The week in pictures
This week saw Scotch brand Glenfiddich celebrate its smart new packaging for its 21 year aged expression, Reserva Rum Cask Finish, at Lights of Soho. The brand worked with men’s fashion photographer Garçon Jon (otherwise known as Jonathan Daniel Pryce) on a photography exhibition celebrating the finishing touches that artisans use of a variety of hand-crafted items, from hand-finishing classical guitars to contemporary typography, bespoke shoes to whisky casks.
Glenfiddich brand ambassador Mark Thomson talked guests at the exhibition’s launch through the concept, while they enjoyed drams of the 12, 15, 18 and 20 year old Glenfiddich, as well as whisky cocktails included A Toast to the Stag, the Old Fashioned and Whisky Sours.
This week, Nyetimber was served at the Pringle of Scotland event to celebrate their Rolling Stones inspired window, in London. It was attended by a high calibre of guests including Tess Ward, Zara Martin, Alice Chater (pictured) and Sam Harwood.
This weekend sees the launch of ‘The Floating Gardens’ by Hoegaarden – a one-of-a kind barge packed with unexpected delights, designed to open minds to new ideas, sounds, sights and tastes in the midst of busy urban life.
Moored outside Number 90, Hackney Wick, The Floating Gardens will be open to the public until 21 August and will set sail every weekend along east London’s waterways up to six times daily.
This summer until 13 September, The Experimental Cocktail Club will be transforming its Shoreditch basement bar, Joyeux Bordel, into ‘Tiki Bordel’ – a new Tiki residence with a Caribbean and Hawaiian twist.
Event partner Cheeky Tiki will deck out the underground bar will in full tiki attire, complete with palm matting, surfing accesorries, floral wallpapers and banana trees, to immerse guests in a taste of tropical paradise in the city.
Oscar Wilde’s former haunt, the Hotel Café Royal in Piccadilly has launched a new collection of cocktails in collaboration with Givenchy celebrating the latest perfume in its collection, Iris Harmonique. The trend for perfume-inspired cocktails continues to grow in key cities around the world, from London to Hong Kong.
Creator of Difference Coffee Co, Amir Gehl told db he intends his expressions, which come in the form of capsules that fit Nespresso systems, to be the ultimate terroir-led coffee collection. “These also include Panama Geisha, beans of which are only sold by auction once a year but we got some. It has been compared to hallowed wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti,” Gehl said with triumph.
db was delighted to receive a special delivery of whisky-laced chocolates this week from Marc Patisserie. Filled with Jura Whisky, the trio are formed of Superstition (top), in a nod to the ancient stones found on the Scottish island, Prophecy (middle), which is heavily peated with a sweet and spicy finish, and our favourite – Diurach’s 16 Year Old (bottom), which is rich and full bodied with hints of citrus fruits and toffee.
db headed to Cavendish Square this week for a lavish Champagne dinner put on by Les 110 de Taillevent, which famously offers no less than 110 different wines by the glass. Our host for the evening was affable French head sommelier Christopher Lecoufle, who led a blind tasting of some of the big names in Champagne.
During the tasting we were asked to guess the different Champagnes on pour, which were revealed by restaurant manager Eva Dieudonné.
db is delighted to report that we managed to guess all five Champagnes correctly – it must have been our lucky night. The quintet will be on pour by the glass at the restaurant next month priced at £10 a glass each.
After all that thirsty work it was time to sink out teeth into some dinner, starting with a zingy gazpacho with mustard ice cream, then decadent foie gras and apricot jelly, moving on to a main of sea bass with cockles, girolles and peas fricassée. Among the wines we enjoyed were Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet 2006, Camel Valley Bacchus 2012 and Château-Chalon Domaine Macle 2006 – once sipped never forgotten.
And if that level of decadence wasn’t enough, we also whizzed up the Heron Tower this week to check out some of the crazy new creations on maestro mixologist Rich Woods’ new menu: Urban Foraging vs Urban Decay. We started as we mean to go on with Breakfast with Hemingway, one of the cleverest cocktails we’ve ever tried that blended Bacardi Carta Blanca rum with citrus, Maraschino liqueur and a burnt toast distillate, giving the drink texture and an incredibly long finish.
We also tried the punchy Woodland Negroni from the Urban Foraging menu, made with ‘damp’ gin, sweet vermouth and a formica rufa infusion (ants to you and me) slow dripped for 24 hours, making it quite possible London’s most laborious, and one of the most delicious cocktails out there.
This week saw Winbirri Vineyards put Norfolk on the map by winning the Wine of the Year trophy at the English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition 2016. Here Brigadier Jonathan Bourne-May of the Worshipful Company of Vintners presents Lee Dyer, winemaker at Winbirri Vineyards, with the award at Vintners’ Hall.
As an English wine-producing region, Norfolk is generally overshadowed by the likes of Sussex, Kent, Cornwall and Hampshire.
However, as the English Wine Producers marketing body points out, it has lots of potential, with generally less rainfall and more sunshine than these other counties.
Lee Dyer’s Bacchus, pictured here, adds to the growing claim for Bacchus to become a signature grape of English wine. Click here to find out about Great British Wines’ upcoming Bacchus-only English wine tasting.
And finally… we also found the time to catch up with the lovely Arthur de Lencquesaing of online wine retailer iDealwine to talk about his exciting new projects at Stellenbosch estate Glenelly, run by his grandmother, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing. Among the new features at Glenelly will be French bistro The Vine and a shiny new tasting room.