An outspoken and extremely knowledgeable wine professional, Lawton came from a long line of wine merchants in France's premier wine area. He was a direct descendant of Daniel Guestier, who founded the wine merchant firm of Barton & Guestier in 1802. Lawton, who spoke near-perfect English, spent most of his working life as a courtier, acting as a go-between for the chateaus and negociants selling and buying the top wines of Bordeaux.
Lawton's tasting ability was legendary, especially with young reds still aging in barrel. He possessed a wicked, dry sense of humor and always had a historical view of the market whether discussing prices or the demand for a particular chateau. For instance, he recently said that the decision of the chateaus to raise prices for the good- to average-quality vintage of 1997 was yet another example of the region's producers not understanding the market. "Bordeaux has a tendency to repeat itself," he said. "It was like this in 1972 and again in 1984."
He represented the seventh generation of Lawtons in the wine trade in Bordeaux. (The first was Abraham Lawton, who came from Cork, Ireland, in 1739 to sell wines.) Lawton is survived by his wife, as well as his son and daughter, who are both Bordeaux wine merchants.
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