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on 14 December 2002
Although I suspect Mr Broadbent would shudder at the thought, comparions will inevitably be made between this book and those of Robert Parker, probably the broadest and certainly the most famous (or infamous) body of tasting notes by one individual available in print.

Perhaps the most fundamental difference is one of style. Parker's notes on any given wine tend to be of the order of two or three times longer than Broadbent's. By his own admission Broadbent is not "a great taster, merely a fairly conscientious one". As such his notes are pithy, concentrating the quality of the wine and its state of development rather than ransacking the vocabulary for different terms to describe, in minute detail, essentially similar smell and taste sensations.

Another important difference is the context, Broadbent's notes covering the full gamut from cask tastings at various Chateaux, through various formal tastings at auctions and wine societies to private dinners and, even in some cases family meals. This contrasts with Parker's notes, all written in the context of "professional tastings". While this arguably provides a more consistent basis upon which to compare the wines, it makes for much more clinical, and in my opinion, monotonous reading.

A particular feature of the Broadbent book is its depth, i.e. the range of vintages covered. Whereas Parker's books tend to cover wines recently released (or in the context of his regionally specific works, released in the last forty-or-so years), Broadbent's covers, uniquely as far as I know, vintages stretching back to the 19th and even late 18th centuries. This can be an invaluable aid in selecting older bottles for birthdays and anniversaries, as well as for buying or selling older wines at auction.

Broadbent's experience, knowledge and passion for the subject are all well documented, and all shine through equally in the book. Less expected, perhaps, are the warmth and humour which punctuate his entries: "I propose to leave my children Emma and Bartholomew two magnums each - if Daphne hasn't drunk them" . These show a down-to-earth, human side which I find reinforces my confidence in the soundness of his judgement.

There are of course eccentricities, such as his disdain for Spainish wines and his penchant for using "generous" (when describing his various hosts) as a synonym of "wealthy". However, these can be easily forgiven as there is also an honesty and humility to the work that is so patently missing in Parker. Who can imagine the latter admitting on the record that when presented with the Leoville Barton 1982 in bottle and double magnum at a "single blind" tasting, he guessed them to be the '59 and '61 respectively?

Warmly recommended.
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on 20 September 2015
Only Michael Broadbent has the experience of years in the trade to be able to write this, whilst most is a transcript of his notes over his period working for Christies, his notes are more than just factual , the people he encounteredand befriended, the situations and the venues that he tasted in all play there part in his fascinating life doing what so many of us would like to have been able to do, taste wine.
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on 2 November 2011
Broadbent's Vintage Wine is a unique history both of tasting, going back 50 years but of the history of wines and the history of wine itself. Spliced into the book is a general history and how wine was enjoyed by the history makers. It is well written by a true expert with a wealth of knowledge.
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on 26 June 2016
Lovely to read the transitions of the wines Broadbent reviewed in his earlier tome; I bought this edition because it has a section on the Rhone (unlike the original) and am very happy to have this in my library
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on 2 December 2002
This book is an excellent catalogue of all Michael Broadbent's tasting notes from the last 50 years. And has he tasted some wine! A bible that will definitely come in handy for any lover of fine wines, can't recommend it highly enough.
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on 27 December 2006
Although this book was republished in 2006, the material has not apparently been updated and still relates to when it was originally published in 2003.
Although interesting, I would have thought that with a book as expensive as this, the author could have brought it more up to date when it was republished. A poor buy.
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