Make the most of BBX


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Cases of Château Léoville Barton stacked in a warehouse.

With BBX, our fine wine exchange, you can buy and sell through Berry Bros. & Rudd’s community of fine-wine lovers. With around 8,000 wines listed, it can be hard to know where to start. So we asked the secondary market experts from our BBX team for some pointers on what to buy, sell (or drink) and bid on this summer.


Buy: 2016 and 2019

The 2016 and 2019 vintages are fast becoming legendary. The quality was immediately recognised when the wines were tasted in barrel, but after a few years in the bottle it has become impossible to ignore. Put simply, every collection should have at least one wine from both vintages in it. To help you, we’ve rounded up the best-priced wines from the two vintages here.

Sell or drink: 2008, 2011 and 2012

The supply-and-demand dynamic of the fine wine market is simple enough. We’re seeing it in action with a few vintages which are really hitting their stride, notably 2008, 2011 and 2012. More and more customers are withdrawing these vintages to drink. And, with more of these wines being consumed, we’re also seeing increased selling activity. Browse your cellar here.

Bid on: Château Talbot, St Julien

Château Talbot is one of those deeply dependable Bordeaux estates which is beloved by our customers. As a result, we have vintages stretching back to the much-lauded “victory vintage” of 1945 which you can bid on. If you fancy adding a piece of history to your cellar, have a look at the back vintages of Talbot available to bid on here.

Explore BBX, our fine wine exchange.

Category: Miscellaneous

Adventures in your garden: Mexico


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This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favourite wine and spirits regions via their cultural riches. Here, Alexandra Gray de Walden introduces you to the colourful magic of Mexico.

As the opening bars of Carlos Santana’s “Corazón Espinado” flow across the breeze and a cooling gush of Tequila and tonic passes my lips, I could be at a beach bar in Cancun. The air is alive with blooming guitar and the strong aroma of roasted pork and spices. But here I am in my garden in Berkshire recreating a Mexican fiesta.  

There is something so wonderfully exciting and colourful about the culture of Mexico. Take the Day of the Dead Festival (Día de los Muertos), held annually at the start of November. An amalgamation of the Aztec custom of honouring ancestors, with the tradition of All Souls’ Day introduced by Spanish invaders in the 1500s, this is far from the ghoulish notion of skeletons and ghosts.  

Deceased relatives are the guests of the day. Papier mâché skeletons in vibrant hues covered with flowers are displayed in windows, on street parades and at family altars. This is as much an honouring of the departed as it is a reminder to the living that death is only a part of life.

What better way to celebrate the joy of living than with a glass of Mexico’s national drink, Tequila?

What to drink

Mijenta, Reposado Tequila

I can’t be the only one whose first introduction to Tequila was in shot form. It was usually from a plastic shot glass, laced with table salt and followed by a suspiciously dry-looking lime wedge. Imagine my surprise, early in my spirits education at Berry Bros. & Rudd, when I was told that not only do we sell Tequila but that it is now a must-have for spirits collectors and widely considered by those in the know as the “next big thing”.  

Far from the high-volume, overtly alcoholic, paint-stripping Tequilas of my youth, artisan Tequila producers are now honing their craft and producing superlative spirits in traditional and time-honoured fashion. A distilled spirit produced from the blue agave plant, Tequila is mostly made in Mexico’s Jalisco region and, like Mexico itself, has become an increasingly cultural influence.

It was clear those university memories would take some bashing but it didn’t take quite as long as I imagined once I’d discovered Mijenta Tequila. The name comes from the Mexican “mi gente”, meaning “my people” and people are very much at the core of this producer’s ethos. The agave is grown without pesticides, the labels are made of agave waste, and the boxes are made from recycled paper. Mijenta has also been B-Corp certified since 2022.

The word Reposado means “rested”. After six months of slumber in American white oak, French oak and French acacia casks, Mijenta’s Reposado strikes the perfect balance between the earthy, herbal agave flavours and the softer, tempered spice from the oak. Its subtle golden colour well belies its heady nose of blossom, orange, hazelnut and rich bergamot.

The joy of artisan Tequilas such as Mijenta’s is you really can enjoy them neat – I promise. Mijenta’s Reposado has the most exquisite texture. Far from the throat-searing shots of yesteryear, it is velveteen and coating, almost like moleskin. Flavours of key lime, salted orange and dried chilli are woven together so elegantly that it’s challenging to pick them apart.

My preferred method for enjoying Tequila, however, is a Reposado and tonic water with a healthy squeeze of lime juice. This is a much more interesting and hedonistic alternative to a gin and tonic. It’s exquisitely refreshing and vastly more flavoursome.

For the cocktail fiends, El Diablo has a devilish twist, as its name suggests. Forget the Margarita or the Paloma – El Diablo is the Tequila cocktail to rule them all. It is a deft blend of Reposado, crème de cassis (or blackcurrant cordial if you’re feeling saintly), lime juice and ginger beer. This amalgam of earthy and fruity flavours with that twist of ginger spice is the last word in refreshment.

What to eat

Mexican cuisine is unquestionably delicious and has a strong historical influence from both the Mayan and Aztec civilisations. Indeed, the Aztecs are often credited with having invented the tortilla. Heavily focused around bases of local ingredients such as corn, maize and beans, the vast scope of Mexican food pleases all tastes and persuasions.

The taco is a folded or rolled tortilla filled with meat, beans and a sauce. Taco al pastor is thought to have been introduced to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants and is considered one of the most delectable and aromatic. Slow-roasted pork cooked on a spit (or trompo) is marinated in a mixture of chillies, spices and smoky achiote paste and served in a taco. Topped with coriander, onions and even pineapple, it is another festival of flavours and textures – so typical of Mexican culture. The mingling of local spices and succulent pork are elegantly cooled by the pineapple.

In this instance, I would probably advise against El Diablo as your pairing of choice – that ginger beer spice would zing the chillies in the taco far too much. Instead, flood some neat Mijenta Reposado over ice or crack open the tonic – this is the T&T’s time to shine. For the vegetarians, or for something a little lighter, the Mexican street corn salad also offers a flavour explosion. Brown some corn kernels in garlic and butter, add a mayonnaise, sour cream and lime dressing and top with torn coriander and chopped jalapeños. The blend of jalapeño heat, zingy lime and cooling sour cream is pure heaven.

What to listen to

The musical charms of Mexico can’t possibly be discussed without Carlos Santana. Often cited as one of the most talented guitarists of all time, he has been sharing Mexican-inspired rock around the world since the late 1960s.  

In fact, it is Santana’s eponymous first album, released in 1969, which provides the soundtrack to my Mexican-inspired, al fresco evening. It opens with “Waiting”, a highly 60s-sounding medley of psychedelic drums, cymbal skits and some Ray Manzarek-inspired keys. Carlos’s signature fretboard licks arrive for the last quarter and signal to the world what it would be lucky enough to hear for the next 50-plus years. The treasured gem on this album is “Evil Ways”. A tale as old as time, it tells of a lover who can’t give up their free-spirited partner who refuses to commit.

For a more contemporary foray into música mexicana, look no further than guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Their flamboyant mix of flamenco, traditional guitar and metal has featured in numerous film and television scores from Pirates of the Caribbean to Breaking Bad.

Despite arriving more recently on the scene than Santana, their music has a more distinctly traditional guitar sound to it: acoustic, raw and crisp enough to almost pick out each individual string. From their album In Between Thoughts… A New World (2023), you simply must listen to “Descending To Nowhere”. All seems subtle and calm but things quickly crescendo to a powerful, emotive and passionate flamenco – rather like that Reposado, in fact.

Buy Mijenta’s Tequila Reposado here.

Category: Cocktails,Miscellaneous,Spirits,Sustainability

Adventures in your garden: Spain


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This summer, we’re taking you on a tour of some of our favourite wine regions via their cultural riches. Here, Charlie Geoghegan takes us on a food, wine and music-based journey through Spain. 

As a kid, my idea of going on holiday was inextricably linked to Spain. I grew up in Dublin in the early 1990s, and Spain, it seemed, was the holiday destination of choice for virtually everyone I had ever met: friends, teachers, neighbours, grandparents. We didn’t go abroad ourselves until I was about seven, when my parents, my sister and I set off for the Costa del Sol. We’d make several similar trips in the years that followed, to foreign-sounding places like Malaga and Fuengirola and Torremolinos. It was all very sophisticated and different for my primary school-going self. These were exciting, exploratory days, though I didn’t even scratch the surface of what the country had to offer. Spain to me was all sun, sea and sand. And weirdly, everyone spoke English and all the restaurants served beans-on-toast and chicken nuggets. 

In more recent years I’ve been back to Spain several times, slowly but surely covering more and more ground. The rugged, isolated terraces of Priorat; the sweeping vistas of Rioja; the forgotten vineyards of Navarra. Bustling cities like Barcelona and Madrid with their heaving markets and masses of people; tapas heaven on the streets of Logroño; and a random smattering of Irish pubs, karaoke bars, motorway cafeterias and assorted tourist traps. I can wholeheartedly recommend trying them all at least once. 

But if a trip there is not on the cards this summer, don’t worry. There are some simple steps you can take to recreate the experience in your own back garden. Here’s how I suggest you do it. 

What to drink

2020 LG Valbuxán, Tinto, Telmo Rodríguez, Valdeorras, Spain

Valdeorras is not exactly Spain’s best-known wine region, and if you do know it, you’re more likely to have tried its white wines than its reds. The local speciality is the Godello grape, which can produce some outstanding, complex whites (like this one from Rafael Palacios). But don’t overlook the reds here. The Mencía grape, better known in nearby Bierzo, leads the way, either as a standalone single-varietal wine or in a red blend. 

The 2020 LG Valbuxán from superstar Telmo Rodríguez is a blend of Mencía and other local grapes, including the white Godello. The wine has a really attractive nose of spicy blackberries, wild herbs and even a whiff of salty, briny olives. It is absolutely delicious. In the mouth, it’s medium bodied with fine tannins that just melt away. There’s a good concentration of flavour, with blackberry, menthol and floral notes which stick around on the long, refreshing finish. If the dynamic Telmo Rodríguez is not already on your radar, this is a great wine with which to become acquainted. It walks a nice line: it’s the sort of thing you could enjoy by itself, more or less, though it has the structure and depth to work well with a range of foods. 

What to eat

Tapas, and lots of it 

Eating out in Spain is a rather blurry experience, I find. Things move fast and slow at the same time, and time itself ceases to matter a great deal. There’s a manic, rushed energy in the air, and it’s not out of the ordinary to witness a hot-blooded argument of one kind or another, like a narky exchange between two guys on mopeds. And yet there’s no hurry, no great impetus to be anywhere other than wherever it is you are – sitting around a barrel at this market-stall, sipping Cava at this crowded bar, tucking into this plate of something or another. 

Picture a buzzing bar somewhere in Madrid or Haro or Valencia. Standing room only. They don’t take reservations, and every square inch of the place is occupied by hungry, thirsty people in twos, threes or tens; they’re speaking musical, fluid-sounding languages you may or may not understand. You’re with friends or family, standing around chatting, eating and drinking. You occupy a space so tiny and so far from a flat surface that it almost defies physics when you somehow manage to balance your plate, your fork and your glass. Your friend contorts their entire body to reach across and take the latest round of tapas from the overworked, charmingly grumpy waiter. This time, it’s tiny little sardines in olive oil, croquetas and a second helping of that chargrilled octopus. Dishes are passed around while another friend tops up everybody’s glasses. The food is good, and it’s going quickly; you should probably place another order in a second, and – wait. Did you see that? That couple with the baby have just asked for the bill. They have a prime spot at the bar. No point in being subtle here; you make a beeline across the room. And just in time, too: the waiter is back with a steaming hot pot of shredded rabbit. Someone asks for the wine list; you might be here for a while. 

I’ve had some of the best meals of my life in Spain. I fear that trying to recapture the magic with any degree of accuracy would be doomed to failure. So don’t bother. Just get some loved ones together, lay on some tapas, and away you go. 

You can be as ambitious or as straightforward as you like. It’s relatively quick and easy to put together some patatas bravas and some garlicky aioli; you can buy the latter premade, even. Padron peppers are easy enough to find in big supermarkets, and very simple to fry in a pan with some good salt and oil. There’s a lot you can do with chorizo, drowning it in red wine being a perfectly acceptable way to go. If you’ve got the time and the inclination, some croquetas can really elevate the experience. Take your pick otherwise of calamari, grilled green beans, garlic mushrooms and whatever else tickles your fancy. Word to the wise: these may be small dishes, but some of them can be quite a lot of work. Make it worth your while by inviting a crowd, or else limit yourself to just a few of them. 

What to listen to

It turns out I don’t actually listen to an awful lot of Spanish music per se. This is something I’ll aim to rectify, or at least explore a little further. For the record, a couple of my all-time favourite albums are performed in Spanish: Dance Mania (1958) from the American bandleader Tito Puente; and Buena Vista Social Club (1998), from the Cuban group of the same name. Either or both would make a wonderful accompaniment to an al fresco glass of Mencía with a couple of small plates.

I am, however, partial to a piece of music by the Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo called “Concierto de Aranjuez”. I came to know it indirectly, through the album Sketches of Spain (1960) by American jazzman Miles Davis. That album’s opening track, which takes up almost half of the record, is an interpretation of Rodrigo’s piece, co-arranged by Davis’s longtime collaborator Gil Evans. Where Rodrigo’s piece is composed for classical Spanish guitar, Davis’s interpretation is played on the trumpet and flugelhorn. The album opens to the clapping of castanets, a hugely evocative sound that transports me immediately to those childhood holidays. The horn and, later, brass call to mind for me the vast swathes of Spain that I’ve not seen yet and may never see: the expansive landscapes of the Meseta Central at dusk; the rocky seascapes of Rías Baixas at dawn. This album may have been recorded in New York, but with its flamenco and Spanish-folk influences, I can think of no better musical accompaniment to a tapas-and-Telmo party. 

Or, if all else fails, go with some classic cheese. Those resorts on the Costa del Sol are a great place for a youngster to master the Macarena. And you’d be a cold soul not to at least crack a smile or tap a foot for a bit of Enrique Iglesias. 

Buy the 2020 LG Valbuxán from Telmo Rodríguez here. 

Category: Miscellaneous

A day in the life of our educators


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Our Pickering Cellar, below No.3 St James’s Street

Our cellars at No.3 St James’s Street have been home to tastings, lunches and dinners for well over two decades. From introductory wine courses to exclusive events with some of the finest producers in the world, there is always something going on. But what does hosting such events actually involve? We spoke to two of our talented educators – Rebecca Lamont and Michael Dabbs – to find out more about a typical day.

With the exception of our One-Day Wine Schools, most of our events are afternoon or evening affairs. Therefore it stands to reason that our educators do far more than “just” teach.

“When I am not teaching,” says Michael Dabbs, “I am often preparing for upcoming events or helping my team with their event preparation. This can range from helping them select wines to doing a run-through of a particular section of their presentation. It is incredibly rewarding being part of this process and getting to work with such dedicated wine professionals.”

Wine educator Michael Dabbs
Michael Dabbs: “Hosting allows me to share incredible products and their stories with guests from all over the world”

High energy

Equally, teaching is a high-energy role, so getting into the right frame of mind before an event is key. Rebecca Lamont does “very little” the morning before hosting a Saturday dinner, she says.

“I want to save my verve for the evening event, so I rest. But, in the back of my mind, I am going over everything for the event: the logistics of how I am going to get to the cellars on time, going through my timing for checking the wines and dietary requirements, reminding myself of when I need to check in with the Operations team and chefs. Also, I’ll be going through what I need to take, and thinking about the guests, the seating plan, making amendments to paperwork and rehearsing all my notes about the wines.”

Months in the planning

That perhaps doesn’t sound overly restful for some. The preparation for these events starts months in advance too, argues Rebecca.

“When putting together events, the prep often starts three to six months in advance, choosing the wines and arranging the dates. There are then emails to the Buyers about setting aside stock. There’s always a dilemma of whether to choose rare bottles for a treat at the event, but knowing if guests enjoy them, they won’t be available to buy after the event; the fine wine market often has such limited stock.

“Although, I have to say BBX, our fine wine exchange, really helps solve this with the fantastic array of wines available.”

Wine educator Rebecca Lamont
Rebecca Lamont: guests “are all on their own journey of self-discovery”


Outlining how he juggles hosting events on a diverse array of regions, Michael confirms that preparation is crucial.

“Generally, we’ll each be looking after several events per week and so we have to wear a few different specialist hats,” he says. One night, we may be in the Pickering Cellar, hosting 30 people for an Introduction to Bordeaux. The next, we may be guiding guests through a selection of the wines of Piedmont with a four-course dinner.”

For him, most preparation begins by creating the theme and choosing the wines, “months in advance.” Then, in the ensuing weeks, he’ll begin to piece together the specific running order, key focus points or learning objectives, and additional detail on the specific wines.

Of course, Michael clarifies, “not all of this content will make it into the final event, but we need to have a lot of information at our fingertips. By the time the day of the event comes around, the only thing that should need to happen is last-minute refinements and tweaks.”

The joy of hosting

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given all this work, the joy Michael, Rebecca and our other educators receive from hosting is immense. For Michael, it’s about sharing his knowledge and expertise, arguing that “the best thing about educating is the ‘light bulb’ moment when you see that something you’ve just explained or highlighted has really resonated with a guest.”

But there are special moments from guests too, he says. “Hosting allows me to share incredible products and their stories with guests from all over the world. We had one gentleman at a dinner last week who first came to Berry Bros. & Rudd in 1961 and could still recall exactly what he purchased!”

For Rebecca too, there’s real pleasure in seeing guests gain in confidence.

“I love it when our guests have so much to say about the wines. They are all on their own journey of self-discovery.” She continues, highlighting that “they are in a safe place where they can say exactly what they think. Knowing that I’m helping them to answer questions and satisfy their curiosity about wine, that is marvellous.”

Memories and emotions

And of course, emotions are often key when it comes to wine. “One time we were serving an old Sassicaia,” she confides, “and one guest shared ‘I’ll always love this wine because this was the wine my now-husband bought in the restaurant for our first date’. Memories and emotions play a huge part in our enjoyment and I always like to acknowledge this.”

Given this, it is no great surprise that more than a few of our events have enduring emotional resonance for some guests. “We’ve actually managed to start a few romances with our events,” Rebecca confirms, “and one or two couples can always say they met in our cellars at No.3 St James’s Street. I think it’s the Bordeaux events that have started the most partnerships over the years.”

Learn more about our events.

Category: Miscellaneous