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The week in pictures

April marks the eighth birthday of Chase, and in a fitting tribute to the brand’s birthday celebration, Williams GB Gin has been recognised by the San Francisco World Spirit Competition, winning the prestigious Double Gold Award.

West Berkshire Brewery (WBB) is to raise £1.5m through a crowdfunding on Seedrs, giving investors and beer lovers alike the chance to buy a slice of the award-winning brewer.

Led by beer and pub entrepreneur David Bruce, the company will use the proceeds for several landmark projects, enabling it to maintain and accelerate its current growth trajectory – as WBB responds to continuing strong demand for its beers beyond its Thames Valley heartland.

Pimm’s has become the official sponsor of London landmark Big Ben, allowing its logo to be displayed on the famous tower’s clock-face.

The drinks brand reportedly approached officials at the Houses of Parliament with “a generous offer” to contribute towards the ongoing restoration of the Grade I listed timepiece in exchange for the unique sponsorship placement.

Jo Segesser, Pimm’s senior brand manager said “We’re delighted to be playing our part in restoring the monument. Pimm’s O’Clock is a national catchphrase and so the opportunity for us to sponsor Britain’s most famous clock was too good to pass up.”

db took part in the first in a series of Bourgogne wine masterclasses this week in Oxford.

Bourgogne Wines on Tour, which will also come to Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh in the coming months, saw writer and wine educator Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW presenting special masterclasses focusing on a range of accessible and great quality Bourgogne appellations.

After the masterclass, db‘s Chloé Beral spotted a sign commemorating Oxford alumnus and our editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt had been commemorated in one of his former haunts.

Chilean wine company Viña San Pedro celebrated becoming the first winery in the world to generate renewable biogas energy using 100% of its waste from harvest.

The subsidiary winery of VSPT Wine Group inaugurated the world’s first biogas generator that operates using only waste from harvest in the picture above.

The facilities will generate 1MW/hour of clean energy from the outset, covering 60% of the electric and thermal energy requirements of the winery.

(Photo: Greg Macvean)

The world’s first whisky sniffer dog has been appointed by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

A dog’s sense of smell is 50 times more sensitive than humans, so Chaucer the Golden Retriever has joined the whisky club’s Tasting Panel in Edinburgh to help sniff out the finest whiskies for bottling.

The first whisky to be unleashed by Master Sniffer, Chaucer, is a pedigree single malt called ‘Barking Mad’, Cask D1.1. With notes of “malty biscuits” and “smoky meat”, ‘Barking Mad’ is available from 1st April in limited quantities.

Wine agency Barwell & Jones planted 50 trees in Ealing, London this week in conjunction with Trees for Cities.

Throughout the project, which increases the number of trees in built-up areas by providing volunteering opportunities for community engagement, 20,000 new trees were planted.

Graham’s unveiled a very special bottle of very old Tawny Port, produced to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday in April, at a tasting at Berry Bros & Rudd on Wednesday. 

  Graham’s 90 Very Old Tawny Port is made up of the tiny quantities remaining of the producer’s 1912, 1924 and 1935 vintages. Priced at £700 a bottle, just 500 bottles produced to mark the occasion.

During the tasting Paul Symington, head of Symington Family Estates, shared his belief that the region had to release wines at the “highest end” from time, not only as a “benchmarking exercise” for the region, but to ensure it is not perceived as the “second division” of the wine world.

On Thursday db toured Moët & Chandon’s Moët Academy pop-up at the Condé Nast College in Soho. Set across two floors, the academy will open for just two weeks, and will come to an end on 3 April. The tour sees guests taken on a virtual tour of Champagne via a 360 Imax cinema experience before a tasting of Moët & Chandon Champagnes, led by Master of Wine duo Susie Barrie and Peter Richards, and wine writer Jane Parkinson.

Our group was lucky to be greeted to the academy by Benoît Gouez, winemaker at Moët & Chandon, who hosted a tasting of the house’s upcoming 2008 vintage rose, alongside grand vintages of its 1998 and 1988 rose Champagnes.

Benoît and Simon Stockton round off the tour in style in the Ice Imperial room, dedicated to Moët’s Ice Imperial Champagne which is intended to be served over ice.

Manchester House head chef Aiden Byrne called in fellow chefs Tom Aikens, Tom Sellers, Lee Westcott, Vicky Endersen, Dan Smith and Roger Hickman to cook alongside him at a special charity dinner. All of the chefs are protégés of Aikens, the youngest British chef to be awarded two Michelin stars.

The evening included an eight-course menu with wine pairings priced at £200 per person, with proceeds going to Hospitality Action.

Pierre Seillan, winemaker for Jackson Family Wines, touched down in London this week, where he held a tasting of his Verite La Joie 2012, Arcanum 2009, Lassegue 2006 and Bellevue at the St James’s Hotel & Club.

db began the first of three nights of bar reviews at The Natural Philosopher in Hackney, where we were wowed by its sunken bar and torn in two portrait of Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Each of the cocktails pays homage to a different philosopher, from Plato to Descartes. Among our favourite sips were the Santanaya, blending Bourbon, vanilla-infused sugar syrup and orange bitters; and the Old Fashioned Philosopher, a twist on the classic made with Bourbon, bitters, pomegranate molasses and honey.

The next day we headed to Berners Tavern at Ian Schrader’s London Edition hotel, where db’s Chloe Beral tucked in to some of the cocktails from Lee Morris’ new nature-inspired menu.

One of the most delicious of the new cocktails was the Taproot Sour, which blends Somerset cider brandy, beetroot butter and lemon.

Completing the hat-trick, last night we checked out Richard Caring’s much-hyped celebrity honey pot, Sext Fish in Mayfair, decked out with original art works by Damien Hirst and Frank Ghery.

We’re happy to report that the fish is indeed sexy, particularly the scallops served in their shell with a gossamer-thin layer of apple and fiery jalapeño foam.

The drinks take their inspiration from China, Japan and India and include the super refreshing Dia Kirin, which blends Havana Club 3 year old, yuzu, ginger, lemongrass, kumquat, Absinthe and matcha foam.

Also on our hit list was the Raja Gin Fizz, a sprightly apéritif marrying gin, kaffir lime, lemongrass, yoghurt, apricot, egg white and cardamom soda.

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