Meet Robert: Senior Fine Wine Buyer

Robert Mathias

26 January 2023

We sat down to get to know a new addition to our purchasing team, Robert Mathias.

Robert tells us about his Master's of Wine and shares what he's been drinking recently.

Hi Robert, welcome to Bordeaux Index! Tell us a bit about your background.

My career in the wine industry started while I was studying Musicology and Social Theory at Cambridge University - in what little free time I had, I would study about wine and work in the local wine shop. After graduating, I moved to London and began working for Bibendum where I eventually came to be a buyer responsible for various regions, but principally France. The group grew significantly over the 8 years I was working there and, in the end, I was responsible for the fine wine programme as well as the buying for France across different channels and price points: from multiple retail to fine dining restaurants and everything in between!

So, what made you want to get into the wine industry?

Wine, quite simply! I love the people, the places, the stories behind the bottle. There was no eureka moment, but it is a bug that has truly taken hold, and I love learning about new things and tasting new bottles.

Bordeaux Index Fine Wine
La Chapelle on the hill of Hermitage in the Northern Rhone and Chablis; the view from Le Clos Grand Cru over towards Blanchots
We hear you’re studying for a Master’s of Wine. How has that been going?

It’s been a long, intense but ultimately rewarding process! I’m into the final furlong, writing the research paper which will be around the significant growth in the vintage and prestige champagne market. All being well I hope to be finished at the end of the year. In the moment, the preparation for the tasting and theory papers was gruelling but I do look back on it with a huge sense of achievement. I won’t say it too loudly, but I do almost miss the Saturday morning 12 wine blind tasting practice I would do religiously!!

Tell us about your favourite bottle of wine.

I can’t pick just one! The best bottles have always been shared with great people at the right moment. I find huge joy in drinking a tangy chianti with a pizza on a Tuesday evening, just as much as Clos de la Roche from Rousseau to celebrate something special. Saying that, I find old bottles huge fun, and it is these which have given both the greatest surprises (and naturally some of the greatest disappointments!)

Bordeaux Index Fine Wine
The historic plot of 1972 Cabernet at Chateau Montelena (Napa) with Mount St Helena in the background
What have you been drinking recently?

I’d say I have quite classical tastes: I tend to like wines with animation over opulence. Right now, I am on a Northern Rhone kick and drank a bottle of Domaine Jamet Cote Rotie 2012 which was quite simply narcotic. Otherwise I’ve been drinking quite a lot of Beaujolais – a standout was a bottle of Foillard Morgon Cote de Puy 2015, which still tastes so youthful!

And if you could open a bottle of anything right now, what would you choose and why?

It’s quite early in the morning as I write this, so I would need to say an old Mosel Kabinett maybe from 1989 or 1990… It’s the perfect breakfast wine, and one of the few classic regions where it’s still possible to buy extraordinary quality at a moderate price.