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The week in pictures

Guests at the Royal Salute tasting at The Whisky Shop in Piccadilly were treated to a dram of the brand’s 62 Gun Salute blend. The evening also saw the Royal Salute master blender Colin Scott talk about his products, including the Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, which is his own creation and carries his signature on the bottle.

The great and good of wine writing gathered in Rioja this week to celebrate Beronia’s 40th birthday with chief winemaker Matias Calleja (centre)

Closer to home, there was another 40th birthday party this week as the Marks & Spencer wine department celebrated four decades in the business.

There’s something fishy going on… teams of food and wine bloggers took part in the Cloudy Bay cook off over the weekend where they were tasked with creating a dish to pair with the estate’s newly released 2013 Sauvignon Blanc. Sourcing ingredients from Borough Market under the watchful gaze of Cloudy Bay winemaker Nick Lane, teams cooked their dishes in at the New Street Fish Market restaurant, which were judged by head chef, Barry MacMillan.

Barbara Banke, the indefatigable chairman of Jackson Family Wines, flew into London this week for a special tasting of the 2010 vintage from some of the company’s top wine estates – Cardinale, Lokoya and Vérité. During the tasting, Banke announced that she had recently purchased a fourth wine estate in Oregon in order to pursue her ambitions of making premium Pinot Noir.

The 2013 harvest began at English sparkling wine producer Nyetimber in West Sussex this week

Another Jackson was also in town this week – John Stitchbury, the effervescent founder of Jackson Estate in Marlborough, who took over the private dining room of Asian fusion restaurant Sushinho on the King’s Road with the estate’s chief winemaker Matt Peterson-Green. The duo showed off the latest vintages of their range, taking in the textured, gunpowder-laced Grey Ghost Sauvignon Blanc and bright, juicy Gum Emperor Pinot Noir, which were paired with a variety of delicious dishes, including butterfish, pork ribeye, miso glazed lamb and plantain fried rice.

db was also treated to a library tasting of old vine Shiraz pioneer Tahblik hosted by Armit at Xavier Rousset’s 28-50 on Maddox Street. Among the wines on show were the estate’s 1995 Marsanne, the 2000 vintage of its 1927 Vines Marsanne, Thabilk Shiraz 1986, Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz 1999 and the 1986 vintage of its 1860 Vines Shiraz. Standing out among the pack was the 2002 vintage of Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz, which, having been bottled under screwcap, was astonishingly youthful of its 11 years, boasting brooding bramble fruits, liquorice, pepper, spice, and herbal notes of rosemary and thyme.

Never one to turn down an invitation to be taken up The Shard, db’s Lucy Shaw was treated to a road test of the Hutong cocktail menu at the Chinese restaurant’s adjoining bar. Taking Chinese Medicine as a theme, each of the bar’s eight signature cocktails are said to boast ingredients with medicinal qualities. Wherever possible, Hutong aims to use homemade ingredients, from its five spice mix and tamarind syrup to its star anise tincture.

The standout cocktail was the Hutong Crusta, made from a mixture of Hennessy Cognac, fresh kumquat, Maraschino, star anise tincture, Grand Marnier, tamarind syrup and lemon juice, which, while heavy hitting, was perfectly balanced. Ancient Chinese physicians believe star anise to be able to cure a number of ills, including hiccups, headaches, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, colic and cholera. It is also thought to boost milk production in nursing mothers.

Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi’s new president, Lamberto Frescobaldi, hitches a ride on a tractor while paying a visit to the prison on the island of Gorgona where he has collaborated with inmates on a white wine project.

Mexican bartender Jose Luis Leon was crowned the winner of the fourth Tahona Society Cocktail Competition, winning a trip to the US to work alongside the US bartending legend, Charles Joly, at the Aviary in Chicago. Leon – who works at Licoreria Limantour in Mexico City – emerged as the unanimous winner.

The Tahona Society Cocktail grand final took place on the rooftop bar of the Demetria hotel in Guadalajara, Mexico, with 15 bartenders from 11 countries around the world. Here the UK’s Chris Mosey celebrates his third place in the competition.

(Image credit: Sir Colin Hampden-White)

The Glenfiddich yurt which was at Mount Everest base camp for Walking with the Wounded was brought to The Whisky Show at Vinopolis this week. Ian Millar the global brand ambassador for Glenfiddich is nosing a single malt Glenfiddich from 1987, two bottles of which will go to the south pole with Walking with the Wounded team Glenfiddich as they compete in the race to the south pole. One bottle will return, signed by the team and auctioned for the charity.

Alessio and Francesca Planeta visited the db offices to show off their new range of wines from a project on the slopes of Mount Etna, described by Alessio as “the most interesting area of Italy at the moment.”

Maxence de Damas, Pierre Montmayou, Diane and Herve Joyaux Fabre at a celebration for Argentinian winery Fabre Montmayou’s 20th birthday.

Damiano Madeddu from the Rivoli Bar at the Ritz hotel London won the 2013 Masters of Maraschino competition with his inventive cocktail, Luxardo Punch, judged on taste, presentation, appearance, product knowledge, aroma and the name. His prize is a visit to the picturesque home of Luxardo near Venice in Italy, hosted by Matteo Luxardo and the Luxardo family, and a vintage 1960s bottle of Luxardo Maraschino.

Marques de Murrieta celebrated the launch of its 2005 Castillo Ygay Gran Reservation Especial by opening its older sister from the 1970 vintage.

The two wines also represented the shift between Murrieta’s former winemaking approach and the “new era” introduced by company president Vicente Dalmau from 2000.

Hubert de Billy of the Pol Roger family hosted an evening and dinner at the Champany Inn to celebrate the release of the Champagne brand’s 2004 vintage.

Guests enjoy a taste of Spain at this week’s busy Rioja Trade Tasting that took place at London’s Oxo2.

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