasting history stretching back to the 1700s.

Over his career, he was awarded a remarkable amount of titles, including Master of Wine in 1960, chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine in 1970, international president of the International Wine & Food Society, Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite National in 1979, and Decanter Man of the Year in 1993.

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