A Tasting with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards

A Tasting with Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards

Friday 6th July 2018
by Julian Campbell

We’ve been championing the wines from the ultra-remote Peay vineyard for a few years now. Planted in 1998, the vineyard turns 20 this year and quality levels have never been higher. 

The lion’s share of production goes to Pinot Noir, followed by Chardonnay and Syrah (alongside minute quantities of other varieties that don’t make it across the pond). The vineyard is nestled amongst huge redwoods, 600 feet above sea level, four miles from the coast and within the inversion layer. Effectively within the fog line, this a truly cool Californian vineyard whose year round temperatures are moderated in a meaningful way by the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Contrary to being further in-land, out on the coast the higher you get the warmer it becomes. At 600 feet you hit something of a sweet spot, cool enough to moderate ripening but not so affected by fog as to be constantly battling mildew.  Being 600 feet lower than the lowest vineyards in the nearby Fort Ross and Seaview AVA, (home to the likes of Hirsch, Flowers and Martinelli) means that average yearly temperatures are 12-13 degrees lower at the Peay’s vineyard. That’s a meaningful drop. It is hardly surprising they were repeatedly told that ripening grapes would be a struggle out here and indeed today their tiny yields are testament to this perilous spot. Truly, this is winemaking on the edge.

Whisky: The Art of Blending at Justerini & Brooks

Whisky: The Art of Blending at Justerini & Brooks

Tuesday 19th June 2018
by Tod Bradbury

Last month, Justerini & Brooks welcomed the Master Blender of Johnnie Walker, Jim Beveridge, to 61 St James’s for a Signature Blend experience. 

As part of the Justerini & Brooks whisky offering, clients have access to not only rare, one-off bottlings and casks but also the opportunity to create completely unique and bespoke blends. As Justerinis’ whisky specialist, I am often hot-footing it across the globe, introducing clients to the joys of this golden liquid, so I was delighted to be a little closer to home last month, ready to sniff, swirl and sample an exquisite selection of whiskies that would make up a totally bespoke blend. Joined by Jim Beveridge, Stuart Morrison & George Harper, from Diageo’s Whisky Specialist Team, the fortunate clients set about creating a own unique Johnnie Walker blend tailored to their exact taste. 

As guests arrived, the sun-kissed dining room at St James Street filled with energy and excitement. Jim, Stuart & George introduced our clients to the varieties of whisky on offer; the multiple flavour styles, ages, and finishes, which included rare, highly-aged examples and, in some cases, whisky from closed or ‘silent’ distilleries.

A Burgundy Tasting: Burgfest 2015

A Burgundy Tasting: Burgfest 2015

Friday 15th June 2018
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

At the end of May the Burgfest team, an 11-strong group comprising a mix of burgundy specialist journalists and merchants, gathered at the tranquil Hameau de Barboron in the forest above Savigny-Les-Beaune to taste the great white crus of Burgundy from the 2015 vintage.  

We braved our wild boar-infested surroundings and knuckled down to taste 235 white burgundies blind over four mornings. The wines were organised in flights by village and then by vineyard or vineyard style, ranging from four to nine wines each.  The line-up was pretty mouth-watering:  tranches of Grand Cru Chablis, Meursault Perrieres, Chassagne Caillerets and Puligny Folatieres were just a few courses on a very appetising menu that was to culminate with nine Chevalier Montrachets and four Montrachets at the end of the last morning.  This was an unparalleled and unmissable opportunity to taste the great whites of Burgundy side by side, and what a thrill it ended up being.  Herewith my own personal thoughts on the wines.

A Wine Grower Dinner with Drouhin’s Christophe Thomas

A Wine Grower Dinner with Drouhin’s Christophe Thomas

Tuesday 22nd May 2018
by Alasdair Lawson-Dick

Fifty eight Burgundy fans descended on top St Andrews restaurant The Adamson for our recent Joseph Drouhin Wine Dinner.

As the early evening sun went down guests enjoyed a glass of Justerini & Brooks Sarcey Brut Private Cuvee, while our speaker from Drouhin, Christophe Thomas, was introduced. Two white wines accompanied East Neuk Crab: a surprisingly rich and textured St Aubin and a more stately and complex Puligny Montrachet – both from the attractive 2014 vintage.

A rare rack of lamb followed and many guests proclaimed the fourth wine, a Chambolle Musigny 2014, as the wine of the evening.  Proceeded by a delicious, fresh Cote de Beaune 2013, the Chambolle was dark in colour and long on the palate and matched the black olive and caper and red wine sauce, beautifully.

A Champagne Masterclass with Charles Philipponnat

A Champagne Masterclass with Charles Philipponnat

Wednesday 16th May 2018
by George Wilmoth

Last month Justerinis co-hosted a Champagne masterclass with Charles Philipponnat of the eponymous champagne house. 

The afternoon consisted of a superb lunch by Claude Bosi at Bibendum with perfectly paired bottles from the cellars of Philipponnat. We tried four new wines from Phillipponnat including the 2008 "1522", the 2008 Mareuil-Sur-Ay, the 2007 Clos des Goisses "Juste Rose" and the 2008 Les Cintres. All brilliant, complex and satisfying wines.

The 1522 is surprisingly fleshy and accessible but there's a taut minerality that comes through on the finish that reminds you of the vintage's tension.  It was the first time I tried the Mareuil-Sur-Ay but it took the 1522s style and ramped it up with greater tension and nervosity. I'll be buying some of this for myself.

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