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The week in pictures

Actors Adrien Brody and Kevin Spacey were among the celebrities to attend the fourth Jameson First Shot film competition at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles this week, where finalists in the competition presented their films. Helping to give writers and directors a break, three 2015 winners were flown out to Hollywood where they worked with Trigger Street Productions directing Adrien Brody in the lead role in their film. Once production is complete, the shorts will be released to a global audience on YouTube.

Jeeves the wire fox terrier enjoyed a Brakspear pint with his owner at the Dew Drop pub near Henley-on-Thames this week to mark the launch of pub operator and brewer’s “Pooches in Pubs campaign”. Targeting the nation’s growing band of dog lovers, the campaign hopes to encourage more four-legged friends and their owners to visit Brakspear pubs, all of which welcome dogs.

UK supermarket Lidl hosted its Christmas showcase on what was ironically one of the hottest days of the year. Escaping the heat outside, guests were greeted to the event by carol singers, piles of mince pies and Christmas meats, making for a surreal afternoon. Unveiling a range of premium aged whiskies, Ben Hulme, head of beer, wine and spirits at Lidl UK, revealed he would like to introduce an online wine shop, confirming the idea had not been ruled out and was being considered.

On a sweltering summer evening looking out over St James’s Park in London, Louis Latour Agencies celebrated its 25th anniversary in style. After a welcome by chairman John Clevely MW, managing director Will Oatley – flanked here by Louis-Fabrice Latour – announced the agency’s new partnership with Champagne Gosset.

db was lucky to attend a one-off vertical tasting of Argentine producer Acahaval Ferrer’s Finca Altamira estate this week, tasting through the 1999 to 2010 vintages. Hosted by Corney and Barrow, the event was held at Casa Mavelo in London’s Mayfair with dishes including roasted cod with celeriac, squid and quinoa, and the typically Argentine “Assado” flank steak with girolles, horseradish and bone marrow.

(L-R) Timmy Falzon of Mahiki, Marcell Denovan, Home House bartender, Adam Smith, Home House assisant Manager, Miguel Smith, International Brand Ambassador Mount Gay Rum, and Luke Ridge of The Ivy Club

Mount Gay rum held an event exclusively for bartenders at London’s Home House private members club last week. Hosted by Adam Smith, assistant manager at Home House, and Miguel Smith, international brand ambassador for Mount Gay, the event was attended by head bartenders from London’s top bars including the Artesian, Calloh Collay and Editions. They were given a Mount Gay masterclass and cocktails matched to canapés, including the winning two Mount Gay Black Barrel cocktails from the UK National Cocktail Competition London heat.

Representing the UK and Ireland, chef Mark Moriarty was crowned the 2015 San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year following a competition that saw 20 finalists, made up of talented chefs from across the globe, compete for the title. The grand final was held in Milan with Moriarty’s celeriac baked in barley and fermented hay, cured and smoked celeriac, hazelnut, celeriac and toasted hay tea, standing out as the only vegetarian dish in the competition.

Thirsty commuters at Waterloo Station in London were offered samples of Wadworth’s new beer Waterloo, brewed to mark 200 years since the Duke of Wellington led his army to face the assembled French forces led by Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo. The beer is described as a “zesty, golden beer” and will available in pubs and at selected events for a limited time.

Chivas Master, China finalist. Kevin Song

Kevin Song, bartender at D Lounge in Beijing, celebrates after being crowned the winner of the Chinese heat of the Chivas Masters cocktail competition. The global final is due to take place in New York this month.

Joan Roca (world’s No.1 chef), Brett Graham at The Ledbury, Albert Adria and James Knappet from Kitchen table, who have nine Michelin stars between them..

Some of the world’s top chefs gathered at the annual Estrella Damm Gastronomy Congress in London to discuss the future of fine dining. Exploring the increasing shift towards casual dining in the UK, the event featured cooking demonstrations of the latest trends from chefs including Joan Roca (from the world’s best restaurant El Celler de Can Roca), Albert Adrià (Tickets), Brett Graham (The Ledbury) and James Knappett (Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs).

Heineken’s Rugby World Cup 2015 ambassadors

Heineken has launched a search to find arching for 48 fans from across the globe to win a once in a lifetime opportunity to open a match at the Rugby World Cup 2015, attending the official coin toss prior to kick off, as part of its sponsorship campaign ahead of the event. Ex-All Black star Jonah Lomu and former England captain Will Carling are among the Rugby stars to be heading up the campaign, appearing in a line up of Heineken ambassadors.

Laurent Lacassagne, CEO of Chivas Brothers, attended the opening of an exhibition curated by Plymouth Gin detailing its “illustrious heritage”.  “From Plymouth to the World – the Voyage of Plymouth Gin from Birth to Legend”, is now open at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery. Created in partnership with Plymouth City Council, the new exhibition showcases the brand’s 200-year plus history in the city offering visitors an insight into the world of gin.

The pain of having to get up at the crack of dawn on Monday morning was sweetened by this stunning sunrise over West Sussex, which we snapped before boarding the red eye flight to Santiago de Compostela to explore two Spanish gems: the regions of Bierzo and Valdeorras in Galicia, with Wines from Spain.

Arriving at our first stop in Valdeorras, db’s Lucy Shaw was delighted to discover that the room she had been given matched perfectly with her handbag.

Among the places we stayed during the trip was Pazo do Castro, a 15th century spa hotel rammed with old portraits and artefacts.

Heading to Bierzo the next day, we began with a tasting put on by the Consejo Regulador of some of the top drops made in the region with the Mencía grape. Among our favourites were these six, including Ricardo Palacios’ Petalos brought in by BBR and Cuatro Pasos by Martin Codax available via Liberty.

Later in the day we were treated to a wild afternoon of tasting with free spirit Raul Perez who showed us all sorts of unusual experiments going on in his cellar, including a Pinot Noir from Bierzo and a white aged for two years under flor.

Keen to get a good look at the flor, Maria José Sevilla of Wines from Spain couldn’t believe here eyes when she saw it.

Having built up an appetite, Raul treated us to an epic dinner at his winery, which began at 6 and ended in the small hours. Among the highlights of the feast were crab claws, lobster tails, the most munificent beef I’ve ever tasted and a spicy lobster risotto made by Raul and served in mini Le Creuset pots.

Among the wines on pour during the dinner, in addition to his super fresh Mencías, was Sketch, an Albariño from Rias Baixas aged under water.

The next day we headed to Bodegas Pittacum for a tour, tasting and meat feast of a lunch that included razor-thin slices of air-dried beef called “cecina”, which proved a perfect pairing for the winery’s new rosé, Petit Pittacum, made with Mencía.

Back in Valdeorras we tried an array of wines from Compañia de Vinos Telmo Rodriguez, including a white field blend from Valdeorras and Gaba do Xil Godello grown on steep slopes at 550m altitude on granite soils.

As intriguing as it sounded, at dinner we bypassed the “roasted wild juvenile” and went for the safer option of the hake instead.

Our final evening saw us back in Santiago de Compostela, where we saw a number of brave souls walking the Camino de Santiago in searing heat. Dining at a local restaurant, we went off piste with Pinka from Bodegas Merencio, made from 100% Caíño Blanco, which boasted zesty acidity and mineral notes.

Pinka paired wonderfully well with our starter – a scallop ceviche with lime sorbet.

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