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The week in pictures

db hopped on a plane to Jerez in Spain this week, the land of Sherry, to attend Gonzalez Byass’ third Sherrymaster by Tio Pepe. Designed to educate and inspire the trade on the joys of Sherry, guests were whisked to the producer’s (recently harvested) vineyards, known for their signature bright white “albariza” chalk soils.

A batch of Pedro Ximenzez grapes drying in the Spanish midday sun, ready to be made into Jerez’s sweet PX-style Sherry.

Visiting a nature reserve in San Fernando, we were given a demonstration of langoustine farming using nets positioned in vast lagoons to catch this fine example, which was destined to become our lunch at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Pedro Ballesteros MW was on hand to host an intriguing tasting on Sherry wines “with a history”, which included this 178-year-old Trafalgar from Gonzalez Byass’ archives. It’s thick, viscous texture made for a unique drinking experience, with marmite a common tasting note among the group.

Matt Stafford, chief winemaker at Craggy Range, takes his UK audience on a virtual tour of Hawke’s Bay as he introduced the producer’s Prestige Collection wines from 2013, “the vintage of a generation”.

As Chile and Argentina teamed up for the Mercado Andino trade tasting in Old Spitalfields Market, Viña Morandé’s chief winemaker Ricardo Baettig explained why we ought to see more Grenache coming out of Chile in future.

Also showing off new wines was Doña Paula’s recently instated chief winemaker Marcos Fernández, who is keen to channel the expression of the producer’s Uco Valley vineyards through blended styles such as this latest release, “1350”.

The team at Bibendum PLB Group ahead of the supplier’s Ultimate Wine Options charity auction and dinner, organised in aid of Action Against Hunger. The event raised £75,000 with members of the team volunteering their services for the night to become waiters and pourers.

Laura Catena, of pioneering Argentina producer Catena Zapata, was in London for a gaucho-style asado party in Hyde Park to celebrate the launch of the Pasarisa and Altaland ranges from Argentina. Catena is pictured here with members of the Bibendum PLB Group, which will be distributing the wines in the UK. Cocktails in hand are made from Malbec, hibiscus and grapefruit.

db’s own Gabby Stone joined in the celebrations with Bibendum PLB’s Claire Page.

Martell, the oldest of the grand Cognac Houses, celebrated its 300th anniversary with a spectacular party at the Château de Versailles, one of several events to celebrate the occasion. The anniversary was also a chance to thank its staff, who were invited to a celebration at the Château de Chanteloup, the birthplace of the House, where they were treated to an air show followed by a fireworks display.

Champagne Pol Roger has unveiled a new series of advertisements to mark its sponsorship of two highlights of the international three day event calendar, releasing a number of behind the scenes snaps. September sees the house take a leading presence at both the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and the Longines FEI European Eventing Championship at Blair Castle 2015. As part of these partnerships, Pol Roger has signed leading British eventers Harry Meade and Laura Collett as ambassadors.

One of Pol Roger’s “fizzy rascals”, Laura, relaxing after the main shoot.

db headed to Chilean street food pop-up Rica Rica in Covent Garden this week for a tasting lunch hosted by Bancroft to showcase Bouchon Family Wines’ juicy new “wild” País made by chief winemaker Felipe Ramirez (pictured) from grapes that have grown untamed on the trees at its Mingre estate in the Maule valley. 

To pair with it, we enjoyed piping hot empanadas; scallop, tuna and salmon ceviche; a beef onglet with corn parcels and sweet potato with preserved lemon purée (pictured), finishing on a sugar high with lemon meringue pie. 

We also headed to Chinese restaurant Min Jiang at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington for a lunch hosted by Thorman Hunt’s director Jeremy Hunt (right) to showcase the latest vintages of Massaya from Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley. During the abundant feast, we got chatting to Sami Ghosen (left), the estate’s general manager, who revealed that making wine in Lebanon was more dangerous than ever due to the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

Despite the difficulties, Ghosen remains defiant and was proud to show off his new wine, Cap Est, a Grenache/Mourvedre blend. Among the dishes we devoured during the lunch was a colourful platter of dim sum, followed by wood fired Beijing Duck (the house’s speciality), steamed sea bass, diced ribeye and fried rice with diced duck.

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