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Week in pictures: 27 January – 2 February

This week in pictures features Louis Thomas at the Grands Crus Classés de Saint-Emilion tasting, Douglas Blyde at Harry’s Bar, Brakspear’s kicks off 2024 fundraising and a Gladstone whisky cocktail.


Senior staff writer Louis Thomas attended the Grands Crus Classés de Saint-Emilion Tasting at Landing FortyTwo in London.

Tasting a number of wines, largely from the “very successful” 2020 vintage, he discovered how producers from this Bordeaux classification are moving away from Merlot to deal with the challenges of a warming climate.

Harry’s Bar

Despite railway strikes, Douglas Blyde found Harry’s Bar on London’s James Street bustling when booking in for the ephemeral black truffle menu. Identical of dishes, and surprisingly, price, compared to last year’s tuber-accented carte, only wine matches varied. In 2023, vinous accompaniments were predominantly white, including the karstic, Li Veli Askos Verdeca from Salento, while this year, every glass drawn from a list by head of wine, Luca Soryal, was red. With starters of truffle-sprinkled ripe Puglian burrata on pane carasau, and tender beef Carpaccio, Harry’s team chose the lush Super Tuscan, Terre del Buontalenti 2019, made by Alberto Antonin, head winemaker at Antinori turned consultant to wineries over nine countries, from Armenia to Australia.

Its supple tannins happily bevelled the big, munificent blob of dairy. Next, with an outstanding mascarpone-smudged pizza turned dark with wild mushrooms and pepperoni disc-shaped truffle, a thankfully yielding Nebbiolo in the form of De Forville 2020 Barbaresco appeared. Signature, delicate, durum and egg taglioni ensued, with winemaker, Olga Fusari’s budget Bolgheri offering from Ornellaia – Le Volte 2021. Great expectations were fulfilled with more grated truffles with the final dish of slightly too creamy carnaroli rice risotto further elaborated with good, old Parmesan, and of course, yet more truffle. With this, the Barbaresco of before reappeared – a welcome return. The rather sumptuous menu, which is entirely about giving pleasure, is available at both Harry’s Bar here on James Street and at St Christopher’s Place, Marylebone, throughout February.


Pubs in Henley-on-Thames and Abingdon have become the first to benefit from the Brakspear’s Giving Back charity scheme, with their fundraising boosted by additional monies. Brakspear is hoping to support many more pubs raising funds for local charities and good causes during 2024.

The Nag’s Head in Abingdon, part of Brakspear’s Honeycomb Houses managed division, has installed a defibrillator outside the pub at a cost of£2,000+, while The Three Tuns in Henley-on-Thames has donated £921 to The Chiltern Centre, a local charity for young people with disabilities. Both pubs received a contribution from Brakspear’s Giving Back on top of their own fundraising.

Brakspear’s Giving Back was launched at the end of 2023 to encourage pubs to raise money for charity, by enabling them to unlock additional sums from a £25,000 annual contribution into the fund from Brakspear. Separately, money from Brakspear’s Giving Back is being put into bee conservation, a cause which Brakspear has supported for some years, last year installing 12 beehives across a number of their pubs and selling the honey produced to customers.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “Congratulations to the teams at The Nag’s Head and The Three Tuns for raising money for these worthy causes. We were delighted to add to their charitable endeavours and enable them to make more of a difference in their local communities.

“Our pubs are all about people: the people who work in them, drink in them, and live in the communities around them and we are looking forward to supporting more of our pubs’ charitable endeavours through Brakspear’s Giving Back. Anyone involved with a charity or good cause can approach their local Brakspear pub to discuss fundraising activities from putting a collection tin on the bar to running an event.”

The National Liberal Club

The National Liberal Club celebrated Burns Night with the modern, classic The Gladstone Axe Scotch whisky this year.

The intimate event took place in The National Liberal Club’s historic building overlooking the Thames, and presented an ode to the club’s first President, William Eward Gladstone, who was the former prime minister, figurehead for Scotch Whisky and great-great-grandfather of drinks industry veteran Elwyn Gladstone.

William Gladstone’s passion and pastime was felling trees with his trusty collection of axes, which are on display in the club’s smoking room and inspired The Gladstone Axe’s branding you can see on bottles today.

The guestlist comprised over 100 NLC members, with each table gifted a bottle of Gladstone Axe The Black Axe. The whisky is made from 100% malted barley, aged in oak barrels and combines whiskies from the Highland and Islay regions of Scotland to create a sweet caramel and rich, bold oak finish. Branded glassware and a message from founder of the brand and the wider Biggar and Leith portfolio, Elwyn Gladstone, were also gifted alongside.


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