News & Events
Head brewers say: "It's not just hair that benefits from 'conditioning'" Posted: 11.10.18
Five head brewers sat like disciples at the last supper and delivered words of wisdom on the past and future of bottle-conditioned beer at the White Horse on Parson’s Green, the holy grail for beer lovers.

Way back in 1971, when the Campaign for Real Ale was formed, there were just 5 bottle conditioned beers in Britain: Then 177 in 1998, 778 in 2006 and now over 2000.

Louis Pasteur himself only introduced his hi-temp ‘pasteurisation’ to kill all the bugs he found in the 1880’s wretchedly-kept beers; but now we have sanitation and pressure washers and dainty white hats, so a return to live bottled beer is called for. They call it bottle conditioned.

John Keeling of Fullers; Stewart Cail of Harviestoun; Pat McGinty of Marston’s; Justin Hawke of Moor Beer and Roger Ryman of St Austell al showed their favourite beers; and samplings of Burton on Trent beers from 1869, 1977, 1978, 1982 and 2002 vintages followed.

All had aged so gracefully, many tasting of delicate marmalades, Dundee cake or 100-year-old Malmsey Madeiras.

Whilst so many brewers and beer lovers people are talking hops, too often brewers or beer’s marketers are forgetting that greatest of all magicians: the yeast.

A Bottle (and can!) Conditioned Beer Week in 2019 is called for, looking at:

• Its history – from 1821 when Henry Ricketts developed a split mould to produce glass bottles;
• Its future - post Louis Pasteur’s pasteurisation techniques of 1862;
• Its meteoric rise – from a mere five in 1971 when CAMRA was formed;
• Its ageing potential;
• Its flavour comparison with cask;
• Its transformation with age.

Is it music to my ears, or does it make them bleed? They say one’s pleasure is another’s pain, but together all at once might be too much to bear….

Last Monday, the Flatmates at Fulham’s ‘The Little Blue Door’ restaurant held the media preview dinner of a series of one-off ghoulish supper-clubs which will take place there during the upcoming Halloween week.

Hosted by the legendary, red-trouser’d Charles Spence, Professor of Food Psychology at Oxford University, as a showpiece for his latest book ‘Gastrophysics: A New Science of Eating’, guests wrapped their gnashers around a seven-course menu of daring delicacies and paired tipples, all kindly provided by various R&R clients.

Blood pumping and heart racing entwined, all at once! The dinner offered a multi-sensorial dining experience, and each course titillating the senses through texture, colour, aromal, flavour and music. The menu included ‘Locust-Flour-Dusted Ham Croquettes’, served with the lip-tickling Mr Trotter’s Jalapeño dust Martini made with Palmer’s Strawberry and Rose Gin; ‘Battered Padron Peppers’, accompanied by iced Duvel Tripel Hop in serrated (oouch!) glasses; and ‘Bonehenge’ Steak Tartare served in Marrow Bones with Capers and Wild Mushrooms’, washed down with luscious Cune Imperial Rioja Reserva.

To attend one of these dinners, click on the following link:

Harvesting Spirits Posted: 10.08.18
Harvest-time, and an exciting week Copper Rivet Distillery, beside the sea-wall in Chatham, Kent. They have been busy harvesting the grain for their 2018 spirit production, and we took a trip to Kent to see the entire process from grain to glass. Starting at the Burden Bros Farm on the nearby Isle of Sheppey, we saw their holy trinity of barley, wheat and rye being harvested by a super hi-tec combine harvester. From there, onwards to the farmers’ stunning Ferry House Inn for lunch, feasting on delicious steaks, from the bullocks who have been lucky enough to enjoy Copper Rivet’s spent grains for their dinners. And then it was back to the Distillery by Chatham’s Historic Dockyard to meet the tractor transporting the grain from the farm and see the start of the distillation process. The hot afternoon ended deliciously with an Elderflower Collins made with Copper Rivet’s Dockyard Gin and a tasting of their vodka, grain spirit and whiskies-to be. A truly fascinating day.

Meet the new Paolozzi Lager #Unfiltered by the Edinburgh Beer Factory Posted: 29.06.18
The Edinburgh Beer Factory team came down to London at the end of June for the launch of their much-awaited Paolozzi Lager Unfiltered. The event was held at the newly revamped Strongroom Bar & Kitchen in Shoreditch. Members of the press and trade alike had the chance to sample the new Paolozzi Lager Unfiltered and also all of the other EBF brews on draught, each accompanied by a selection of delicious dishes whipped up by the Strongroom’s not-for-profit kitchen. Head Brewer Martin Borland took to the stage to tell the audience what the brewery had been up to and explaining all the nuances, aromas and thought process behind each of the EBF’s brews. Beer kept on flowing throughout the evening keeping the guests happy on this hot summer’s evening. The new Paolozzi Lager Unfiltered definitely stood out: sharper and with a richer mouthfeel than its original counterpart, it will definitely be a huge hit with UK beer fans!

Sip & Sniff 24.06.18
JOVOY’s elegant perfume emporium on Conduit Street by Oxford Circus played host to the pairing of their perfumes with some of R&R’s most fragrant alcohols. It proved a sweet smell of success, with five British drinks and a New Zealand Riesling strutting their stuff. Outrageous and a step too far, or logical and exhilarating, opening up minds and noses…?

Oli Marlow of JOVOY and his team chose the pairings with R&R at a late night session that no-one will forget. And the final pairings were…

Jenkyn Place sparkling Rose from Hampshire paired with ‘Mandala’ from Masque Milano – the prized ambergris in the perfume adding an incredibly sexy, moreish dimension to the combination.

Gosnells Peckham Mead with a similarly buttery, honied ‘L’Attesa’ from the same perfumer, perfect synergy or too close a call for comfort?

Hobgoblin’s IPA with ‘Fugit Amor’ saw the ginger notes in the perfume preening itself like a pair of fighting peacocks against the feisty US hops in this pungent IPA.

Son of a Gun cask finished English Grain Spirit from Kent’s Copper Rivet Distillery with ‘Module 2’ from Escentric Molecules – a fascinating recessive pairing full of mood and subterfuge, one of the finest on the night with warm aromas of rum and truffles from the un-malted wheat being dominant.

Palmer’s Dry Gin was up next, its heady ripe pink grapefruit set against both ’Origino’ and ‘Memoires de Mustique’. Would the lemon and orange of the ‘Memoires’ win favour over the musky, sensuous potpourri of Jeroboam’s ‘Origino’.

And Villa Maria’s Riesling from New Zealand as a finale, which found a perfect bedfellow in ‘Imperial Collection 3’ from Prudence, a raunchy perfume designed by an Australian lady who clearly pulls no punches. Like Bonnie and Clyde?

The Copper Rivet Distillery team headed to London to host a Martini event for press at The Drunken Oyster Bar in Michelin Star Chef Jason Atherton's Hai Cenato Italian restaurant. Guests had the chance to discover the different nuances of various Martinis made with the three spirits produced by Copper Rivet: Dockyard Gin, Vela Vodka and Son of a Gun Grain Spirit. My favourite? If I have to pick one, the Vesper Martini made with both Dockyard Gin and Vela Vodka certainly hit the target: a classic, pleasantly chilled, it displayed a perfectly harmonious encounter of aromas, and the alluring sweetness of the vodka cut through the fruity notes of the Gin. After drinking one, something happened: it was as if the spirit of James Bond entered my soul. I went up to the bar and, with my Bond look on, I asked: "Another Vesper Martini, please. Shaken, not stirred". The barman chuckled, and the guests sitting at the bar right next to me burst into laughter. They catapulted me back to reality, but that fantastic drink had truly made my mind wander into another magic dimension.

Eman Barrrasso a.k.a James Bond

Jenkyn Place Planting Posted: 31.05.18
With a drill like an elongated corkscrew, the operator juddered visibly as holes were drilled into Hampshire’s greensand soils. One thousand and one; one thousand and two….: He had nearly 1000 still to drill before those 2000 new Pinot Noir plantlings could be secure in their warm new home.

Jenkyn Place on the Hampshire/Surrey border used to be a former hop farm until the turn of this century; and Farnham hops were the most expensive and revered hops in Britain. Then the dismal price of hops for year after year made the farm un-viable.

But Simon Bladon saw the farm and had a dream – a dream to shake it by its roots and to make the finest sparkling wines that his fingertips could conjure.

And so there we were, the media and us, planting these delicate new 1’ vines with their tips like an angry red-head. And though the idea of media hounds actually getting dirty is anathema in normal times, they buckled down. And they did dirt, genuflecting low in the waxy mud in the belief that those new plants would, like Jack’s winsome Beanstalk, yield juicy divis before the day was out.

And when they arrived for lunch in the Old Dairy, hey presto there they were – and the vines had become bottles after all – a shimmering Brut, a Rosé and a Blanc de Blancs.

Then the heavens opened and darkness came and it beat upon that house.

But by then lunch was finished, fingers licked, and we were headed home in British Rail’s finest in the sure and certain knowledge that at last the vines too had now their drink. Pinot anyone?
Coming up: Martini Magic Posted: 31.05.18
We will be hosting an evening of Martini Magic with the team of Kent based, Copper Rivet Distillery, on the evening of Thursday 7th June. The team will showcase their three spirits, Vela Vodka, Dockyard Gin and Son of a Gun, English grain spirit, as Martinis as well as in their own signature serve. Spaces are limited, but if you would like to join us, please email for more details.
Tio Pepe shines at Feria de Londres Posted: 31.05.18
Feria De Londres returned to London last weekend, bringing its famous Andalusian carnival spirit to London, ably assisted by Tio Pepe, the main sponsor of the Feria de Londres. The Feria took over the banks of the River Thames with colourful stalls serving up delicious Spanish tapas and cocktails with vibrant Flamenco dancing shows, interactive workshops and live Spanish music. On the Friday evening, the Feria de Londres kicked off with a media sherry masterclass hosted by Martin Skelton, Sherry Expert and Managing Director of Gonzalez Byass UK. He guided them on a thirst-quenching journey which explored the styles and characteristic of some of the most celebrated Sherry styles. As they were tasting their way through Spain’s most iconic sherries, guests also had the opportunity to tuck into some mouth-watering Andalusian tapas. Beautiful weather, incredible wines, amazing food: what a winning combination!
Thoroughly Modern Mead Posted: 31.05.18
Dubbed by its locals as ‘Peckham’s answer to Prosecco’, Gosnells sparkling Mead is a mead unlike any other... Mellifluous. Moody. Moreish.

The new recipe of Gosnells Mead in its elegant new ‘sharing’ 75cl packaging, showing off its elegant long legs, was launched at The Orange Pimlico’s aptly named Garden Room onto an unsuspecting world. While most Meads are dark yellow and with alcohols of 10%abv and above, harking back to the dim distant past, Gosnells is light, elegant and fragrant at 5.5% ABV. With the same subtleties as fresh sourdough bread, honey-like Loire Vouvrays or buttery Meursaults, this was the launch of a whole new category.

A really exciting category with great opportunities in the home, for sharing, and in hotels, bars and restaurants all over the world. The Orange’s barman, Karl was inspired to create Karl’s Mead:

Spoon of brown sugar,

3 dashes of Orange Bitters,
40ml of Bourbon
10ml of Chambord
15ml of lemon juice
Gosnells Mead top up

Bringing California to Fulham experience Posted: 24.01.18
In January, R&R teamed up with The Wine Merchant magazine to organise a panel tasting of 90 wines from the golden State for the 2018 California Collection. With a whole host of wines put forward by UK importers, the panel spent the day tasting Reisling, Albarino, Pinot Gris, Malbec, Petit Sirah, Mourvedre and of course plenty of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California. There were some great wines on show and the panel’s top 50 will be published soon in the magazine. In the evening, to save the open bottles going to waste, we invited local friends and journalists to join us for a California tasting. With some top wines from the state open for them to taste and a great raffle, the evening event raised monies for the Napa and Sonoma fire funds.
More than just a normal fish experience Posted: 12.12.17
Olley’s Fish Experience in Herne Hill, Brixton, is something different, off the scale. Owner Harry is a pioneer, and not content to swim with the usual fish. Ten years ago he worked with R&R to choose the ultimate beer to partner fish and chips. We eked him away from mainstream lagers towards beers of provenance and style. Now, he also has 5 gluten free beers on the list; and nine English wines as well, drawn from 5 counties. His ‘grilled herring on deep fried bread’ is paired with Jenkyn Place Blanc de Noirs from Hampshire; his ‘prawn cocktail’ with Ridgeview Fitzrovia Sparkling Rosé (Sussex) and Chapel Down Brut NV (Kent); and his ‘gluten free battered hake’ paired with Bolney Pinot Noir (Sussex). Will fish and chips, and those iconic mushy peas, ever be the same again?
On the evening of Tuesday, 21st November, Wychwood Brewery took over the newly launched first London store of JOVOY - Parfums Rares, a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, to launch their new robustly-hopped addition to the Hobgoblin beer family: Hobgoblin IPA.

Hobgoblin IPA is the bold brother to Hobgoblin Ruby, the UK’s 2nd best-selling premium bottled ale, and to the pale zesty Hobgoblin Gold, launched in 2014.

The event showcased the know-how of perfume educator, Odette Toilette, and of hop guru Simon Yates of Marston’s Brewery as they investigated the cross-over between the essential oils used in perfumes and in beers.

Guests were challenged to create a hop perfume from any selection of the seven hops. The most popular hops chosen for this role by women were Styrian Goldings, Fuggles and Centennial/Chinook; whereas the order for men ran Fuggles, Styrian Goldings and Mosaic. The competition was judged by JOVOY’s perfumer Oli Marlow, and mirrored the consensual preference for Fuggles as their base.

Would you ever fancy wearing a Hobgoblin IPA-scented perfume? We certainly would.
Dream Big at the Cali Wine Fair 2017 Posted: 29.09.17
On 27th September, the CWI UK team brought a bit of Californian sunshine to the beautiful College Garden at Westminster Abbey. The Garden was packed with over 600 wines to taste represented by UK importers and wineries; a free pour tasting showcasing The Other Side of California; four California inspired food and wine matching station; the California Bubbles Bar; and two insightful Seminars with the incredible Kelli White and Karen MacNeil. It was an action packed day; the sun was out (and the rain stayed away), the wine flowed and eyes were opened to the huge developments in Californian wines and the exciting things to come from the Golden State. Following the tasting guests were able to sit back and relax in the garden with music, a grill and California beer thanks to Anchor Stream and Sierra Nevada.
The Institute of Masters of Wine’s Rumbustious Ramblings Posted: 11.09.17
WHY? To launch their ‘Living Wine’ Symposium for June 2018.

WHAT: Open to anyone - in Logroňo Spain. Logroňo positively bubbles with tapas for every palate. And Rumbustious Ramblings positively gargled with the finest rantings known to man.

WHAT RANTS: Mark-ups in restaurants; transporting wine; family wineries; wine data; alcohol in wine; wine education; love affairs in wine; Iberico pigs love of wine and why wine men so often wear red trousers. Eleven of the wine trade’s finest, on a wine box, 3 minutes apiece, ladies in yellow and orange, anchovies in olive oil, men in jeans or golfing wear (but scarcely a red trouser to be found).
Palmer Sutra Posted: 06.07.17
A mystical mood and bevy of boisterous botanicals misted the private rooms of the Ivy in the King’s Road as the Palmer-Wallis family celebrated 200 years of distilling spirits and the Launch of Palmer’s London Dry Gin.
Natalie Palmer-Wallis took to the floor in a sea of shimmering blue to dedicate the new elixir to her late grandmother, Angela Palmer, for whom the gin had been designed.  Her signature serve was a Palmer’s Pink Gin, served on ice with soda water and angostura bitters.  
Palmer’s London Dry Gin is 44% abv and includes juniper, coriander, angelica, cassia, liquorice, orris and grapefruit, all steeped overnight in 100% English grain spirit. It is available at £28 per 700ml from Master of Malt.  
The Palmer family’s Langley’s distillery houses the UK’s oldest working copper pot gin still, and six others, the oldest dating back to the mid 1800s.
Patrick Desgraupes Wins Errázuriz Wine Photographer of the Year 2017 Award Posted: 26.04.2017
The winner of Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year 2017, a category of Pink Lady® Food Photographer of the Year 2017, was announced at a packed reception at the Mall Galleries, London, last night, Tuesday 25 April 2017, as Patrick Desgraupes of Pelissanne for his stunning image, The Rosé Wine Tank.  

He was presented with a trophy and a cheque for £1000 by Magui Chadwick, sixth generation of Chile’s leading family winery and sponsor of the category.
Mr Trotter's Pig Out Posted: 06.04.17
Mr Trotter's Pig Out upstairs at the White Horse on Parson's Green, celebrated 5 years of pluperfect pig bits. The idea for Mr Trotter started in that very same room 6 years ago; and now just look at those pigs fly!  

The Pig Out paired each of the ten Mr Trotter snacks to one of two bevis, some of them pretty unlikely. The standout love-in was probably Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc with Mr Trotter’s English Mustard Pork Cracklings, two spicy creatures in one big steamy hug. Tio Pepe sherry and Le Soula Maceration ‘orange’ wine against Mr Trotter’s Jalapeno Chill Cracklings Sipsmith’s were also winners, showing the eye-swivelling, brain-gurgling success of using salty-dry and sharply fruity wines to quell the power of chilli.  
School of Hard Knocks Posted: 04.04.17
Rugby legend Andy Gomarsall MBE took to his bath to be painted for charity.

Dressed in a light lacing of bubbles and surrounded by worried diners, he helped launch the new 'DEN' of award winning City of London restaurant, M. Gomarsall's portrait in beeswax and oil by Emily Ponsonby, Rupert's daughter, was sold in aid of School of Hard Knocks, a charity which uses sport to address issues of crime, employment and health. The charity is supported by Gomarsall and fellow England team member - and shareholder of M Restaurants, Simon Shaw. 
A Christmas January Posted: 17/01/2017
Having a Christmas party at Xmas is just so yesteryear. So we waited till January. There were 8 of us, and six glasses, each, just how parties should be.

Jensen’s Old Tom was first, hailing from Bermondsey, a lean understated 43% creature, excellent for martinis, with a very dry wit and hints of lemon peel. Then Pickering from Edinburgh, much showier this, 42%abv, brimming with orange notes and great for a fruitier, floral G&T. Japanese Gin was next, 42% abv, a slim-wasted number leaping with airs of cucumber, fine for G&T but over the top for straight martinis for all but the most diehard cucumberists. Tarquin from Cornwall at 57% was Navy strength and you could taste it, with hints of grapefruit, oranges, liquorice and gunpowder, a mighty wallop; but Sacred Cardamon gin 43.8% of Highgate was thought a move too far, heaving with cardamom, a step too far. And finally Sipsmith’s 29% Sloe Gin, which more than hit the spot with Mr Trotter’s Jalapeno Chilli pork cracklings, a match made in Chiswick.
From South Africa With Love - A New Kalahari Truffle Infused Gin from KWV Posted: 30/11/2016
At R&R we love our Gin, so when we were given the chance to launch a new Gin from South Africa, there was no holding us back. 

But this one is not just any Gin. It’s infused with the rare Kalahari truffle - a world’s first!  And what a Gin it is!  

Our aim? To spread the word about this fantastic new Gin from KWV and to support a recent listing in Morrison’s supermarket.  

The Result? A buzzy press launch event at The Whistling Shop on Worship Street, including three different cocktails – a classic G&T, a spiced pear and rosemary Collins and a Kalahari cocktail, including leather water and a drop of truffle oil.
CALIFORNIA WINES Posted: 07/11/2016

In November, we
 were very excited to be appointed to handle the UK PR for the California Wine Institute, helping them to build the California wines category in the UK.  

Sometimes work is just work, period: But sometimes work is something different, a very big excitement, the chance to get under the skin of another country and another culture. That is what California is to us. So many regions inside that one word ‘California’; so many grape varieties, so many wine styles and so much innovation. We are more than exhilarated.  And we will be working with Sue Glasgow of Spear Communications on the Annual Tasting; and Justin Knock MW and Damian Jackman of Golden State Wines Limited on wine education, promotions and logistics. Together, we aim to enthuse the UK on the excitingly wide range of wines at so many price points arriving here from the Golden State of California.
BEER ANT-ICS FOR HALLOWEEN  Posted: 19/10/2016
With Halloween approaching, R&R went travelling to the far East End, to the hippy, cool Bethnal Green.
There, in the bar of Sager + Wilde of the aptly named Paradise Row, two cocktails had been created just for the fortnight of Halloween. Wychwood Brewery’s Hobgoblin beers were at their core, created by their inspired mixologist Marcis Dzelzainis.
One of these cocktails, “Hobgoblin Beer Vermouth + Ants”, featured wood ants nestling in ice cubes floating in a sea of beer vermouth and soda. Guests were initially sceptical about the concoction, anticipating the worst. But then, as they started sipping it, their faces turned from “What the hell am I drinking?” to “Yum, I really quite like this!”.
The pronounced grapefruit flavour of the ants from their in-built formic acid, paired snugly with the citrus hop kick of Hobgoblin Gold. Ants in a cocktail: who would have thought it? It is definitely going to be a “creepy” Halloween!

'Meat' KWV Posted: 19/10/2016
South Africa’s best known wine company, KWV, teamed up with the UK’s leading British Charcuterie wholesaler to create an evening of meat & wine heaven.  
Wim Truter, the KWV’s new Head Winemaker and Sean Cannon of Cannon & Cannon pooled their expertise to provide a master class, with the pairings giving a British interpretation of those South African classics - biltong, boerwors and droerwors – using 100% British meats.    
The meats, which included beef, mutton, venison and pork, were matched to the KWV’s Vinecrafter and Classic Collection ranges and included that great red benchmark, Roodeberg, single varietal KWV from Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Petit Verdot, and the gutsy 2015 Big Bill red.  
Cannon & Cannon's headquarters in Borough Market provided a delicious affair with wines and meats complementing each other to perfection.
As the 2016 Olympics kicked off in Rio, the world’s first One Day Vineyard Olympics took place at Jenkyn Place in Hampshire, hosted by Simon and Camilla Bladon.   

The seven Vineyards of Hampshire – Cottonworth, Danebury, Exton Park, Hattingley Valley, Hambledon, Meonhill and hosts Jenkyn Place - threw down the gauntlet to their counterparts in neighbouring Sussex, Wiston, Bluebell, Nyetimber, and Rathfinney. They’re all very talented when it comes to making wine, but how did their sporting skills compare?  

French consultant winemaker Didier Pierson started the proceedings with a spot of sabrage. Events included a wine waiter’s race, barrel rolling down one of those gentle chalk slopes, cork bobbing in a bucket and a relay race round a row of vines, using a bottle baton.  After a long day of fiercely contested (although all very friendly!) activities, it was Hampshire’s mighty muscle in the Tug of War and Tossing the Endpost that clinched the title for the home team, with the event raising almost £800 for the Benevolent. A success all round!  

On a recent press trip to the Languedoc to visit the team at Les Vignobles Foncalieu, we found a very novel way to discover the vineyards and to see close hand the different varietals grown in the region – on quad cycles! They took a bit of getting used to (they don’t go backwards!), but once we got going we were able to visit a number of vineyards and get to know many different varietals - Marsanne, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Rouge, Chardonnay, Syrah, Viognier and Albariño and many more.

VILLA MARIA ‘What Direction for New Zealand wines in future’ Posted: 23/06/2016
Sir George Fistonich, owner of Villa Maria, swept up the red carpet to BAFTA’s HQ at 195 Piccadilly to launch his new Admiralty Bay Sauvignon Blanc from Nelson. And, with the referendum in the British air, a theatrical debate was called for.

So three Champions emerged to put their cases on ‘What Direction for New Zealand wines in future’.

The erudite and recently returned (from NZ) Rebecca Gibb MW, who championed the country’s grape varieties.

The pristine and perfectly presented Peter McCombie MW on adding value to NZ’s wine regions.

And the ebulliently effusive enthusiast, Joe Wadsack, on greater promotion for the country’s Premium Wines.

Sir George had well and truly lost his voice, so Joe had to act as ‘the voice of George’, relayed to assembled guests with his colourful panache.

There were 3 flights of wines from Villa, Vidal, Esk & Te Awa to illustrate each argument and BAFTA 195 prepared some delicious dishes to match with one wine from each flight. Patrick McGrath MW, of Villa Maria’s agent Hatch Mansfield, officiated and a vote was taken, with a slight majority in favour of Rebecca and her ‘grape varieties’.

But a vote for a dead heat won the biggest show of hands.

Wednesday May 18th: a day which will go down in pigstory. A revolution no less. The day when Mr Trotter’s three new Sausalamis, yes 100% British pork, had their birth.

Imagine it.  

On the northern edge of Borough Market in the stylish surroundings of Bompas & Parr’s gin and tonic misted cellar; guests draped in diaphanous plastic ponchos, with Trottatinis at the bar etched with our hero’s spicy seasoning on the rim of every glass, like a Margarita with porky attitude; and in the distance, Mr Bompas’s Sausage Tornado, like a steaming Tardis, pumping out succulently piggy whiffs, sucked by straws every bit as long as a swan’s most elongated quill; and on the right, Mr Parr’s favourite bondage queen, allowing Mr Trotter’s guests to feel the firm security offered to the pork world’s choicest before being roasted in the oven of desire.  

Mr Trotter’s Sausalamis are flying, as good pigs do.
THE FRENCH ARE COMING! Posted: 21/06/2016
Twelve French winemakers from the new “Marques & Coop” collective decided to miss their team’s first match of Euro 2016, and headed instead for London. There they hosted a food and wine pairing lunch (6 happy courses, 12 wines) for eight members of the French media – a day trip with a difference. The lunch was held at the Michelin Starred Quilon, in the heart of London’s Westminster, setting the wines against the restaurant’s delicately spiced Indian food. How brave, and how delicious.  
These winemakers are part of the recently founded “Marques & Coop”, an ambitious project comprising twelve wine cooperatives that have teamed up together to promote their wines worldwide. These cooperatives represent 4,000 French grape growers, covering an area of about 30,000 hectares. All the cellars strive to produce premium wines which encompass quality, creativity and originality. I have tried them all and, let me tell you, the wines are astonishing, indeed. As was Quilon’s food!  

On the way back to Paris, at the Eurostar terminal in St Pancras, the winemakers were enveloped by the Welsh football team, on its way to Bordeaux for Euro 2016; and selfies were offered. So football did manage to sneak into the story, after all!

Winners of the Drinks Business Awards 2016 ‘Launch of the Year’ with Hatch Mansfield.

The Birds
At the London Wine Fair Rodrigo Plass of Vina Caliterra (who have pioneered the development of sustainable practices in Chilean wineries) gave an interesting talk on an innovative project to control pests (mainly rabbits and rodents) in their vineyards.
Called the Birds of Prey Programme, it involves conserving and encouraging the population of different birds of prey including eagles, hawks, vultures, owls and kestrels by building nest boxes and feeders made of recycled materials.
Since its inception in 2012, the population of rabbits has decreased by as much as 18% and there has been 30% less damage caused to the vines.

The Bees
Next, Laure Colombo of Jean Luc Colombo, one of the Rhône’s most dynamic and forward thinking producers, talked about the importance of bees as part of Colombo’s ‘green’ philosophy.  The Colombo family have a strong connection with bees.  The first Colombo vineyard, purchased in 1986, is named Les Ruchets, which means ‘the beehives’,  in honour of the bee colonies found on the property.  Recently four beehives have been installed in their Cornas vineyard.
Honeybees pollinate over 90% of flowering crops and play a vital role in our food chain but in many places around the world, including the U.K., bee colonies are in severe danger due to ‘Colony Collapse Disorder’.  The Colombos have set up the Colombo Bee Helpful program with donations going to several organisations including the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). 
In addition to a fixed donation, a contribution of £0.10 will be made to the BBKA for every bottle of Côtes du Rhône wines ‘Les Abeilles’ sold in the UK.  The aim is to raise in excess of £5,000 per year for the charity.

The first evening of the London Wine Fair was celebrated with a fascinating dinner with Southern Indian dishes from our lovely friends at Michelin Starred Quilon restaurant paired Les Vignobles Foncalieu wines from Southern France. 
We started the evening with a cool glass of Vignobles Foncalieu Albariño Vin de France 2014  and it was amazing how many of the guests said that this was their first Albarino from France. It was a great accompaniment to the lashings of pepper shrimps and soya bean chop canapés which revived everyone post fair.
Guests, which included a mix of media, Fonalieu customers and the team from France, then enjoyed four delicious courses of food, paired with some of Foncalieu’s fascinating wines, which partnered really well to the delicately spiced cuisine.   The highlights for me were the curry leaf and lentil crusted fish with ginger and coconut chutney with IGP OC Le Versant Viognier 2014 and Malabar lamb biryani, lamb cooked with traditional Malabar spices with AOC Minervois Le Lien 2013.

The prettiest dish was the coconut with asparagus and snow peas sautéed with mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and grated coconut  and the prettiest wine was the  IGP OC Griset Gris de Gris Rosé 2015- the colourful stripes on the label matched well with the 16 layered stripes of the bibinca goan pudding.  
A STAR SPANGLED SOIRÉE Posted: 04/05/2016
Last week marked the annual trip to Blighty from the team Virginia Wine, and R&R Teamwork was all hands on deck for a series of events and interviews: from one-to-one press interviews to a luscious dinner at the historical Duke’s Hotel, ending on Friday afternoon with visits to various independent wine shops across Central London organised by the newborn wine trade website, The Buyer. Needless to say that by Friday afternoon we all needed a well-deserved glass of Virginia wine…..

The highlight of this busy but productive week was definitely the dinner at Duke’s Hotel. Hosted by the man himself, the Governor of Virginia, His Excellency Terry McAuliffe, guests had the privilege to tuck into a scrumptious four-course dinner with each course paired to wines from the three Virginia wineries that had made the detour from across the pond: Barboursville, Boxwood and Veritas. One of the wines showcased at the tasting prior to dinner was the Trump Sparkling 2009. Yes, a wine called Trump! Brainchild of Trump Winery, owned by Donald’s son, Eric, the wine actually had great feedback from all guests and proved to be one of the favourites of the evening. Who would have thought….

At one point during the dinner, an always charismatic and charming Governor McAuliffe said with a cheeky grin: “By the time I leave office in two years, Virginia’s wine production will be bigger than California’s”. We certainly loved the enthusiasm! 

A SPANISH FUELLED WEEK  Posted: 15/04/2016
The week commencing 11th April was very Spanish-heavy for R&R Teamwork. Apart from the annual Wines of Spain tasting, winemakers Matias Calleja and Beatriz Paniagua, respectively from the wineries Beronia and Finca Constancia, both owned by Gonzalez Byass, headed to our shores and hosted a series of tastings and txokos all around the UK. I had the privilege to accompany Matias and Beatriz to three events: a press lunch on the Monday (what a way to start the week!) at the popular Spanish joint Camino, and two press dinners during the week, one again at Camino and the other at Hispania, an amazing Spanish gem in the heart of the City of London. This is what I mean by Spanish-heavy…..

During these gluttonous events, I had the fortune of tucking into the most delicious Spanish delicacies: croquetas, jamón Ibérico, arroz negro, suckling pig Segovian Style (twice!) etc. all washed down with the exceptional Beronia and Finca Constancia wines, which proved once again a real hit with the press. Matias and Beatriz, ¡hasta la proxima vez!

It was all about France for R&R on 17th March this year as we organised a small tasting with our new client, Les Vignobles Foncalieu, at Rupert’s flat in London. There were 20 of their wines from the Languedoc available to taste from the Atelier Prestige, Le Versant and Les Extraordinaires ranges, along with a selection of amuse bouches. The rosé wines seemed to be a real hit with the guests, as did the delicious Albarino that the team has worked on.

Marie-Annick was over from France to host the event and was lucky enough to meet Rupert’s latest family member, Boris the Boar – he seemed to enjoy Le Versant as well!

Bompass & Parr's alcoholic cloud Posted: 08/01/2016
With new food and drink crazes popping up all over the place it is hard to experience them all but one in particular caught my eye. Bompass & Parr’s latest venture, Alcoholic Architecture, lies beneath an ancient monastery in Borough Market and is a fantastic collision of mixology and gothic surroundings. The flavour-based experimental team has created a walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail and just before Christmas I was able to test it for myself. We were greeted by a hooded monk and told to ‘breathe responsibly’ before descending the stairs to the dark basement. Here we were instructed to don the rather elegant plastic ponchos provided, buy a speciality cocktail from the bar and then ‘enter the cloud’. The crowd seemed excitable if a bit uneasy initially, the extremely high humidity causing a slight dampness in the air and constant smell of gin and tonic took a few minutes to adjust to. However, we quickly acclimatised and in no time the bizarre surrounding felt normal, with everyone chatting and drinking as if it were their local. Forty-five minutes (and a double gin and tonic consumed from breathing, plus a few extra delicious cocktails) later we emerged from the basement back to the bustle of Borough Market. Bompass & Parr’s innovative creations make for a great alternative to the usual hotspots and I would recommend it to anyone interested in looking for a different and slightly surreal evening activity.

Champagne Taittinger buys farmland in Kent for new sparkling wine vineyards. A venture in conjunction with their friends Hatch Mansfield.
The Birth of Domaine Evremond. 
Westminster Abbey, Wednesday 9th December.
Sitting expectantly on Henry VIII’s red cushioned throne chairs
To celebrate Charles de Saint-Evremond 1613-1703,
And his place in Poets’ Corner.
Or so we thought.
The room was hushed.
They were serving tea.
And we waited for the Reveal.
Why was he here, this Evremond chap, here in a British Abbey.
And our very best Abbey, at that.
What, please, is Johnnie Foreigner doing in our Manor?
As France’s ambassador for Champagne?
Way back in 1660?
A womaniser, a gourmand and sharper than sharp wit.
The mirror of our own boy James Bond?
The man who put the bubbles into wine merchants’ sales charts
When the wines were still sold flat?
That’s Celebrity for you.
But who was he, this Normandy geezer?
500 years too late to be William the Conqueror’s best mate;
And why were the Taittinger boys so interested in his well-being?
So, 11.30am Wednesday December 9th, at the Abbey.
And Pierre-Emanuel Taittinger tells all.
His Uncle Claude had written a book,
About Charles de Saint-Evremond.
And he had read it all.
This man was worth remembering, was Evremond.
And the time had come for a love-in, across the Manche.
So he had emptied his Eurobox,
And bought many of Kent’s chalkiest ‘champs’;
And the holy trio would be planted with
Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir
The very noblest of grapes.
SHARP INTAKE OF BREATH from all us listeners.
Assuaged by a glass of Taittinger’s finest.
Cousin Evremond had been born.
R&R's Christmas cooking extravaganza Posted: 11/12/2015
Unintentionally, my arrival at R&R was perfectly timed as Thursday evening was the chosen night for the Christmas party. The brave team at Venturi’s Table cookery school opened their kitchen to the R&R clan to create a gourmet feast.
Greeted with canapes and drinks, we quickly felt at home. Maggie, Eleanor, Rosamund and Eman took the reins on the starter. Creating ravioli from scratch is no easy task but they all showed an impressive natural flare and talent for pasta production.
Under the watchful eyes of our chefs, Fiona and Kasia, the rest of the team set to work on the main and pudding. After a flurry of chopping, peeling, frying and simmering, somehow a delicious duck with plum sauce and fennel gratin main course and tarte tatin pudding were created. We then settled down at the table to enjoy the three courses which were accompanied with a genius quiz from Nicky and a drink or two (!) We all left feeling very content, a little heavier and full of festive cheer. A successful evening all round! I am looking forward to the next R&R Teamwork event and for what the New Year will bring for us. 

#LiefmansAtM Posted: 26/11/2015
Cult Belgian brewer Liefmans, famous worldwide for their delicious fruit beers, was the inspiration for a wondrous press dinner which took place at the über cool restaurant M in the heart of the City of London. M is the brainchild of Martin Williams, former Managing Director of the Gaucho Group.
Head Chef Jarad McCarroll whipped up a stunning six-course dinner and each pair of dishes was matched to the three Liefmans styles available to UK consumers. Just to give you a little taster and make your mouth water while you’re reading this, we tucked into: Foie Gras Parfait with Grape & Pistachio, which paired beautifully with the sexy fruitiness and sweetness of the flagship Liefmans Fruitesse on the rocks; a blissful Scallop dish in Fish Stock, Dill and Paprika which did wonders with the delicious Liefmans Kriek Brut. The enjoyable sourness of Liefmans Goudenband and the tenderness of Iberico Preza with Spiced Apple, Onion Petals and Charred Leeks was a match made in heaven.
Who said that fruit beers can only be enjoyed with desserts and puddings?
Eman now known as Manu
Launch of The Faldo European Tour Collection Posted: 26/11/2015
Golfing legend, Sir Nick Faldo, and independent wine merchant, Milton Sandford Wines, teamed up to launch the Faldo European Tour Collection at the newly opened Urban Coterie 17 floors up in Old Street. We had fab views of London whilst a gale was blowing outside!
The range of six wines included a Sauvignon de Touraine, a Chablis, a Valpolicella, a Rioja, a Châteauneuf du Pape and a Barolo. I arrived wind swept and fell in love with the Faldo Sauvignon de Touraine 2014 from Domaine de la Renaudie.
The Faldo Shield adorns all of the bottles in the collection. The six stripes in claret and green represent his six Major Championships in the order of his wins.
An indoor putting green was on hand to make Sir Nick feel at home.

Game Set and Larder.... Posted: 27/10/2015
I admit that I just thought venison was venison before I went to the launch of Venison Game Larder. The lovely, effervescent José Souto of Westminster Catering College has written a hugely comprehensive and beautifully illustrated book explaining the differences of Red, Roe, Fallow and Sika deer as well as Chinese water deer and Reeves’ muntjac. It includes many recipes created by Souto and friendly celebrity chefs including Tom Kerridge, Phil Vickery, Steven Poole and Peter Gordon, as well as ex Westminster Kingsway students such as Henry Herbert, Ben Murphy and Mark Froydenlund.
Our lovely clients Jackson Estate from New Zealand showed their Vintage Widow Pinot Noir, 2012 and we had Mr Trotter’s Chestnut Ale and Innis & Gunn original, toasted oak and rum finish to go with the tasty canapés with venison tartare & carpaccio and fillets of different venison. The Sika got away….

Spitfire Kentish Ale and Movember UK celebrate their partnership Posted: 23/10/2015
Rupert and Eman came to the office, for the whole of last week, totally unshaven. Why? Because they were getting ready for the eagerly-awaited "wet shave & beer dinner" event at The Old Doctor Butler’s Head pub in the City of London to celebrate the partnership, now in its fifth year, between the Movember UK charity and Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale, one of the flagship ales of the Shepherd Neame brewery, England’s oldest brewery.

To honour the moustache theme of Movember, Rupert and the pub’s head chef collaborated on a menu which revolved around hair-themed courses. These included “razor clams & angel hair pasta” and “sticky stubble pudding” and were washed down with the new Spitfire Gold and other fine brews from the Shepherd Neame portfolio.
Guests loved being shaved before or during the meal by the "resident" barber Paul, they thought it was such an amazing treat. I mean, look at the genuine expression of ecstasy on the gentleman’s face in the picture on the left….he really seems to have landed on Cloud Nine, doesn’t he?

Emanuele aka Eman
Taittinger Comtes 2006 launch at Christies Posted: 20/09/2015
Tuesday mornings are usually pretty uneventful. But not this particular Tuesday, when Clovis Taittinger, Export Director of Champagne Taittinger, and son of President Pierre-Emmanuel, came over to launch the much anticipated Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut 2006 at Christies in London.  

Some of the great and good of the UK wine trade turned out to the event (at 9am as well!) which kicked off with a video of Chef de Caves, Loic Dupont, and Managing Director Damien Le Sueur providing further insight into the Champagne.  Samples of the 2005 and 2004 vintages were also available to taste before guests tucked into their warm breakfasts.

The crown jewel in Taittinger’s portfolio, the new 2006 is the first vintage made under Pierre-Emmanuel’s Presidency since he, Clovis and Vitalie took over the company… if only all Tuesday mornings could be spent like this…

A night of Taittinger at BAFTA Posted: 20/09/2015
A soggy Monday evening was made fun with Champagne Taittinger putting on a viewing of the Grand Budapest Hotel after their portfolio tasting at BAFTA’s headquarters.  

The evening began with laughter.  Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger welcomed everyone (wine trade, journalists and team Hatch Mansfield) over a glass or two of Taittinger 2008 and regaled us with stories full of innuendo.   

Popcorn greeted us in the auditorium and after a few minutes looking at a blank screen(!), we entered the mad, magical world of the Grand Budapest Hotel.  The surreal theme continued downstairs with the room replicating the film.  Waiters wore Bell Boy hats, the centre tables were packed full of Mendls Pattiserie boxes stacked high and we all feasted on profiterole desserts as seen a few minutes before on the screen.  

Such fun and of course everything always tastes better when accompanied by Taittinger Brut and Rosé and the 2008 vintage served from magnums.

YOUNG BORDEAUX Posted: 20/09/2015
In early September, Emanuele aka “Eman” and a handful of wine writers headed out to sunny Bordeaux for a press trip to meet up with a number of the rising stars of the Bordeaux wine scene. As well as visiting some of the spectacular châteaux around the region, the group was also treated to some incredible wines and meals in beautiful restaurants in the Bordeaux countryside.  

In Bordeaux at the start of the harvest, the vineyards and wineries were in full swing preparing for the first pickings, but the winemakers took time out of the busy schedules to meet the group and proudly showcase their wines.

  Brother and sister Marc and Elodie Milhade from Château Recougne, Sabine Sivestrini from Vignobles Silvestrini and Amélie Durand from Château de Doms were just a few of the young, up and coming wine makers who gave a quick insight into their latest projects. And the question that popped up the most? Everyone was very keen to hear what the winemakers thought the current 2015 vintage would be like. Their response? Thankfully it was super positive!  Phew, let’s toast to that!

Bordeaux Blancs in Brighton Posted: 20/09/2015
On a sunny Wednesday in July, an entourage of team R&R, team CIVB and four Bordelais winemakers headed down to the coast for a Bordeaux Blancs tasting in Brighton.

We’d been keeping everything crossed for good weather in the days preceding the tasting as we had an English picnic in the park style event planned for the large number of Brighton-based journalists, as well as several who travelled down from London.

We were holding the event at the lovely Johnny Ray’s house, which is not just spectacular inside, but opens out onto a lovely park where we were able to flow out and enjoy the evening. There were around thirty Bordeaux Blancs for the guests to taste, including several by our guest winemakers. The wines went down really well, and worked perfectly with the delicious spread that Johnny had laid on. A particular highlight was the entire side of salmon and the Serrano ham, not to mention finishing up with strawberries and cream!

A great event with great food and drink and most importantly, sunshine!

Harvesting Elderflower Posted: 20/09/2015

Who can resist an elderflower harvest on a farm with a distillery? The intrepid video team of Mode Stories UK got up ridiculously early to head to the Warner Edwards farm in Harrington, Northamptonshire. This You Tube clip gives you a bit of a flavour for what they experienced, but the real comedy was watching the cows watching us and trying to stop them from trying to eat video equipment or lick everything in sight. Tom Warner and Sion Edwards looked the part walking up and down the hedgerows with a ladder looking for the best elderflowers to pick, whilst of course keeping up the Ant & Dec like commentary.