Giles Burke-Gaffney
Giles heads the Justerini & Brooks buying team of five, who travel the world in search of great wines from family-run domaines and estates.

He joined Justerini & Brooks in 1997 as a cellar hand. It was the aromas while decanting incredible wines for lunches in the dining room at St. James's Street that sparked his passion and drew him into wine as a career.

For 15 years Giles honed his tasting skills and palate, built his wine knowledge, and forged grower relationships under the tutelage of then buying director (now chairman) Hew Blair. Giles took on this highly prized role himself in 2012.

He works closely with around 200 producers, and these relationships that are the lifeblood of the Justerini & Brooks portfolio. He also puts great effort into unearthing hidden wine making talent.

Giles spends much of his year in vineyards and cellars, principally in the wine regions of Europe, and has tasted over 30,000 wines in the last 5 years alone.
Piedmont 2018 Vintage Report

Piedmont 2018 Vintage Report

Tuesday 15th March 2022
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

A week of tasting the new releases in Piedmont at some of region’s best addresses revealed a 2018 vintage that is seductively charming and instantly likeable. Very different in style to the richer, more concentrated 2017s but, in our view, a step up. These are aromatic, poised wines of sweet red fruit, freshness, delicacy and melt-in-the-mouth structures. 2018 may not be the typical powerhouse Barolo blockbuster to stick away for fifty years, however this is an early-drinking vintage of sufficient intensity and balance to last a good 10-15 years plus. When wines show this well young, why look beyond two decades? These Barolos and Barbarescos will give great pleasure early in their life, to Nebbiolo geeks and newcomers alike. Contrary to uniform vintages, such as 2016, If you look outside of the established, quality-minded producers, you are sure to find a lot of variation; however a week of visits to the growers we know and love resoundingly confirmed that it was clearly possible to make beautiful wine in 2018. 

Burgundy 2020 Vintage Review

Burgundy 2020 Vintage Review

Wednesday 22nd December 2021
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Burgundy 2020: The Early Birds

After three weeks of tastings at fifty domanies across Burgundy, we are delighted to discover a 2020 vintage of records and surprises. Most wine-growers had never known such early picking dates – the very first pre-harvests beginning on the 17th August - whilst for the majority of Domaines it was certainly the first time a vintage had started and ended in August. Even in the coolest, most northerly parts of the Côte de Nuits such as Marsannay, harvest was done and dusted by the 10th of September. One of the driest years on record had also produced one of the smallest for reds. Flowering was largely successful but berries were small. Summer conditions were characterised by drought rather than heat, and this concentrated both sugars and acidities in the Pinot Noirs, resulting in reds of higher than average alcohols (broadly between 13.5% – 14.5%) and high acidities. When 2019 offered record-breaking analyses, no one would have guessed that just one  year later growers would once again proclaim that new boundaries had been broken in terms of the balance between alcohols and pHs.

Rhône 2020 En Primeur

Rhône 2020 En Primeur

Tuesday 16th November 2021
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

2020 is an unmissable vintage in our view, for the charm, balance and youthful beauty of its wines. It was a sunny year characterised by drought and a good sized crop (for the majority of producers), with less extreme heat and higher yields than its predecessor, 2019. As a result the wines feel less powerful, but more immediate and even-keeled. Make no mistake, though, these have enough depth and the right balance to ensure excellent ageing potential. These are sun-kissed but juicy, harmonious wines with less alcohol than the 2019s, a difference in some cases of up to half a degree. Producers extol its virtues across the length and breadth of the Rhone with Clusel Roch describing 2020 as like a balance of 2018 and 2016 but better than either; or Jolivet who considers it “juicy and elegant”; whilst in the south Barroche compare it to the great 2012 “similarly round but fresher”; whereas Beaucastel go the whole hog and call it “one of the all-time classics,” referencing the great 1990 and 2010 vintages as comparisons.  

Piedmont 2017 Vintage webinar

Piedmont 2017 Vintage webinar

Thursday 22nd April 2021
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Featuring Elisa Scavino and Pierguido Busso.

In lieu of our annual Italy 2017 tasting, we hosted a Zoom webinar with two of Piedmont’s leading lights: Elisa Scavino from Paolo Scavino and Pierguido Busso of Piero Busso. Our Buying Director Giles Burke-Gaffney, gained their insights into the 2017 vintage, offering combined perspectives that extend right across the Barolo and Barbaresco regions.

Burgundy 2019 En Primeur: Côte de Nuits Webinar

Burgundy 2019 En Primeur: Côte de Nuits Webinar

Friday 15th January 2021
by Giles Burke-Gaffney

Featuring Bruno Clair and Jean Grivot.

 In lieu of our annual Burgundy 2019 tasting, we hosted a Zoom webinar with three of the region’s greatest estates: Arthur Clair from Bruno Clair and Mathilde Grivot from Jean Grivot. To view the wines in this year's offer click here


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