This week we put our questions to one of the most influential voices in the wine world, Neal Martin. Known for his distinguished work as a wine critic and author of the award winning book, 'Pomerol', Neal now works as a writer for Vinous, critiquing the wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy, South Africa and New Zealand. 

We ask Neal about how the pandemic has affected his work, which wine has eluded him throughout his career as well as finding out who he'd invite to his fantasy dinner party.

1. For someone who travels so much, the last twelve months must have been a change of pace - how have you found it?                                           


2. A lot is made about pairing food with wine - but can you think of a perfect music and wine pairing?

I find it difficult to concentrate on music and wine simultaneously. Sensory overload. It has to be one or the other. But if I had to choose, let's say I'm dancing to the Banderas' forgotten 1991 masterpiece "This Is Your Life" whilst drinking '55 La Mission.

3. Is there one wine in the world that has eluded you thus far, either professionally or personally?

I would love to drink the 1971 Richebourg from Henri Jayer - thanks for making that possible in return for answering your questionnaire.

4. Rolling Stones & Oasis, or The Beatles & Blur?

Beatles & Blur. I like music/musicians that are innovative and push the envelope. That said, I still think Oasis's debut performance of "Supersonic" on "The Word" in 1994 is as awesome now as it was back then.

5. If you could have dinner with four people, dead or alive, who would they be, and which restaurant would you take them too?

I think having a dead person at the dinner table would probably put you off your food. All that rotting flesh, the flies etc. Putting that aside - actress Salma Hayek, simply because of all the people I've met, whether famous or not, I don't think I've met anyone so full of joie-de-vivre. David Bowie - music aside, I find him fascinating as a person. Japanese author Haruki Murakami (I'll have to sneak in a translator.) Plus my first ever serious girlfriend from when I was 18, just to reminisce.

6. Do you prefer live music or listening at home?

Both really. Since returning to vinyl, I listen to music properly again and that enhances the pleasure. I had started going to intimate gigs around London when I fell ill in 2019 and looked forward to going back when Covid began. When things get back to normal, I plan to go to as many as possible. New music is good as ever. I was listening to the debut EP by "Bored At My Grandma's House" last night - excellent.

7. In what place are you happiest?

I thought about this carefully and then realised there is one place - on the dance floor. I really miss dancing. The adrenalin rush upon hearing your favourite song, that communal spirit, the abandonment. All that, plus you're getting fit at the same time.

8. Which region excites you the most in terms of young winemakers trying new things?

South Africa. They have so many more obstacles, which means young winemakers have to be innovative and try harder.

9. What's your standard order at KFC?

Since Brett Graham recreated the menu using Poulet de Bresse at The Ledbury for my 40th birthday, regular KFC lost its lustre. I haven't had a KFC for several years. Probably for the best given that fast food almost killed me. Nowadays I walk past, sniff the air for old times sake, and walk on.

 Marlo are delighted to announce that we now feature in the 'Top 50 UK Wine Blogs' - Find the full list here.

Image 1:Vivino Joy News
Image 2: Drinks & Destinations
Image 3: Discogs
Image 4: Nickelodeon
Image 5: The Ledbury



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