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The week in pictures

Vintner members and trade guests at close of Premiere Napa Valley 2013 barrel tasting and auction, which raised US$3.04 million.

Chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, Brigid Simmonds and other leading members of the UK beer industry deliver a “message in a barrel” to the Treasury offices in London. The barrel contains messages from the beer industry and MPs urging George Osborne to freeze beer duty in his Budget on 20 March.

Pop superstar Kylie Minogue published this photograph on Instagram celebrating signing a management deal with Roc Nation, with a bottle of Armand de Brignac Champagne.

South African DJ Ian Credible is unveiled as the winner of the Olmeca Tequila “Be the DJ” competition. Ian wins the opportunity to open an upcoming set for DJ Steve Aoki (pictured on the left), and he will also become the resident DJ for music magazine, Mixmag, in Ibiza this summer.

The Savile Arms in Thornhill near Dewsbury has received an official blessing from Canon Brian Abell after its new Black Sheep brewery branded signs were hung outside the venue. Part of the 245-year-old building is settled on consecrated ground, which belongs to St Michael and All Angels Church located adjacent to the pub.

db hit the jackpot when we were invited to an intimate dinner at Christie’s private dining room in St James’s showcasing the heavenly white Burgundies of Domaine Leflaive, each introduced by the queen of white Burgundy, Anne-Claude Leflaive. With guests including former Formula One boss Max Mosley, while we were wowed by Montrachet Grand Cru 2001 (pictured), the wine that stole the night for us was Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru 1995, also Anne-Claude’s favourite on the night.

E&J Gallo’s general manager Bill Roberts popped into the Charlotte Street hotel this week to show off the company’s new addition – the 5.5% abv Gallo Summer White, which makes its world debut in the UK this month. Also on show was new rosé, Barefoot Pink Moscato, made in response to last year’s “Moscato madness” boom in both the US and the UK.

Bruno Colomer Marti, chief winemaker for historic Spanish estate Codorniu, jetted into London this week to show off his cava range, from high-end vintage offerings to a series of female-focused new bottle designs released in time for Mother’s Day later this month.

Continuing with the Spanish theme, db headed to new opening from restaurateur Eric Yu, Cadaqués at Salvador & Amanda in Bloombury, which takes its name from Spanish Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí and his muse Amanda Lear, where we indulged in crispy pig’s ears, crab croquets and chorizo lollipops prepared by head chef Ruben Dario Estrella, formerly of Salt Yard, ending with a decadent chocolate fondant washed down with a copa of Pedro Ximenez.

Singer Paloma Faith was one of 30 stars, including actors Sir Ian McKellan, George Clooney and Anne Hathaway, to sign a Methuselah donated by Champagne Taittinger, which will be auctioned for charity by BAFTA later this year.

The irreverent and ebullient Clovis Taittinger was in town this week for a special screening of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln at Bafta, for which Daniel Day-Lewis made history by scooping his third Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the top hat-wearing American President. After the screening, Clovis worked the room, posing beside the aforementioned Methuselah and declaring Taittinger’s “Sec” offering, Nocturne, “the future for Champagne.”

Sherry bodega owner and part-time jockey Javier Hidalgo was sporting a shiner on his right eye at a Mentzendorff lunch showcasing his array of Sherries, which he told db he acquired when a log hit him in the face while chopping wood. The lunch explored Sherry and food pairing with a smoked salmon and boiled egg dish proving a surprising highlight.

Not for the faint-hearted – db was lucky enough to dine at self-styled “demon chef” Alvin Leung’s new London outpost Bo London this week, where we couldn’t resist trying Leung’s signature dessert, Sex on the Beach, proceeds from which are donated to Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. It tasted better than it looked…

Having indulged in Alvin Leung’s daring dessert, db’s intrepid senior writer Lucy Shaw decided to take things up a notch at the Café de Mort pop-up in a cold crypt in Chancery Lane. With all dishes on the menu, from pufferfish to false morels, potentially deadly, the most gruesome challenge of the evening came in the form of a snake wine cocktail. Made from rice wine steeped in dead snake, it smelt like a rotting carcass and brought tears to the eyes.

Yealands Estate’s glamourous chief winemaker Tamra Washington held court at a recent bloggers tasting dinner at the Union Club in Soho, where she showcased her wines from the Awatere Valley. 

db visited The Port House, a newly opened “gin and tapas” joint on the Strand in central London. As its name suggests, the Iberian-inspired venue also serves a strong selection of fortified wines.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the Oxford vs Cambridge University blind tasting match, a team from the UK wine trade took on the wine press. Despite a distinctly light-hearted, some might say raucous, approach in comparison to the university teams, there were a few moments of more sober deliberation.

Jubilant in defeat: the press team raises a restorative glass of Pol Roger 2002 after the MW-packed wine trade team won by just six points. Despite this, Anthony Rose was awarded the individual prize for top taster.

In the main competition, Oxford and their longstanding coach, Dr Hanneke Wilson, celebrate victory over a less experienced Cambridge team.

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