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Malcolm Folley with David Coulthard in Monaco

Award winning sportswriter Malcolm Folley gets under the skin of motorsport’s most fabled race in his new book, Monaco – Inside F1’s Greatest Race. The book is not a conventional history but rather a companion of stories and shared memories from those most intimately associated with Monaco such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Ross Brawn, Martin Brundle, Nico Rosberg and many more, including the most unlikeliest winner of all, Frenchman Olivier Panis.

The day Lauda had Senna in his sights

The entrance to the Automobile Club de Monaco is located on Boulevard Albert 1er, barely 100 metres from the first corner of the circuit, Sainte-Dévote.  In the foyer is a portrait of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II and his wife, Princess Charlene; indeed, portraits of the ruling monarchy are omnipresent throughout the principality. Poignantly, before you reach the ground-floor restaurant, there is a painting capturing the alluring beauty of Prince Albert’s mother, Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly, which is a reminder that her marriage to Prince Rainier III, in front of the world’s media in April 1956, elevated the monarchy of Monaco to the global stage as she became Princess Grace.

Beyond the reception desk is a corridor leading to the library. On the right-hand wall is a photographic gallery of winners of the Monaco Grand Prix. A photograph of the late Ayrton Senna is prominently displayed, his rightful privilege as the man who has won a record six times on these streets. Another man whose history is reflected on this wall of fame is Niki Lauda, a victor twice. The careers of the men overlapped as Lauda neared the end of his pre-eminence in the paddock and Senna made his introduction.

Lauda recalls their earliest encounter as though it occurred yesterday. He was in pursuit of his third world championship – with McLaren then – after winning two titles for Ferrari. Senna was in his first season in Formula One in an uncompetitive Toleman. Only Senna knew – knew for certain – that greatness beckoned. It was 1984: in this scene Lauda is Big Brother.

“I was on a quick lap on Thursday . . . and I came round a corner to find Senna driving in the middle of the road,” says Lauda. Back in the pits, Lauda went in search of Senna. His question to the young Brazilian was typically brusque. “Are you one of us?” he demanded.

“What do you mean?” replied Senna. Lauda explained the fundamental requirements – and respect – expected from a new arrival on the most elevated stage in motor racing. “You can’t sit in the middle of the road in qualifying,” said the Austrian. He had a manner that did not invite debate.

Senna was unusually self-assured, though. “Niki,” he said. “This is the way I am.”

Lauda left without another word. In qualifying on Saturday, he knew his moment would arrive. “I did my quick lap and stayed out,” he said. “I was looking in my mirrors and waving drivers through. Then I saw Senna approaching from out of the tunnel. I stopped my car in front of his. After Senna stopped I took first gear and went. In the garage I waited for him to come to me this time. He did.”

Senna began to make his feelings known, when Lauda interrupted him. “Ayrton,” he said. “That’s the way I am.”

Great rivals Niki Lauda and Ayrton Senna showing some mutual respect

The Austrian, these days a driving force behind Hamilton’s acceleration to greatness with Mercedes, has never compromised his individuality in a sport that long since surrendered its personality to corporate conformity. Lauda has never been measured for a team uniform.  “Senna had a belief that he was right, but I told him that I could do the same if that is what he wants,” he explained. “From this moment, we never had a problem.”

To trace the winners at Monaco, from Juan Manuel Fangio to Stirling Moss, to Graham Hill and Jackie Stewart is to follow a lineage of motor-racing aristocracy which runs through the labyrinth of these streets to the barons of the sport these past 40 years: Lauda, Prost, Senna, Schumacher, Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Nico Rosberg, all world champions bar Sir Stirling, and all multiple winners at Monaco.

Hamilton always claims to feel the spirit of Senna infiltrate the soul of his driving when he is negotiating the swift changes of elevation, and tight, twisting corners around the harbour after screaming on the rev-limit through the artificial light of the tunnel. The first of his two victories, in 2008, the last win in Monaco for the once invincible McLaren team, evoked an outpouring of emotion from Hamilton that perhaps will never be surpassed no matter how many times he wins the world championship.

Monaco mattered because of Senna, yes; but, more, because of its historical significance to all who have driven a Formula One car on these streets normally governed by a 50kph speed limit, or less.


When every night was party night

Michel Ferry is a link to the past and more pragmatic present in Monaco, where a Grand Prix has been held uninterrupted since 1955. Beside his desk in the inner sanctum of the ACM is a photograph of him with Prince Rainier, and another with his son Prince Albert II. Ferry, aged 72, a silver-haired, debonair Monégasque, who is Commissaire Général of the Monaco Grand Prix, has held office within the ACM since 1962.

He recalls with fondness the days of Stirling Moss, who won three times on these streets, and Graham Hill, who wore lightly the epithet Mr Monaco, given him for winning five times between 1963 and 1969.  “It was another time, a different way of life, a lot of fun,” says Ferry. “Every night there was a big party with the drivers. Graham was at the Hotel de Paris on Friday and Saturday nights. Drivers were playing cards and drinking.”

Stewart and his wife, Helen, were an exception, says Ferry. “The couple were very close with Princess Grace,” he explains. “They were received at the palace and stayed there, more than once, during the Grand Prix.”

Jackie Stewart opens a bottle of champagne rather more sedately than usual, much to the amusement of fellow Formula One drivers Graham Hill and Jim Clark, and Provost John Campbell of Dumbarton

In contrast, the late, colourful James Hunt never knowingly missed a party in the Seventies. Remembering them was another matter. “James smoked drugs – everybody knew that,” says Ferry. “Lots of girls were around. The access to the track was free. You could approach the drivers, you could touch the cars. It is finished like this today: the cars arrive in the pits and the teams close the doors. Today you need to ask ten people to apply for a pass!”

For some years it has been evident that the only people not partying in Monaco until after the flag has dropped are the drivers. With car manufacturers Mercedes, Ferrari, Honda and Renault investing at least $1 billion in Formula One between them, that is the least surprising factor of Monaco over a grand prix week.

Each year the armada of ocean-going yachts and floating palaces that motor into the harbour becomes larger and more ostentatious. Often these boats are registered in tax havens. It is rumoured – but never openly admitted – that oceans of money exchange hands to claim a prime berth on the quayside during the grand prix weekend. It is the race every Formula One driver most wants to win; and for those with power and influence it is the race to be seen at.

Celebrities from down the ages, including Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby, The Beatles, Sylvester Stallone, George Clooney and Brad Pitt, have been seduced by this motor race by the shores of the Mediterranean.

As veteran broadcaster and PR executive Tony Jardine suggests: “Monaco is the glittering prize because everything associated with Formula One is epitomised in Monte Carlo: boats, champagne, success and excess.”


Monaco: Inside F1’s Greatest Race by Malcolm Folley is published in hardback by Century, available to buy from Amazon or any good book store now, priced £20.00

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Rhône Valley reds are easy to love. In the north, spiritual homeland of the Syrah grape, wines are brooding and silky with characteristic notes of violets, herbs, plums and grilled meat. In the ‘blender’s paradise’ of the south, Syrah is just one of a trio of grape superstars, sitting majestically alongside Grenache and Mourvedre as the three kings of most blends, including Châteauneuf-du-Pape (the most famous wine appellation in the southern Rhône). Follow Helena Nicklin as she sets out a 4-day itinerary starting from Lyon for enthusiasts to savour the best of food and wine in the Rhone Valley

Rhône is one of the three most revered French wine regions and yet when you travel there, it doesn’t feel like ‘wine Disneyland’ in any way. It’s super easy to drive around and there’s no need to find highfalutin food establishments to drink the best wines. In fact, the Rhône is where you can put together a picnic from the most incredible fresh food markets you’ve ever seen then head to the hills with a great bottle. Do this at least once with some good friends and have the most memorable food and wine experience ever. Having said that, there are some fine dining establishments that alone are worth the plane ticket. My suggestion would be to go for a long weekend and do a bit of both. I know this, because I just came back from doing precisely this with another foodie couple. There are many ways you can do a long epicurean weekend in the Rhône Valley, but here’s one itinerary that’s tried and tested…

Helena Nicklin and Patrick Henriroux

Helena with Patrick Henriroux

Thursday: Fly into Lyon from London, to arrive late morning. Pick up a hire car (nice and simple here) and drive for 30 minutes to La Pyramide: a 4-star Relais & Chateaux hotel with impeccable service, a bistro for easy-going meals and the unmissable icing on the cake: Patrick Henriroux’s 2-star restaurant. Leave the car here, unpack and get a cab five minutes down the road to Bistro de Serine for light-ish lunch. This is a cosy bistro with a great outdoor space and a view of the vineyards in Ampuis. It also has pretty good, affordable food and an epic wine list. Do with this last bit of information what you will. It is around Ampuis that some of the greatest Rhône wine producers are located (think Guigal, Ogier, Rostaing, Gerin). Tastings at these places are often by appointment only but the prices for their wines in Serine’s enoteca are sensible enough to buy some to try at your leisure. Take a little walk, get a cab back to La Pyramide where you can freshen up, have a stroll and be back in time for a cheeky little Viognier in the garden before your 2 Michelin star meal.

Friday: You won’t really be hungry but the breakfast at La Pyramide is photogenic and completely delicious. There are lots of little quirky homemade bits of this and that, from tiny cakes to mini cheese plates, bread, omelettes and edible flowers. After breakfast, jump in the car and take a slow drive (1hr ish) down south to Valence in the Drome, perhaps stopping off to take some photos of the iconic vineyards of Condrieu, which produce world famous Viognier-based whites. Carry on down to Valence, a delightful town with authentic, French shopping, stunning views of the gorges and an old town where you can get lost in the rickety, narrow streets looking for pretty little churches, art galleries or a cosy spot for a cool beer. In Valence, there are plenty of charming, low key eateries serving tagine, pizzas, fish… whatever takes your fancy. There are also plenty of decent, basic hotels that over deliver for the price, such as the Hotel de France, where we stayed. This place was central, with its own car park and we could walk to the old town in five minutes. You’ll probably want to reign it in a little bit during the day because in the evening, you could find yourself at the 3-star restaurant Anne-Sophie Pic at Maison Pic, just down the road. Now, this was an experience. Anne-Sophie Pic’s dishes are so delicate and beautiful, with Japanese influences. This restaurant has been awarded 3 Michelin stars since 1933 and remains a fabulous gastronomical experience that’s best not rushed. You can stay here too in the beautiful hotel rooms if you’re feeling flush.

Map of the Rhone valleySaturday: Chances are, you will be feeling the need to eat simply today and Valence is the best place to do that. After breakfast, head out for a stroll to take in the sights. Every Saturday morning in the centre of the old town, there is the most gorgeous food market. Full of locals buying their weekly fare rather than tourists, you’ll see the plumpest red strawberries, tomatoes bigger than your head, fresh bread, crazy cheeses, dried fruits, charcuterie and more. This is where you can stock up for a picnic. Check out and take your goodies to the car to drive back up north towards Lyon. On the way, there is an unassuming, pretty little town called Tain, that red wine lovers will get very excited about. When there, look up to the hills full of vines. You might just be able to make out the tiniest of chapels. This teeny building is ‘La Chapelle’ of Hermitage wine fame and the vines surrounding it make some of the best red wines on the planet (look for producers Jaboulet, Chapoutier and Chave). You can drive the zig zag routes through the vines to get relatively close to La Chapelle for your picnic. From here, you can see the whole of the Rhone Valley with vines and the river in the foreground. There is no better place to feast on the simple delights you brought up with you from Valence.

Make your way slowly back and hop into the car to head back up to your hotel in Lyon. An evening stroll pre-dinner through Lyon’s old town is an absolute must before a typically French bistrot meal such as Daniel et Denise at the top end or the simpler Café Comptoir Abel.

Sunday: Lyon is a great place to explore briefly or all day. If you have some time before your flight, the Roman Theatre of Fourviére is an interesting stop as is the famous 17th century Musée Des Beaux-Arts, but even just walking around is an absolute delight.

The Rhône Valley is the wine and food tourism road less travelled and it’s so easy to do. I’m going back for more in the Autumn and suggest you do the same.

Helena Nicklin is an award-winning drinks writer and presenter of The Three Drinkers TV show on Amazon Prime. Tweet her @thewinebird or @the3drinkers of find her on instagram @winebird @thethreedrinkers


Rhône Valley reds are easy to love.

Gin is the quintessential London drink and Savile Row Gin embodies the classic style of the capital, so to combine the two creates a product that just oozes elegance and crafted excellence. But the exquisite union nearly didn’t happen. Tim Newark meets Savile Row Gin founder and CEO, Stewart Lee

I had a heart stopping moment,” says Savile Row Gin founder Stewart Lee. “The whole project depended on getting the whole-hearted support of Savile Row tailors. At lunch at Brown’s I told Angus Cundey MBE about it, and for the longest ten seconds of my life, he took a deep pause…”

Affectionately known as the “Godfather of the Row,” Mr Cundey is Chairman of one of Savile Row’s most prestigious and original tailors, Henry Poole & Co. “He cocked his head to one side and then said yes, he thought it was a wonderful idea.”

It was only fitting then that I should interview Stewart Lee at Henry Poole to get the inside story of the exclusive coupling, surrounded by portraits of historic clients, including Sir Winston Churchill, and a framed facsimile of a cheque signed by author Charles Dickens for £15 of tailoring. A bronze imperial French eagle happens to hang behind the counter, a gift from Emperor Napoleon III, who was their first royal client when they opened their shop in the vicinity in 1828.

Founder Stewart Lee: brand enjoys a unique personality

“As publisher of Savile Row Style magazine, I’ve worked with the Row for many years,” says Stewart. “It was important I got the support of several prominent members of the Savile Row Bespoke Association, including key figures like Angus Cundey. I was determined to uphold their values of quality, their appeal to the public, and, of course, promote bespoke men’s tailoring. I think my magazine work enabled me to gain their trust for this new venture.”

Distilled in traditional copper pots under the expert eye of award-winning distiller Rob Dorsett, Savile Row Gin is a blend of 12 botanicals, with traditional juniper matched with the freshness of coriander and a unique citrus hint of kumquat. A key part of its distinct character is its witty glass design.

“You look at the bottle and you can see the broad shoulders narrowing down like a suit. You might think it would be easy choosing a bottle but we saw it as vital way of establishing the unique personality of the brand.” Next came the label.

“We used a Goudy Old Style serif font which is very much going back into the heritage of Savile Row. Then we thought about what does every Savile Row tailor possess as the distinctive tool of their trade? We thought scissors but then, of course, crossed needles and thread came to us and we’ve picked them out in gold foil on the label. We worked with top designer Micha Weidmann Studio to ensure the bottle epitomises Savile Row, not too loud, very stylish and elegant. We are very proud of that branding.”
The association will be further enhanced when bottles are wrapped in a gift bag packaging made of Winston Churchill pinstripe cloth cut and designed on Savile Row. On that detail alone, I can see it becoming the perfect present for any admirer of the great man.

Already, Savile Row Gin has attracted several key partners including Jack Barclay Bentley, Bonhams, and London Fashion Week Men’s, operated by the British Fashion Council. “Savile Row is an iconic brand and we want to work with other iconic brands in the area,” says Stewart.

Indeed, the gin’s first exposure to the public was at LAPADA, the high profile art fair in Berkeley Square in Mayfair. “I couldn’t believe my luck,” he recalls. “At first they said no way, they knew me but they didn’t know the gin. I’ve been the publisher to LAPADA for 15 years, producing their official catalogue before they were even in Berkeley Square. I gave them a nudge and nothing happened, then about four weeks before the fair they phoned me up and said though they’d not tasted it yet, I’d produced good publications for them and they trusted me to produce a damn good gin too!”

Stewart had the gin sponsorship for the fair and it turned out to be a gamble well worth taking.

“The immediate response to the drink and brand was fantastic. You’re always worried that you’ll see half-full glasses lying around, but everyone loved it and wanted more. We were delighted and deeply privileged to be launched there in the heartland of Mayfair in Berkeley Square, one of the most iconic squares in London and very fitting for Savile Row Gin”

Since then it has been served at leading events, including a drinks reception at Kensington Palace. “For our gin brand to be served at a royal residence was a real honour.”

Model David Gandy

David Gandy: the brand’s ambassador

As a publisher, he produced the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee official programme in 2012.

For Stewart, it is the realisation of a personal dream. “I was out with some friends and must admit it first came to me one evening over a few gin and tonics,” he laughs. “I’ve always loved gin and there are some amazing gins out there. It was just that eureka moment.

“My whole career has been in magazine publishing and I’ve felt for some time that I was looking for a new challenge. With my business experience and contacts, I felt I wanted this to be something social, something fun. Something I could grow and work with friends and business partners and they have already contributed valuable advice.”

Top male model David Gandy is a partner in the business and is lending his elegant good looks to promoting the drink, while fashion guru and style consultant Robin Dutt immediately appreciated the special combination. “Savile Row Gin has been specially crafted as a suit of quality must always be,” he notes. “A Savile Row suit is unique and Savile Row Gin has a distinct hallmark when it comes to an individual taste.”

Part of its genius is that it feels as though it has already been around forever.

“Savile Row as a moniker of sartorial elegance goes back over 200 years and is respected the world over,” says Robin. “Every tailor is unique and all are part of the Savile Row family.”

Stewart agrees. “A Savile Row suit will last a lifetime. I was once talking to Michael Skinner, Chairman of Dege & Skinner and he opened up his suit jacket and proudly showed me the label dating back to 1975. It looked as good as if it had been made yesterday.”

Dege & Skinner recently celebrated its 150th anniversary, tracing its history back to Jacob Dege, a German immigrant who came to London in 1855, quickly building a fine tailoring business in nearby Conduit Street. His son then met a young Englishman called William Skinner, whose family was trading in Jermyn Street and a tailoring legend was established. Just as Savile Row can trace its history back over centuries, so can gin. Originally distilled in Dutch cities in the 16th century, it became a quick favourite with English soldiers who liked a sip of it before battle, hence the phrase “Dutch courage”.

When Dutch King William became a British sovereign, gin became a fashionable drink in London. So much so that 7,000 gin shops rapidly opened across the capital in the 18th century. When a gin tax was imposed, there was rioting in the streets and the duty was later reduced.

Gin is still a vital part of Brand UK, just like Savile Row. “So highly regarded is this street around the world, that in Japan a suit is apparently referred to as ‘Sebiro’,” reveals Robin Dutt, “a delightful accolade.” Henry Poole and other tailors have already opened branches in China and the growing Asian market. Stewart must be hoping his gin literally follows suit.

He added: “The idea is to start in the heartland in Mayfair but then appeal to people across the country and then hopefully around the world—why not?”
The British Empire originally helped spread the classic pairing of gin and tonic. In tropical colonies, the anti-malarial quinine was dissolved in carbonated water to make tonic water.

For the perfect gin and tonic, Stewart recommends combining 50ml of Savile Row Gin with 150ml classic Indian tonic water, finished off with a slice of pink grapefruit and a mint leaf. “You could almost call it tailored perfection,” he quips. “Our gin is very smooth and I believe it’s a very good sipping gin as well.”

Gin is the quintessential London drink and

Giles Burke-Gaffney, buying director at Justerini & Brooks, tells Daniel Evans about his lifelong love affair with the sparkling tipple

The venue – The Library at the Café Royal on Regent Street – was suitably opulent. The quality of champagne on offer – from Dom Perignon 2009 to Bollinger, La Grande Annee 2007 – equally splendid. But the standout performer on the night was Giles Burke-Gaffney, buying director at Justerini & Brooks who provided just the right amount of expert guidance to give his audience the insight and understanding they needed to get the most out of their champagne-tasting experience.

As we sat and chatted over what I think was the third champagne on the list – a Ruinart, Blanc de Blanc, NV – Giles told me what he thought it was about the sparkling tipple which particularly appealed to so many people. “Ever since the times of King George III in 1761 [to whom Justerini & Brooks would make regular deliveries], champagne has been associated with fun and celebration,” he said.

“Perhaps it was, at first, an appreciation of the time and craftsmanship invested in making champagne that sparked its popularity, or maybe it was just the pop and the bubbles! But, as much as life and champagne have changed over the years, there is as much skill going into the making of champagne as ever. It has been cherished throughout the ages, from Dickens to Wilde, and from Churchill to James Bond.

“The UK has been one of the world’s top markets for champagne for some time now. Our passion for bubbles and brands has seen extraordinary growth in consumption which, combined with our great curiosity, has seen an expansion in the variety of champagne being offered. There is a wider and more diverse range of champagnes available in the UK than ever before and quality is at an all-time high. Rosé, vintage, luxury cuvees, single vineyards, extra brut or even bone dry nondosage styles have all been penetrating the market.”

Justerini & Brooks is the oldest continuous royal warrant holding fine wine and spirits merchants in the UK. Established in 1749 in London, it has a portfolio over 3,500 wines from the finest estates, domaines and chateaux. Particular strengths are Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhone, the Loire, champagne, Italy and Germany Giles adds: “We cellar over £200 million of wine on behalf of our clients in our storage facility – Cellarers Wines Ltd – and have a broking platform where we value clients’ bottles or entire cellars and sell them on their behalf.

“As buying director, I run a team of six. We scour the world tasting wines from well over 300 wine growers a year, the aim being to check up on our existing sources and discover any hidden new winemaking talent out there. We divide and conquer. I personally look after some of our key regions across Europe, including Burgundy, the Rhone and Italy. Travelling throughout the year, I spend much of my time in vineyards and cellars, tasting over 30,000 wines in the last five years alone. We share our finds with the teams in London, Edinburgh and Hong Kong, working jointly with them on marketing strategies to sell directly to the customer.”

I ask Giles what he would recommend to someone if they came to him and said they were not a regular champagne drinker but would like to try some. “I would suggest our Justerini & Brooks 250th Anniversary Cuvee,” he said. “It was created for our 250th anniversary in 1999 it is made from excellent quality Pinot Noir fruit from the Bar region. It’s opulent, fruity and smooth – delicious from magnum [and won’t break the bank]. We serve this at our St James’s Street lunches and dinners and it always goes down well. It’s a crowd-pleaser, popular at weddings and parties. For something more cerebral, I would suggest one of the Philipponnat Champagnes – be it their brut tradition, Blanc de Noirs or the jewel in their crown Clos des Goisses, the 2007 being the current release. There are also some truly wonderful growers’ champagnes out there, Egly Ouriet being one to look out for if you like champagnes with rich, toasty, red fruit flavours. His old vines Les Crayeres blend is memorable.”

Giles knew from quite a young age that he wanted to work in the wine trade. “I have been fascinated by wines ever since my father, a barrister, starting sharing wonderful old bottles of claret and burgundy with me,” he said. “Not only were they delicious but they all tasted different and each had a story to tell. I find the skill, their understanding of nature and determination of fine wine growers completely inspiring.

“I was lucky enough to begin at Justerini & Brooks in 1997 as a cellar hand. Our spiritual home has always been Piccadilly – for more than 200 years we had a shop in this area before moving everything to – so, when I began, I was selling from our office in St James’s Street. I was always spell-bound by the amazing aromas while decanting wines for the lunches that took place in the dining room at St James’s Street and now, 20 years later, I still have a great passion for the job.”

Three of the best: Philipponnat Close des Goisses (left), Egly Oriet (middle), Philipponnat 1552 (right)

Over time, Giles honed his palate – “With great enthusiasm,” he admits – and wine knowledge under the tutelage of the-then buying director (now chairman) Hew Blair, before taking on the role himself in 2012. “However the learning never stops, there is always something new to discover,” he adds. “Our customer base is such a broad spectrum. It is such a wide-ranging list of people from entrepreneurs, city folk and lawyers, to actors & actresses and sports people, particularly polo players.” (The company’s headline sponsorship of British Polo Day might explain that one.)

As the evening comes to a close and with only time for one more glass – a Philipponnat, Cuvee 1522, 2007 – I wonder whether I have chosen the wrong career, I ask Giles whether his job, which seems to revolve around travelling the world drinking and talking about champagne, has a downside. “Very few,” he admits. “You get bored of airports and missing out on family time is a potential pitfall but I love it.”

Giles Burke-Gaffney, buying director at Justerini &