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The week in pictures

Champagne Taittinger has announced that Tom Scade from The Ritz has won the UK National Final of the 51st Le Taittinger Prix Culinaire International competition.

Fighting off strong competition from Quentin Plateaux from Roux at the Landau and James Sleep from White’s Club, at Roux at Parliament Square, UK presidential judge, Michel Roux Jr, and Champagne Taittinger’s marketing director, Vitalie Taittinger, revealed Tom as the winner at the celebration on Saturday.

Champagne Pommery welcomed a host of wine buyers plus food and beverage professionals this week for a vertical tasting of their prestige Cuvée Louise at Sketch, London. The vintages tasted ranged from 1989 to 2004 made in the years that the Chef de Cave, Thierry Gasco, deemed to be truly exceptional. The original Cuvée Louise was created in 1979 and named after Madame Louise Pommery.

MP David Warburton opened a series of ‘Pick Your Own’ weekends at West Bradley Orchards in the heart of Somerset. Kickstarting a season of three weekends, people can now visit the orchards to pick their own apples and pears in the remaining weekends of September.

Harvest celebrations at the biodynamic vineyards at Le Soula in Roussillon with owner Mark Walford (second from left, in red trousers) and winemaker Wendy Paillé (below eating Grenache grapes)

Sir George Fistonich, founder and owner of Villa Maria Wine Estate, was honoured last night with the Hall of Fame Award at the Restaurant Association of New Zealand’s annual Feast by Famous Chefs event in Auckland, New Zealand.

Piper-Heidsieck brand ambassador Simon Stockton delivered a masterclass at this year’s City Wine Show, held last Friday and Saturday at the Stationers’ Hall in the city of London. The Piper stand proved one of the most popular at the show. Stay tuned for more City Wine Show pictures…

Flying visit: Camel Valley vineyards in Cornwall were joined by Jackson Family Wines this week, who arrived by helicopter. The dog was clearly taken with Julia Jackson.

The Bargain Booze and Wine Rack buy team are pictured at the autumn tasting held this week. They are, from left to right: Andrew Shaw, Steve Parker, Sarah Butler and Nadia Williamson.

Rathfinny Estate in Sussex posted this bird’s eye view of its bottling and wine storage buildings under construction on Twitter this week.

The California Wine Fair took place this week in the gardens of Westminster Abbey. The RandR Teamwork team were good sports when we asked them to ‘interact’ with the Dream Big sign – Rozza even gallantly stuck her head through the ‘R’ for us.

Steve Burns and Linsey Gallagher from the California Wine Institute

Flint Wines sales team at the California Wine Fair ready to welcome the visitors : Adrian Burns (on and off-trade sales), Caroline Brangé (on-trade sales) and Victoire Duchamp de Ganay (on-trade sales).

Among the wines we enjoyed at the tasting were this tasty trio from Ridge.

Among the speakers were Kelli White (above) who hosted a seminar on ‘Napa Valley Mountain vs Valley Floor’. Pictured below are Karen MacNeil and Linsey Gallagher from the California Wine Institute and Kelli White.

Karen MacNeil hosting her seminar on ‘Coastal Wines North to South’ (above). 

Tuesday evening saw the official launch of Moët & Chandon’s Grand Vintage 2009 Blanc and Rosé Champagnes, hosted by the Maison’s new UK Ambassador Chef Jason Atherton and Moët & Chandon’s Justine Proy.

Guests were invited to explore the Champagnes, each paired to different dishes from six of Atherton’s Social Group restaurants. Dishes including Seaweed Poached Orkney Scallop, Seaweed Oil & Oscietra Caviar for the Grand Vintage 2009 Blanc, and Highland Wagyu Sirloin, Scottish Wasabi & Parsley Purée with Miso Glaze for the Grand Vintage 2009 Rosé were delivered to guests on conveyer belts.

We also found time this week to head to the Hyde Park headquarters of the Household Cavalry for the launch of the 2006 vintage of Pol Roger’s top drop, Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill, which we enjoyed many a glass of during the evening and were charmed by its rich, leesy aromas and lemon sherbet effervescence.

Following the scent of Champagne, Captain Russell snuck into the party to share a glass with Pol Roger’s lovely marketing manager, Freya Miller.

The Australian Women in Wine Awards was held in London for the first time this year. After the ceremony in Australia House, we got to enjoy wines made by some of the brightest stars in the country, including Sarah Crowe of Yarra Yering, whose wines we fell in love with on a trip to the Yarra Valley last year.

Also pouring her wines was Virginia Willcock of Vasse Felix, who was tickled pink by her Winemaker of the Year award.

The lovely Sue Hodder of Wynns meanwhile, won the Woman of Inspiration award for her tireless work at her Coonawarra estate.

One of our favourite boutique finds during the tasting were the wines of Caroline Mooney, who runs Bird on a Wire in the Yarra Valley.

The lovely Sophie McLean, formerly of Bancroft Wines, stood in to pour for for rising star Kate Goodman, who was unable to attend the show.

On the Henschke stand, Justine Henschke treated us to a tasting of the latest vintages in the range, which included an ethereal Nebbiolo.

We also found time to meet with the gorgeous Gaia Gaja, who launched the 2014 vintage of her three single vineyard Barbarescos at the Armit offices in Ladbrooke Grove. During the tasting Gaia revealed to db that she thinks the future for Italian wine lies in its white wines.

db‘s Chloé Beral attended supper club this week, hosted by Monkey Shoulder whisky. The whisky producer has teamed up with London’s Victory Mansion, Petit Pois and Bourne & Hollingsworth to bring a series of suppers, Cooking with Cocktails, all to raise awareness for Movember’s charitable causes. To buy tickets, click here. 

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