Uncorked: Mark Pygott MW

Mark Pygott is the first MW based in Taiwan and runs the popular wine education website, sniff.com.tw. Born in Yorkshire, his foray into wine started by working as a cellar hand at Three Choirs in Gloucestershire in 2002, before moving to the Languedoc where he worked in the vineyards and becoming the assistant to winemaker Michel Le Goaec at Domaine Montrose in the Côtes de Thongue. On returning to the UK in 2004, he established a wine importing and distribution company, Oliver & Bird Superior Wines that specialised in some of the less ‘classic’ wine-producing regions of France, Italy and Spain. He sold his business in 2012 and moved to Taiwan with his wife and daughter and now consults, markets, promotes, educates and writes about wine. After four years of hard slog, he also gained his MW in September. He speaks to dbHK about his prized double magnum of Calon Segur 2000 and inviting Jesus and  Jarvis Cocker for dinner.

mark-pygottWhat vintage are you? 

1971.

What bottle sparked your love of wine?

There really is no individual bottle but on my 26th birthday, my wife bought me a bottle each of Quinta do Castro and Hawk Crest Cabernet Sauvignon whilst my brother-in-law gave me Tom Stevenson’s Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia. I can’t remember much about those wines but I remember reading Stevenson’s book from cover to cover and I was hooked.

What would you be as a wine?

I wanted to say Picpoul de Pinet but my wife said I’m more ‘sauvage’ than that so perhaps something that originates from a windswept Cotes du Roussillon Villages – a wine with both grunt and grace.

Where are you happiest?

In any room with my nearest and dearest.

What’s your greatest vice?

Poring over wine merchant lists and saying “Ooh, I’d like six of those”.

Best advice you ever got?

“Suck it up.”

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

The double magnum of Calon Segur 2000, my daughter’s birth year.

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

The people. There is an openness and warmth that appears to pervade many in this industry and that’s a fine thing. The worst thing is the margins.

What’s on your wine bucket list?

I haven’t spent any significant time in the wine regions throughout the Americas.  This is something I want (and need) to remedy fast.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?

Jesus, Richard Dawkins, Thomas Cromwell, Cleopatra, Michelle Obama and Jarvis Cocker.

Personal satisfaction (Parker points – out of 100)

Somewhere in the mid 90s.

Which wine would you like served at your funeral?

I really don’t care.

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