Hew Blair
Hew’s 26-year tenure as Justerini & Brooks' buying director saw him become the longest-serving in the trade, reputedly with one of the best palates.

Now in his 41st year with the company, he remains as likely to be found in a vineyard in Piedmont, a cellar in Burgundy, a chateau in Bordeaux, or Riesling-hunting on the banks of the Mosel as at his desk overlooking St James’s.

Back in the 1980s, Hew made the decision to go direct to the winemaking talent rather than through import houses. He began with trips to Burgundy, the Rhone and Loire, then onto Germany and Italy.

Hew’s early support proved instrumental in the success of many remarkable names. His close relationships continue with these celebrated producers, including Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, Bruno Clair, Rene Rostaing, JJ Prum, Domaine Weinbach, Elio Altare and Palliser Estate. In fact, Palliser recently named its 2013 Martinborough Pinot Noir after Hew’s Labrador, The Great Hector.

Hew pioneered En Primeur tastings in London, beginning with the Burgundy 1990 vintage. Today, Justerini & Brooks has an unrivalled collection of greats from Burgundy, shipping from over 50 domaine producers every year.

Hew is a member of the Royal Household Wine Committee, and was recently made a member of The Riesling Fellowship.
White Burgfest 2011: An update on 2011 White Burgundies

White Burgfest 2011: An update on 2011 White Burgundies

Tuesday 23rd September 2014
by Hew Blair

It will soon be my 40th Burgundy vintage with Justerini & Brooks this autumn, but for now I look back on the Burgfest review for the 2011 white wines tasted earlier this year. 

THE TASTING

* 3 days of blind tasting by 8 top worldwide wine buyers and journalists Neal Martin and Dr Neil Beckett.
* 250 wines tasted in 29 flights.
* 1ers and Grand Crus from the Cotes d’Or’s main wine producing villages and for the first time St Aubin and Chablis.
* Discussion was entered into after each flight pre and post disclosure and at the termination of the tasting.
The Guinaudeau in London's West End

The Guinaudeau in London's West End

Tuesday 17th June 2014
by Hew Blair

Last Tuesday Justerini & Brooks welcomed Julie and Baptiste Guinaudeau from Château Lafleur to London. Our charming guests hosted a masterclass tasting in our Mayfair premises followed by an exclusive dinner in our private dining room in St James’s.

Baptiste Guinaudeau led the masterclass tasting. We began with Château Grand Villages reds from 2008 and 2009, along with a Château Grand Villages white from 2013. For those not au fait with the Guinaudeau’s home property in the commune of Mouillac, these wines offer incredible value for money and plenty of class. The new and exciting Champs Libres Blanc followed - 100% Sauvignon from Sancerre clones, grown on pure limestone and made in tiny quantities – it showed tremendous breed and complexity.

Red Burgfest 2008: An update on Clos Vougeot and Gevrey Chambertin

Red Burgfest 2008: An update on Clos Vougeot and Gevrey Chambertin

Wednesday 30th November 2011
by Hew Blair

Clos Vougeot

Two full flights of Clos Vougeot were tasted, 17 wines in total. What we saw was a little inconsistent with many falling short of their Grand Cru status. The easy winner on the day was the stellar Anne Gros example - masculine, broad shouldered packed with blueberry and bramble, real Grand Cru depth of fruit, densely textured with outstanding length and complexity . Other good Clos Vougeots were also from members of the Gros family, Micheal and Bernard and negocient Jadot.

Gevrey Chambertin: To cover the Premieres and Grand Crus of Gevrey ten flights were tasted. In no other village is the interpretation of the same terroirs so diverse. The modernist black coloured, high extract styles were still represented but with fewer extreme examples than in previous years. On the other hand, whole bunch ( with stalks ) fermentation is becoming widespread, throwing in another dimension for the tasting team to take into account.
Burgfest 2008: An update on Burgundy Corton & Nuits St Georges (cont)

Burgfest 2008: An update on Burgundy Corton & Nuits St Georges (cont)

Tuesday 11th October 2011
by Hew Blair

Corton: When tasting Corton at such events it’s worth remembering that the Hill of Corton lies several kilometres north of Beaune whereas Pommard and Volnay are equidistant south. 

In terms of Burgundy these terroirs are poles apart.  The two flights of Corton were a step up in both quality and uniformity. The slightly later harvesting had resulted in riper more concentrated wines.

Head of the pack of two flights was the Clos du Roi from Etienne de Montille; high toned bitter sweet red fruits and suave fruity tannins. Only a half point behind were the two Bressandes of Tollot Beaut; damson and bramble fruits and long fine grained tannins and Follin Arbelet; intense berry fruits, graceful, mineral and complex.  Also showing great improvement over previous years was the Corton Clos des Corton from Faiveley, youthful and showing slight reduction it nevertheless has potential.
Burgfest 2008: An update on Beaune, Volnay & Pommard

Burgfest 2008: An update on Beaune, Volnay & Pommard

Wednesday 28th September 2011
by Hew Blair

In a secluded location in Beaune over the late August bank holiday the most recently bottled vintage of Pinot Noir was put under the microscope. 

The UK's top Burgundy buyers plus specialist Burgundy wine writers and publishers Clive Coates and Neil Beckett made up a select team of nine tasters. A high sense of high anticipation proceeded the blind tasting of the 2008 vintage (bottled some 6-10 months earlier), with a line up including over 300 Premiere and Grand Cru Pinot Noirs from the Cote d'Or's top Domaines and Negociants. 

The wines were tasted in flights village by village over three days, 1er Crus followed by Grand Crus.
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