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The week in pictures

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies (centre) with Friends of the Earth’s Caitlin Nisos (left) and Adam Scott (right). Photo courtesy of Henley Herald

Henley-based brewery Brakspear launched its 4.4 % ABV Honey Bee beer this week. Available in selected Brakspear pubs in Henley and later to be rolled out across the entire Brakspear estate in May, 10p from every pint sold will be donated to Friend’s of the Earth Bee cause campaign. Described as having ‘delicate, subtle honey notes, with a bracing delivery of hops on the follow through,’ Honey Bee was originally sold in 2015 and raised £1,300 for charity.

Hogs Back Brewery have created a life-size, hop-covered fibreglass pig called ‘Hopped Hog.’ The model pig is part of 60 ‘Haselmere Hogs’ on display in the town for the next three months. Local artist Alan Wallis decorated the ‘Hopped Hog,’ covering it in ‘hop-heavy bines’ with the brewers’ logo on both haunches.

Louis XIII launched a month-long pop-up at London luxury department store Harrods this week. It celebrates the first time that the entire Louis XIII range is available in the UK in a dedicated boutique. The range includes the 5cl ‘Miniature’ right through to the 6 litre ‘Le Mathusalem’ (the largest crystal decanter for Cognac ever made) and the limited edition collector’s item: ‘Time Collection – The Origin: 1874.’

db headed to Zerodegrees in Blackheath this week to test a new tasting menu before its release. The microbrewery, located right on the heath, also has branches in Bristol, Cardiff and Reading.

We were given a tour of the tiny brewery, located right in the middle of the restaurant, by the incredibly capable Emma Harris, marketing manager at Zerodegrees. During the evening, we sampled beer battered king prawns with a chili soy sauce, wood-fired rump steak pizza and thai green mussels and chips to name a few.

The range includes wheat beer, a hoppy pale pale, a pilsner ‘for people that just want a normal beer’, and two rather unusual offerings: Mango beer, an intensely fruity beer that balances the sweetness of mango with refreshing acidity and black lager, surprisingly light despite the colour, with notes of coffee and malt, pairing well with the tiramisu.

Moët & Chandon Chef de Cave Benoît Gouez was in London on Monday to lead a series of trade masterclasses looking behind the vinous scenes of Moët & Chandon Impérial NV. The masterclass was the first of a regional winemaker tour, that travelled across the UK this week.

Guests were invited to taste six examples of the Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay wines from the 2016 harvest which Gouez has specifically selected for the ‘structure, roundness and freshness’ they bring to the final blend, before moving on to the final pre-bottling Impérial assemblage, and then the Champagne in bottle and Magnum form.  The winemaker tour, providing educational masterclasses for Sommeliers, visited Manchester and Glasgow this week led by assistant winemaker Marie-Christine Osselin.

Dom Pérignon winemaker Vincent Chaperon launched the brand’s second plénitude of the 2000 harvest in London on Thursday this week, describing it as a “beefed up” version of the original 2000 vintage release, which was unveiled nine years ago.

Wines of Navarra and the drinks business hosted the first masterclass in the UK-wide series in Belfast this week, led by db editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW. If you’re interested in attending masterclasses in Leeds and Bristol, please click here to register.

Tales of the Cocktail on Tour came to Edinburgh this week. Edinburgh Gin hosted The Art of the Cocktail event at their distillery. 12 bartenders showcased the Edinburgh Gin range creating a bespoke cocktail menu for the night.

Cocktails included: 

Breakfast Club by Sam McGarry of Nightcap

50ml Cannonball Edinburgh Gin

20ml Bianco Vermouth

5ml Fino Sherry

Scottish Porridge Oats (cocktail filtered 10 times through this)

Curious Herbal by Connor Knowles, The Tippling House

45ml Seaside Edinburgh Gin

25ml Pink peppercorn & lemon verbena syrup

5ml Caol Ila

2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

Green Chartreuse rinse

The five-day drinks trade festival in Edinburgh has attracted some of the world’s top bartending talent. The diverse programme of events also included demonstrations, parties and a series of seminars hosted by global cocktail experts.

The great and good of the Portuguese wine trade gathered in London for a special one-off dinner shining a light on the country’s vast array of quirky grape varieties. L-R Frederico Falcão, President of IVV, Institute of Vine and Wines of Portugal; Sonia Vieira, UK Area Manager for ViniPortugal; Luis Pato- Proprietor of Luis Pato wines; Domingos Soares Franco, Proprietor of José Maria da Fonseca wines; and Jorge Monteiro- President of ViniPortugal.

Held at The Grill Room at The Savoy, the night was hosted by Brasilian born Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, wine director for Enotria & Coe, who fizzed with passion throughout the night, recounting stories of the inimitable character of Portugal’s native grapes, and how some of the more unusual names like ‘fly droppings’ came to be.

The dinner attracted a who’s who of the wine trade, including Portuguese wine expert Sarah Ahmed, Saturday Kitchen star Peter Richards (right) and a rather bored looking Anthony Rose.

Also in attendance was a sprightly looking Sarah Jane Evans MW

One of db‘s favourite wines of the dinner was a barrel-aged Bical, which reminded us of an elegant white Burgundy. On the food front we enjoyed a plethora of plates including scallop carpaccio with lime, Dorset crab salad, roasted halibut with brown shrimps, josper grilled lamb cutlets and a nougatine parfait with honeycomb.

Another wine highlight came in the form of this ancient Muscatel de Setúbal, a blend of three vintages: 1900, 1934 and 1965, which charmed with notes of sticky dates, figs, toffee, hazelnuts and honeycomb.

Every great meal shout start with a glass of Krug from magnum. We were lucky enough to be treated to a glass of its golden nectar during dinner at the two Michlin star Hélène Darroze at The Connaught where other liquid delights included Didier Dagueneau’s Silex, Pichon Lalane 1999 and Clonakilla Shriaz Viognier 2010.

Adding a ludic quality to the evening, rather than a menu we were presented with a wooden solitaire board. Each marble contained the word of the key element in a specific dish, which was revealed after we made our choice.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 02: The Cambridge women’s crew celebrate winning The Cancer Research UK Women’s Boat Race on April 2, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

Sunday witnessed the annual boat race between Oxford and Cambridge universities. db were invited along by wine sponsors, Chapel Down, based in Tenterden in Kent. This year, Cambridge women’s crew claimed victory whilst Oxford won the men’s race.

LONDON, ENGLAND – APRIL 02: The Oxford men’s crew celebrate winning The Cancer Research UK Boat Race on April 2, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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