The Berry Bros. & Rudd Quiz

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The lockdown has brought with it lots of new trends – but the most surprising is the nation’s newfound quizzing obsession. With that in mind, we’ve put together a wine and spirits themed quiz for your next Zoom social. Combining this with a glass of your favourite wine is actively encouraged – if not a necessity

Round 1: I Heard it through the Grapevine

Scientists have theorised that listening to music can change the flavour of a wine. When Neil Diamond sung about red, red wine we like to think he was thinking of a fruity Californian Cabernet or a meaty Argentinian Malbec. He is certainly not the first singer to have included a reference and he won’t be the last.

  1. Which member of the band The Black Eyed Peas owns a winery in California specialising in Syrah and Viognier?
  2. In 1827, which composer’s final words are said to have been, “Pity, pity, too late!” after the case of wine he had been promised did not arrive on time?
  3. Which 1974 song by the band Queen quotes the line “She keeps Moët et Chandon /in her pretty cabinet / ‘Let them eat cake’ she says / just like Marie Antoinette”?
  4. Which band sung the song Champagne Supernova in 1995?
  5. Which drink were Flanders and Swann singing about when they sung the song “Have some ______ M’dear”?

Round 2: Hollywood and Wine

James Bond drank his way from Mouton Rothschild to 50-year-old Macallan Scotch whisky; Miles and Jack debated Californian Pinot Noir and Merlot; and Gatsby favoured Moët & Chandon Champagne. Wine has found its way into a huge array of films, how many have you come across?

  1. Which famous Bordeaux château’s wine does restaurant critic Anton Ego order to go with his meal in the Disney film Ratatouille (2007)?
  2. What sort of wine does Hannibal Lecter order to accompany his liver and fava beans in the film Silence of the Lambs (1991)?
  3. The film Bottle Shock (2008) about the infamous Judgement of Paris’ tasting event held between Californian and French wines in 1976, stars Alan Rickman as which famous British wine expert?
  4. Throughout the James Bond films, Bond drinks various different brands of Champagne. But which brand is he served by Dr No in the very first film Dr No (1962)?
  5. Which former celebrity couple jointly own the Provence wine estate Miraval?

Round 3: Cocktail Conundrums

Spirits have played a huge part in the Berry Bros. & Rudd business over the years and our No.3 Gin – which had a leading role in Kingsman: The Golden Circle – has even been named the world’s best gin. We all have our favourite cocktail, but can you guess the drink just from the ingredients?

  1. Gin, vodka, vermouth
  2. Tequila, lime, triple sec
  3. Cranberry juice, vodka, Cointreau, lime juice
  4. Campari, gin, vermouth
  5. Champagne, lemon, sugar syrup, gin

Round 4: Quick Fire – Double or Nothing

Built to test your general wine knowledge, this round is worth double points if you get all the answers right. But get a single question wrong and you get nothing…

  1. Which grape variety is Chablis made from?
  2. Barolo is a wine from which geographical region?
  3. Which wine is associated with the grape varieties Malvasia, Bual, Verdelho and Sercial?
  4. To put Burgundy on the label, red wines from the region must be mainly made from which grape variety?
  5. Which botanical gives gin its predominant flavour?

Bonus Round: Who Said That?

Wine has been a constant theme of society from Galileo declaring “Wine is sunlight, held together by water” to when Winston Churchill cited “Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” in World War II. But can you match these famous quotes to their speaker?

  1. “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.”
  2. “Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”
  3. “Nothing makes the future look so rosy as to contemplate it through a glass of Chambertin.”
  4. “Age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine.”
  5. “I never taste the wine first in restaurants, I just ask the waiter to pour.”
  1. Nigella Lawson
  2. Napoleon Bonaparte
  3. Joan Collins
  4. Benjamin Franklin
  5. Pope John XXIII

Download the answers here

If you’re looking for further entertainment, we’re currently offering virtual tastings online. We’ll arrange delivery of wines, glasses and a corkscrew to your guests ahead of a guided tasting with one of our expert hosts. Contact us to find out more

Find out how to host your own virtual wine tasting at home

Category: Miscellaneous

Essential ingredients: tomatoes

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Photograph: Joe Woodhouse
As we start to see the first of the new season tomatoes ripening to perfection, our Head Chef Stewart Turner rustles up a gazpacho with a smoky twist from barbecued veg, while we suggest the wines to drink alongside

Tomatoes are one of the kitchen staples during the summer months, but I recall when I first started at Berry Bros. & Rudd one of the Events team telling me that tomatoes are notoriously difficult to pair with wine due to their acidity. It’s something I still bear in mind, although – after over a decade writing menus to pair with wine – I’m not sure it’s necessarily true. Raw tomatoes are definitely tricky, but warmed, cooked or dressed that natural acidity can be tempered; it’s all about balance really.

In the kitchens at No.3 St James’s Street, we use heirloom tomatoes or heritage as we call them in the UK. They are open-pollinated, non-hybrid, multicoloured varieties that were how tomatoes used to be. These forebears have less acidity and are slightly sweeter, lacking a genetic mutation that gives tomatoes a uniform red colour.

Since the 1940s the food industry has favoured a hybrid which is a standardised plump, red, round fruit that we see today; these have a longer shelf life and are more disease-resistant, but unfortunately this comes at a cost to flavour. If you can seek out heritage tomatoes, they will make any salad or dish – including this gazpacho – even better.

Barbecued tomato gazpachoServes 6

  • 1kg heritage tomatoes
  • 100g piquillo peppers
  • Half a cucumber – peeled
  • 20g red onion
  • 20g basil
  • Half a clove of garlic
  • Sherry vinegar, to taste
  • Sea salt and Espelette pepper
  • 100g focaccia (or any excess sourdough) – torn into chunks
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the garnish:

  • 100g heritage tomatoes – diced
  • 50g cucumber – peeled and diced
  • 100g fennel – diced
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Half a red onion – peeled, finely diced and rinsed in cold water
  • Salt and pepper
  • 10 basil leaves – chiffonaded

Halve the tomatoes and cucumber. Cut the onion into large chunks. Cook the tomatoes, cucumber, onion and peppers on the barbecue or in a grill pan, until well coloured and beginning to char. Set aside to cool.

Place the cooked vegetables in a large container with the rest of the ingredients, a good glug of olive oil and season well. Place in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to marinade and let the flavours develop.

Blend until smooth. If it’s a little thick, add a little tomato juice and another glug of olive oil, until you reach a consistency you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Chill again until it’s super cold.

Mix all the ingredients for the garnish in a bowl and season well. Add a good glug of olive oil, divide between six bowls and pour over the chilled gazpacho, enjoyed with some grilled focaccia.

What to drink: As Stewart points out, tomatoes are not necessarily the easiest to pair with wine. When raw, you need a wine with plenty of zip to match the fruit’s natural acidity; cooking them tempers their flavour, and here you’ve got the smoky edge of the barbecue in the mix, alongside the piquancy of garlic. For standard gazpacho, we would instantly go for a dry, saline taste of Andalusia with Fino or Manzanilla Sherry, or a vibrant Verdejo (this one from top talent Telmo Rodríguez is particularly good). Here, however, we can imagine little better than a glass (ok, bottle) of Amontillado enjoyed leisurely over one of the season’s first al fresco lunches.

Category: Food & Wine

Stock secrets: BBX

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Photograph: Joakim Blockstrom
It’s been 10 years since we first launched our fine wine marketplace, BBX. Since then almost £200 million worth of wine has been traded on the platform. Just in the last year, £30 million worth of fine wine changed hands – with over 28,000 transactions taking place. But it remains something of an insider secret, as a way for those in the know able to snap up rare wines, longed-for vintages and the most prestigious labels. Here we reveal how it works – and how you can make the most of it

What is it?

BBX, the fine wine marketplace, allows you to trade wine stored in our warehouses. That means you can bid on or buy wine stored by other customers, as well as selling any wine you have stored with us.

How does it work?

There are three main ways of using BBX: buying, bidding and selling.

BUY: This is most people’s entry point to BBX. Anyone with wine stored at Berry Bros. & Rudd can list their wine for sale on BBX. You can easily purchase any of those wines (choosing from over 5,000 of them), in exactly the same way that you would make any other In Bond purchase from us. We transfer ownership from the customer selling the wine to you, and once complete you can do what you like with the wine: age it, sell it or have it delivered.

BID: Bidding is what makes BBX so interesting – and for a wine geek, fun. You can bid on any wine that is stored with us – whether or not it has been actively listed for sale. That means you can bid on a whopping 26,000 different wines: from Brunello di Montalcino and En Rama Sherry to the most strictly allocated Grand Cru Burgundy from Leflaive, Jayer and Leroy.

SELL: Wines stored In Bond with us can be listed for sale on BBX (provided they meet certain criteria). So, if you change your mind about that case of Claret, or are no longer as keen on Rioja, you can list it on BBX. There are no listing fees – you only pay a small commission if you successfully sell a wine. There’s a host of valuation data at your fingertips, helping you set the right price. Your listing appears on Wine-Searcher too, giving it global visibility. If you don’t want to actively list wine, you can also register to receive bid alerts on wines in your cellar. You can set the parameters, so you’ll only receive an email if someone bids, for example, 20% above the price you paid for it, or 10% above the Liv-ex market price.

TIPS FROM THE TEAM

It’s not just about the big names. Lafite, Latour and Mouton might make up over 40% of sales on BBX, but it isn’t just about investment-grade fine wine. It can be a brilliant way to seek out exceptional value “wine-drinkers’” wines, as Private Account Manager Jared Ehret explains: “I recently spied a case of the first vintage of Richard Kershaw’s Syrah – an exceptional wine, listed at an extremely reasonable price. Clearly, someone had just changed their mind about it – not looking to make money, but just wanting to move it along.”

Bids have to be realistic. There’s no minimum amount for a bid, but you’ll only be successful if they’re close to the market price. “No one wants to have their time wasted,” Private Account Manager Fergus Stewart explains, “you might get lucky with a bid that’s slightly below market, but don’t be silly with it.”

You don’t need to worry about provenance. If you’re buying at auction, you need to do your homework and make sure what you’re buying is up to scratch, but as Private Account Manager Simon Herriot points out, “With BBX, provenance is guaranteed. Every case is checked by our team when it comes into the warehouse, so you know it will be in perfect nick.” In fact, some wines have barely moved: they’ll have been bought En Primeur, shipped straight from the producer to our warehouse when bottled and not moved since.

Delve into the data. Take advantage of the valuation data on offer – with historic pricing from BBX as well as the most recent transaction data from Liv-ex and Wine-Searcher. “But do check the case format,” Cellar Plan Manager Tom Cave adds. “Valuation data is supplied for 12-bottle cases – so you’ll have to do the maths if you’ve got, say, a six-pack or single-magnum case.”

It’s incredibly easy. There are no landing fees, no email chains arranging transfers of stock, and it’s all relatively “instant”. “Any wine purchased will appear in your cellar online within a couple of days,” Simon Herriot explains. “It’s a really easy way to get your hands on back vintages. And take advantage of the Best of BBX list – where we’ve done the hard work for you, unearthing the best-value wines listed.”

Find out more about BBX at bbr.com/bbx, or for additional advice and guidance, contact the BBX team at bbx@bbr.com or on 0203 301 1505.

Category: Miscellaneous

Weathering the storm

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Our home at No.3 St James’s Street is shuttered up for the foreseeable. But, as our Creative Director and eighth-generation family member Geordie Willis considers here, business goes on – as it has for three centuries

When I first started working at Berry Bros. & Rudd, some 20 years ago, I was entrusted with the task of putting up the shutters each evening, and removing them again first thing in the morning. This signified the end and start of the working day or, at least, the hours that we expected to welcome visitors. It wasn’t long after I started that this daily ritual sadly came to an end – our events business had started to build steam and, understandably, our guests were keen to catch the occasional glimpse of the outside world.

There are mixed feelings for me seeing those same shutters back in place once again; one part nostalgia, the other a sad reminder of what has been the most unusual of years. It has been almost a decade since the shutters last went up, during the civil unrest of the 2011 London riots, and perhaps for me, they have sadly become more associated with trying times rather than the halcyon days of my early employment.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that our company has had to weather the storm. I still recall the stories of the war years told to me by my grandfather Anthony Berry. During the Second World War, our cellars (at the time under Bury Street) were left largely intact when the building above was gutted, amazingly leaving the majority of bottles unscathed. Not long after a bomb blasted No.3, pushing the front in by 2cm (a possible reason for the undulating floorboards that are plain to see for any visitor today). In September 1940 incendiaries destroyed the roof and top floor, and badly damaged the remainder of the upper part of the building.

For the next four years the business was managed with the help of a greatly reduced staff. It cannot have been much fun. Rationing, regulations, the need to disappoint customers, and all sorts of other shortages and privations, though bearable taken one at a time, added up to misery in total: the only alleviation was in reflecting that nothing goes on forever.

And so we find ourselves now, in the midst of a very different type of crisis. Our experience, however, tells us that we can make it through these trying times as well. We are lucky to work with an extraordinary team and to have customers who understand the challenges that businesses are faced with during these times. I have been humbled by the messages of support and the displays of solidarity.

We are very much looking forward to the day when the shutters can come down again and life can return to No.3 St James’s Street. In the meantime, we will hold strong and remind ourselves that nothing goes on forever.

Category: Miscellaneous