Justerini & Brooks: A New Year Message

Justerini & Brooks: A New Year Message

Thursday 10th January 2019
by Chadwick Delaney

The start of a new year should be a time to review and reflect. A pause before the rhythm gets set for the year ahead. Here at Justerini & Brooks a great deal of activity continues to fill our time. 

Back in January 1991 we encouraged a small group of our Burgundy growers to bottle some cask samples and bring them over for Justerini & Brooks’ customers to taste before they bought. It was the first UK primeur tasting of Burgundy focussed on private individuals. Little did we realise how dramatically that would grow. Most pleasingly we still represent many of those estates that made that journey from France. In fact, I write this note from our Edinburgh office where this year we are extending our primeur tastings to include the New Club on Princes Street. It allows our Scottish customers to taste the new wines, and meet some of the growers, the day before the now huge London tastings begin. Bruno Clair, among others, is personally here. As he was for that very first Justerini & Brooks tasting in London back in 1991. 

More widely, there is no doubt that Burgundy remains in its ascendancy, with records now being broken on an annual basis. We now represent around sixty estates in Burgundy, with Domaine Groffier in Morey St Denis and Domaine Genot-Boulanger in Meursault newly joining this year. But there is much else besides which shares our focus. A quick look through the visitors book in our St James’s street dining room shows that we have hosted a range of truly exceptional wine growers over the past twelve months. To name but a few: Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair, Château Lafleur, Champagne Philipponnat and, for the first time, it was our great pleasure to welcome Soldera to Justerini & Brooks, where we drank an astonishing vertical of bottles dating back to the 1990s.

But outside these sybaritic lunches and dinners our Buyers remain wildly busy. The Justerini & Brooks portfolio expands as we continue our focus on securing high-quality estates as broadly based as Oregon, South Africa, the Gredos mountains of Spain and the volcanic coast near Naples, alongside our more traditional areas of Burgundy, Bordeaux, Barolo and the fabulous wines of Germany. We have a packed schedule of tastings and events planned in Scotland, Hong Kong and London throughout the year to help support these releases. The next few weeks alone include a Château Margaux dinner in Hong Kong, a Château Lafleur dinner in Stirling and a Marquis d’Angerville event in London, We also, once again, hire space at Somerset House to display a large part of our Portfolio on the 6th February for customers to come along and taste. There is indeed much afoot.

2018 was an exciting year for Justerini & Brooks for other reasons too. In May 2018 J&B Rare returned home, and after a gap of twenty-one years Justerini & Brooks is once again in charge of the British distribution of our iconic house whisky – a brand my visionary predecessor created in the early 1930s. There is both hard work and fun ahead. As we expand our return to whisky, 2018 was also the year we created a team within Justerini & Brooks purely focussed on the rarest and most collectible malt whiskies – responding to increasing requests from our customers to gain access to these rare and beautiful liquids.

2018 was a year of note for reasons beyond just business. We remain active in the world of polo, with fabulous British Polo Day events and after-parties thrown in Shanghai, Beijing, New York, Dubai and India over the past twelve months. Back in the UK we are thrilled with our close partnership with the Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire, and our title-sponsorship of their two historic high goal tournaments each summer. And more recently, we have supported the Sentebale Polo Cup at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.’

We continue to work on fresh ways for Justerini & Brooks to support Conservation, something we began to focus on in the 1980s with the charity Care for the Rare. In more recent years we’ve been proud to support the impactful work of Tusk Trust, and in 2018 we commissioned the renowned artist, Harland Miller, to paint a large model rhino which was then displayed in Trafalgar Square over August. Before being auctioned at Christie’s with all proceeds being donated to that cause.

Looking forward, we aim for 2019 to be even more memorable. Over the Christmas period there has been fervid refurbishment of our old St James’s Street building in preparation for our anniversary year and the associated events – 2019 marking our 270th year as wine merchants. Much has changed since 1749. Though a focus on quality and a firm belief in personal service remains our resolute aim for this New Year as much as it did when Justerini & Brooks first started.

Chadwick Delaney, Managing Director, Justerini & Brooks