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The week in pictures

db headed to Bordeaux this week where producers were in raptures about the potential of the 2015 harvest. All were unanimous in their praise for the vintage, which, if mother keeps her temper down, should be one to remember. These juicy Merlot grapes were ripe for the picking at Château Recougne on near Libourne on the Right Bank.

Bordeaux has ramped up its restaurant offering of late – one of the more exciting newcomers being rooftop restaurant La Terrasse Rouge at Château La Dominique in St. Emilion, which, was the name suggests, boasts a eye-catching red façade and confit duck to die for.

Vanilla skies before sunset at  Château La Dominique.

On the final pitstop of our trip, we were treated to the 2010 and 2011 vintages from Barsac estate Château de Rolland (no relation of Michel) washed down with lashings of foie gras, which we found impossible to resist and (shamefully) polished off the lot.

While we were charmed by owner Jérôme Caillé of Château Robin, who told us his story of arriving in Bordeaux from French island La Reunion with bags of enthusiasm and no experience of how to make wine, his dog Mikado had heard it all before…


Terrifying taxidermy at Château Mouton Rothschild

Last weekend 36 members of the Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) UK team walked more than 1700km between them to complete the “Chairman’s Challenge”, raising nearly £25,000 for The Benevolent – the drinks trade charity. The “Chairman’s Challenge” invited people to walk or run the Thames Path Challenge, and was set by Dan Townsend, The Benevolent’s current Chairman, and TWE’s General Manager for UK, Ireland and Western Europe, as his major fundraising activity, in his first year as Chairman of the charity. For those who would still like to make a donation please click here.

After a three year break Cape Wine returned in style with a host of producers showing why there’s such a buzz around South Africa right now.  Cape Winemakers Guild protégée Mahalia was showing visitors some of the treats in store for this year’s auction, which takes place next month.

Over on the Accolade Wines stand db was captivated by these African-inspired shoes, although head winemaker Bruce Jack managed to sneak in a promotional shot of Flagstone’s first ever Chenin Blanc, which he described as a “Cinderella” grape. 

Its history may be rooted in brandy but KWV has been eyeing the craft gin movement with interest. Look out for this new addition to the scene, suitably inspired by Cape botanicals and paired with Swartland revolutionary Adi Badenhorst’s very own tonic water.

On the subject of Swartland, the region’s producers had grouped together to create one of the most lively, eclectically decorated stands at the fair. As South Africa steps up its exploration of new grape varieties, Craig Hawkins of Testalonga told db about his plan to introduce a Harslevelu called Mangaliza in honour of Hungary’s famous woolly pigs.

The Great Sherry Tasting took place in London this week and saw a record 230 wines and over 400 visitors through the door. The day after we caught up with head of the Consejo Beltran Domecq (right) and Graham Hines of the Sherry Institute to find out what the Consejo has got up its sleeve for its 80th birthday celebrations this year. During lunch at Camino Bankside, Domecq spoke of the fact that while Sherry volume sales may be in decline, value sales are on the rise, as are sales of dry Sherry, meaning the time is ripe to re-evaluate the category. For Domecq the key lies in educating younger consumers about the diversity of Sherry and its ability to both pair with an array of different foods and play a key role in cocktails.

The latest releases from the capital’s first urban winery, London Cru, landed on db’s desk this week, which we’re looking forward to trying. Among the drops are a Bacchus from Kent, a Barbera from Piedmont, and a Garnacha from Calatayud in Spain.


Matthew Long, general manager at the Luton Hoo, Tom Simpson, Jorge Gertrudes, hotel director at The Pig in Brockenhurst, Nicholas Davies, hotel manager at Browns Hotel in London and Mark Calver, commercial director at Hatch Mansfield.

A group of 18 cycling hoteliers raised more than £22,000 following a 329-mile bike ride from London to Reims in France. The challenge was organised by the Master Innholders to celebrate the Worshipful Company of Innholders’ (WCI) 500th anniversary of the granting of its first Royal Charter from Henry VIII. Arriving in Reims in the Champagne region on day three, the weary team were treated to lashings of Champagne courtesy of Taittinger before sitting down to a celebratory dinner.

The Champagne Bureau UK named Simon Stockton as the winner of the 2015 Champagne Ambassadors’ Awards UK Final. The award, launched in 2005 by the Comité Champagne, is to recognise and reward the work of wine educators across Europe. Candidates faced a panel of high profile judges including Gérard Basset MW (Master of Wine and Master Sommelier); Richard Bampfield MW (freelance wine expert and educator and 2009 Champagne Ambassador); Carol Whitehead (freelance wine educator and 2006 Champagne Ambassador); and Françoise Peretti (director of the Champagne Bureau UK).

Greene King IPA launched their “To The Pub” campaign with an exclusive pop up event in collaboration with Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. The event took place at the Crabtree in Fulham, with Kerridge, the owner of the two-Michelin-starred Hand and Flowers in Marlow, cooking up a series of his dishes on the Greene King IPA “Hoppodrome” – a purpose-built cooking and sound station designed to celebrate the very best in food and beer.

Wine writer Neil Bennett takes a glug of Pichon Baron 23 miles into the Médoc marathon, which took place in Bordeaux on Saturday.

team db is delighted to discover that David Beckham is a discerning wine lover – this week he enjoyed a bottle of Manfred Krankl’s Sine Qua Non at New York pizzeria Lucali after Victoria Beckham’s New York Fashion Week show.

The UK launch of the “jewel” in Taittinger’s crown, Comtes de Champagne 2006, took place at Christie’s auction house in St James’s this week in a private dining room filled with flowers.

Made from 100% Chardonnay from Grand Cru vineyards in the Côtes des Blancs, the launch of the 2006 vintage marks a hat trick of Comtes releases, with 2004 and 2005 expressions of the prestige cuvée also released.

The breakfast event was hosted by Clovis Taittinger, who told attendees: “The 2006 is delicious now, but I’m excited to see how it develops over time as it promises to be very long lived.”

The 2006, 2005, and 2004 vintages of Comtes were served with Eggs Benedict, which made for a divine marriage.

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