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The week in pictures

When Team South Africa 2017 competes against 27 wine tasting teams from across the globe at the World Blind Tasting Challenge in Nuits Saint Georges in France, on 14 October 2017, Nederburg will be right behind them as official partner. The members of Team South Africa 2017 all qualified via the South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC) national competition in July, which involved three finalists from Johannesburg and eight from Cape Town. The competitive tasting featured six white and six red wines, tasted blind.

Photo: Fraser Band

Visitor experience assistant Michael Young is pictured with the World’s Largest Bottle at The Famous Grouse Experience at Glenturret Distillery


Specialist importer Connoisseur Estates joined forces with CellarVino to host their inaugural portfolio tasting today (Thursday 5 October) at The Auction House. Above, CellarVino Director of Sales Ishwinder Binning toasting the success of their tasting with Director of Connoisseur Estates Andrew Steel.

A shared love of wine unite South Africa & New Zealand ahead of this weekend’s rugby match as Thys Lombard from Oldenburg Vineyards and Dan Taylor from Tohu & Aronui presented their wines together at the tasting.


db‘s Phoebe French was fortunate enough to attend a vertical tasting of Casa Ferreirinha’s Barca Velha at Core by Clare Smyth, tasting 13 of only 19 vintages ever made. Casa Ferreirinha was the first house in the Douro dedicated to making “light wines” in other words, not Port. The event was hosted by Liberty Wines who took over Sogrape’s (owners of Case Ferreirinha) portfolio in the UK in January this year.

After vertical tasting, db was treated to an outstanding meal at Clare Smyth’s debut solo venture, Core, in London’s Notting Hill. Smyth, who was formerly chef patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Hospital Road, is the first (and to date, only) female chef to run a three-star Michelin restaurant in the UK. Core was opened too late to be eligible for this year’s Michelin guide, but if this week’s meal was anything to go by, watch this space next year!

Clare Smyth (left) hard at work.

The beer of Barcelona, Estrella Damm, brought the acclaimed chef Joan Roca and its own legendary “Gastronomic Experience” for the first time to Scotland. Estrella Damm’s close supporter, Joan Roca, Chef and Proprietor of El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain, showcased his gastronomic delights to over a hundred of Scotland’s top chefs, restaurateurs and food experts at Colstoun House near Edinburgh.

©Redhouse Photography

Each Thursday, guests at South Kensington’s K Bar are invited to enjoy a range of exclusive Botanist Gin cocktails against a backdrop of delightful music from new acts and genres each week. The K Bar Sessions with The Botanist launched on Thursday and start at 6pm.

db‘s Lucy Shaw met up with Douglas Blyde who looked decidedly dapper in velvet while he manned the Ca’ del Bosco stand at this year’s Franciacorta tasting at the Chelsea Town Hall.

Simpsons Wine Estate has unveiled a brand new helter-skelter in their state of the art winery, which was opened by Oz Clarke one year ago. Since the official opening, Charles and Ruth Simpson have been developing their Glasshouse Tasting Room, overlooking the winery, and opted for a fun and novel way down.

© Simon Hanna

4,000 whisky lovers descended on Old Billingsgate for the annual Whisky Show run by The Whisky Exchange. Billy Abbott pours exclusive bottlings from The Whisky Exchange including the new Art of Whisky range.

© Simon Hanna

Whisky legend Charles MacLean shares a dram with a fellow whisky lover.

© Simon Hanna

Dewar’s got visitors trying out their vaporiser!

© Simon Hanna

Visitors experience Glenfiddich’s virtual reality world.

© Simon Hanna

Visitors enjoy a dram on the terrace with Tower Bridge for company!

© Simon Hanna editor Becky Paskin hosts Whisky Speed Dating with (L to R) George Grant of Glenfarclas, Billy Leighton of Irish Distillers, Ian Logan of The Glenlivet, David Turner of Bowmore and Shinji Fukuyo of Suntory.

The Botanist pub chain has partnered with Barnardo’s – the UK’s leading children’s charity, to create “a show-stopping cocktail and mouth-watering sharing desert” with £1 from each going straight to the charity.

‘Death’ by baubles, and it’s only October. It’s all systems go at Pickering’s Gin who have this year vowed to out-do 2016’s record 30,000 gin-filled glass baubles by producing a whopping one million in 2017.

San Antonio’s Rebecca Creek Distillery, one of the largest craft distilleries in North America, has partnered with the San Antonio Spurs basketball team for the 2017-18 NBA season.

Tim Lighbourne, Rob Cameron, Deborra Lee-Furness and Rob Cameron

Invivo co-founders and old school friends Tim Lightbourne and Rob Cameron flew in from New Zealand to cheers the launch of Invivo Wines with their US “glambassador”, fashion photographer and wine lover Nigel Barker at Spin Ping Pong bar in New York.
The celebration brought out Nigel’s friends Jay Manuel, Hugh Jackman’s wife Deborra Lee-Furness, Olympic swimmer Matt Targett, US Olympic fencer Miles Chamley-Watson, The Chin Twins (Nigel’s wife Crissy and twin sister Kimmy), President of the NY Stock Exchange Tom Farley, CEO of Dirty Little Secrets Cosmetics Emanuela DeFalco, Nole Marin (judge on ANTM), James Marshall (actor, Twin Peaks), Sasha Aaron (country singer), fashion designer Alice Roi, Founder of Lokai Steven Izen, among many other movers-and-shakers.

Rob Cameron, Nigel Barker, Tim Lightbourne

Thomas Kuuttanen, master blender and founder of Purity Vodka, poses for the photographer in Cannes. Purity Vodka was awarded the trophy Grand Asian Spirit Master 2017.

Dorset sparkling wine producer, Langham Wine Estate began harvest a massive two weeks earlier than usual, as a result of fine weather in spring and early summer. The team began picking Pinot Noir on 28 September and the Chardonnay harvest began on Thursday 5 October.

Winemaker Daniel Ham (above) commented on the potential quality: “We were fortunate enough to escape the devastating spring frosts and experienced a fantastic start to the growing season due to the dry, sunny weather in May and June.  Although August and September were challenging in terms of the amount of rainfall we received, diligent vineyard management combined with an early ripening period has resulted in excellent yields of very good quality fruit”.

On the evening of Tuesday 3 October, 300 Rioja enthusiasts gathered at London’s Banking Hall for a chance to taste the 2017 10×10 winning Rioja wines alongside a selection of tapas served up by Spanish restaurant Donostia Social Club.

db‘s Chloé Beral attended New York’s Dante bar pop-up in London at the Madison Rooftop Bar. Coming to London for the very first time, the team created a drinks menu featuring some of their greatest hits including the Chocolate Negroni (above)

Belvedere turned a railway arch in London’s Hoxton into a fern and moss filled tasting area to launch its Single Estate Rye Series vodkas on Wednesday this week.

The new series features two vodkas called Smogóry Forest and Lake Bartężek, each named after the village of their respective estates in Poland and crafted to capture the distinctive character of these particular ‘terroirs’. Among those present at the launch was vodka expert Ian Wisniewski.

Ruinart is continuing its association with contemporary art in London through a sponsorship of Frieze this week. As part of this tie-up, the Champagne house revealed on Wednesday that the house is working with Spanish sculptor artist Jaume Plensa, who was given ‘carte blanche’ to pay tribute to Dom Thierry Ruinart. The commissioned piece (pictured above) is made entirely by hand and consists of embedded letters. It is on show until 8 October at Frieze Sculpture Park in The English Gardens within Regent’s Park.

As ‘The Official Champagne Sponsor’ of Frieze London and Frieze Masters 2017, both of which run from 5-8 October in Regent’s Park, Ruinart has installed a branded Champagne Bar at Frieze London, while Frieze Masters will feature Ruinart trolleys providing visitors with a selection of its blanc de blancs and rosé Champagnes.

Visitors to the contemporary art fair can see the work of Kiluanji Kia Henda, who won the Frieze Artist Award for his project called Under the Silent Eye of Lenin, which considers the connections between witchcraft, the Angolan Civil War, and Angola’s relationship to the former USSR. Communications director at Moët Hennessy UK, Lorraine Larmer, looks on.

On the other side of the park, the Frieze Masters contains artworks from any period up until the end of the last century, including this piece by Tony Cragg called Palette, which was completed in 1984 using pieces of rubbish.

And, in sharp contrast, this Egyptian calcite dish from the Second Dynasty (2793-2647 BC).

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