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Uncorked: David Gleave MW

David Gleave MW founded Liberty Wines in 1997 with a staff of just four. Today it has over 100 staff and a global portfolio of more than 1,200 wines.

Friday 11 October 2013Liberty Wines, Clapham.Managing director, David GleaveWhat Vintage are you?

1956 – a very poor year for wine in all of Europe.

What bottle sparked your love of wine?

A 1971 Vosne Romanée from the first domaine bottlings by Alexis Lichine.  I bought it in 1981, and it was a revelation.

Ambition or talent – what matters more?

Hard work is the key.  Without that, neither of ambition or talent can be brought to fruition.

What would you be as a wine?

Sangiovese –when kept under control, it produces decent results!

Where are you happiest?

Watching my children enjoy themselves, whether on the rugby pitch, the stage or in a restaurant.

What’s your greatest vice?

Lunch.  It is a great way to spend an afternoon, but the puritan work ethic is at odds with this indulgence.

Best advice you ever got?

When Nick Belfrage told me to learn Italian in 1986.

Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?

2010 Flaccianello from Fontodi.  It is a wonderful wine, and I want to see how it is going to develop over the years.

What’s the best & worst thing about the wine business?

The best thing is the product and the people who make, buy and sell it.  The worst thing:  the compromises on quality too many people make in order to hit ridiculously low price points.

Personal satisfaction (Parker points)

90 – starting to get there.

Desert island vine?

Nebbiolo.  It produces wines that are endlessly fascinating, and their austerity would be an ideal accompaniment to the solitude of a desert island.

Which wine would you like served at your funeral?

1995 Blanc de Millenaires from Charles Heidsieck.  Bill Baker specified Cuvee Winston Churchill from Pol Roger at his funeral, so I’m just copying him.

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