1. Did you ever have a formative wine tasting moment when clouds parted and you suddenly appreciated something with crystal clarity?
My first ever, of Ontario wines in 1976, when everyone seemed to be contradicting each other which made me realise there are no rights and no wrongs in wine appreciation.
2. What is the first tasting note that you still have on record?
You'll have to ask Davis! (Davis University in California have recently archived all of Jancis's tasting notes and wine writing - (see http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/my-transatlantic-archive).
This is the oldest wine we could find noted on jancisrobinson.com -
Sauternes: Château Yquem 1784:
'Very dark brown syrup with copper coloured rim. Bottle stink immediately after pouring. After 5-10 minutes a very beguiling bouquet of dried roses emerged and the wine was lively, aromatic, fragrant for a good 40 to 50 minutes. On the palate the wine was very gentle, very delicate, very feminine to the 1787's more aggressive appeal, and the sweet fruit was lovely and very, very long before fading (earlier than the 1787). A marvel of a relic rather than unmitigated pleasure.'
3. Riesling is a grape variety you have famously championed. Is it now getting the recognition it deserves?
Barely. Ch Ste Michelle in Washington have championed it in the US and the host of well made dry versions are helping but it probably has too much flavour to be widely appreciated.
4. Can you tell us an interesting food and wine pairing from your travels?
Sheep's eyeball and, from memory, Vranac on a tour through what was Yugoslavia in the late 1970s
5. Is there a wine style or type that you just don't get along with?
99% of Prosecco, I'm afraid.
6. Can you recommend any up-and-coming wine regions that ought to be on our radar?
I'm selflessly off to explore Chilean Patagonia and Baja California tomorrow.
7. Is there such a thing as an underrated 'value' vintage in either Bordeaux or Burgundy?
Maybe 2007 in both regions.
8. Have your own tastes and preferences evolved with time and experience?
Yes. Please don't ask me to elaborate. Too much packing to do.
9. To whom are you indebted for passing on some of their wine knowledge?
Edmund Penning-Rowsell was really useful in passing on that ignorance is not something to be ashamed of. If you don't know, ask. And Hugh J. and Michael B. have been invaluable mentors in the art of connoisseurship.
10. Is there any advice you would now give to your younger self when starting out on a career in wine?
Don't work so hard!