Archive for the ‘general’ Category

Smile, Thyme Square and Vouvray

Friday, August 11th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week we’ve seen psychopathic joggers, crazed world leaders trying to out crazy one another, and children arrested in Iran for dancing Zumba. Now, I don’t know about you but it seems to me everyone needs to calm down, take a deep breath and count to five, or maybe just join Alex by the pool for a glass of something fresh.

Perhaps this from Spike Milligan will help.

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu,

When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.


I passed around the corner and someone saw my grin.

When he smiled I realized I’d passed it on to him.


I thought about that smile, then I realized its worth.

A single smile, just like mine could travel round the earth.


So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.

Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!


In sport, the Women’s Rugby World Cup kicked off, with England giving Spain a thorough 56-5 drubbing, whilst Ireland beat Australia in a 19-17 thriller.


I see Big Mo is in his last track 5000m tomorrow night before plans to move up to Marathon running. I can’t help but wonder if Mrs Mo knows just how long his Sunday morning runs are going to be now!


Premiership Season kicks off tonight with Arsenal hosting Leicester. Elsewhere it seems Chelsea and Manchester United are still looking for players, and Danny Rose is unhappy with his pay at Spurs.


In other news, Groundhog Day the Musical is playing on Broadway at the moment. On Tuesday evening Bill Murray was in the audience, as he was on Wednesday. If you’re reading this from New York, the show is at 8pm this evening, and tomorrow.


As has become something of a tradition whilst Alex is on holiday I have bought something new. By way of departure from the norm, it is a beer rather than an exciting Italian red.


Adrian from Belleville Brewery dropped by with my new purchase yesterday morning. Thyme Square Saison (£2.60 33cl can) is one of their seasonal brews. It pours a hazy orange in the glass with herby and citrus aromas.  On the palate it is fruity with some herbal notes, the weight of a wheat beer and a lovely refreshing finish that isn’t bitter at all. A lovely summer brew that’ll refresh the farmer in all of us!


Talking of exciting Italian reds our latest allocation of Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2014 mysteriously arrived during Alex’s absence too. So if you think a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (85%) and Cabernet Franc (15%) that just happens to be one of Italy’s most iconic bottlings might be up your street, just let us know and we’ll see what we can do.


Tasting this weekend


I’ll never get the Sassicaia past the budget committee, so thought instead we could put our tasting gear to action with another newbie, the Cours La Reine St Chinian 2015 (£10.99). From one of France’s oldest appellations, it has our old chums Grenache and Syrah in the blend and I can’t help but think it’s ideal for this time of year.


Vouvray Coteaux Les Tufiers Demi-Sec 2015 (£11.99) from the North Bank of the Loire valley is where we’ll be on the white front, for no better reason than I fancy it! A perfect partner to some sashimi, smoked fish, or maybe some tandoori fish kebabs on the barbecue.


Pop in for a taste and give us a smile!


Friday, August 4th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Week 2 of the Great Exodus of 2017 – nothing extraordinary to report from Arthur Road.

Alex reminds me from his hammock that, in the month of August, I can write pretty much what I please since most people’s inboxes have been left on their desk at work and the term ‘internet access’  becomes ‘no internet access’ once you get past Salisbury.

But what does one do with such a blank canvas, aside from stare blankly at it?

I could kick off with some trivia about how August used to be called Sextilis when it lived higher up the charts in sixth place rather than eighth.  I could then whimsy a little about how nice it would be if it was still at number 6 because that would mean there would be no January or February, which are terrible months filled with abstinence, cold weather and family birthdays!  I could continue the whimsy with the proposal that it would be great to celebrate Christmas and New Year with the knowledge that spring is only three weeks away and my closing argument would centre around the premise that, in a world that is becoming increasingly metric, a 10 month year would seem logical and if the US want to maintain their imperial measurements they can keep January and February and have ours too.

And that would be the first paragraph written.

After the whimsy I could then discuss what’s been going on in the world and I could start with The Guardian and a selection of stories that they’ve published in the last two weeks:

  • Heavy drinking will kill 63,000 people over next five years, doctors warn (24/07/17)
  • Booze is a joy – so stop criticising women for drinking (25/07/17)
  • Sport and sunshine fuel surge in UK supermarket alcohol sales (25/07/17)
  • Is it time to tackle Britain’s alcohol problem? (26/07/17)
  • Regular alcohol consumption could cut diabetes risk, study finds (28/07/17)

I’m still not sure which message The Guardian is trying to push here and I’m positive they don’t have a clue either but one has to admire their spread of clickbait.

Second paragraph done and still no mention of cycling but not for long…

For now I can mention my persistent sadness that I never seem to get a place in Ride London but hope that next year might be my time but in the meantime I’ll keep pinging myself round and around Richmond Park and down Sydenham and up Box and Leith and other places that Alex has never heard of… at which point I will realise that I forgot to stick my political joke in earlier about how if you had bought a pint of milk on the day Anthony Scaramucci was hired it would still be good to drink – one of many very good jokes going round about America’s best loved communications director.

And the order of the email won’t matter because it’s Sextilis.

I now envisage that I am on the home straight and need to start thinking about what I should have on tasting this weekend – in the blanc corner we have:

Domaine Morin-Langaran Cuvee Caroline Picpoul de Pinet 2016, France – £11.99

Picpoul: a grape variety that has been grown for years on the banks of Lake Thau, in sight of the famous oyster-beds of Bouzigues.  The vines bask in the sunshine, being gently aired by the salty breeze and thus this wine is unmistakably Mediterranean.  Domaine Morin-Langaran has been in the same family since 1966 and they produce a classic Picpoul, aged on its fine lees for complexity and the perfect match to shellfish (oysters perhaps?), grilled fish or just as an aperitif!

Château de Belleverne, Beaujolais Villages ‘La Basse-Cour’ 2015, France – £10.99

A lovely drop of Gamay this one.  A fresh, delicate and light wine with vibrant fresh strawberry aromas, a lovely freshness of red fruits and a lightness of touch on the palate.  People seem to be rediscovering Beaujolais at last, with good cause – we’d suggest popping a Brie in the oven and tucking in with some crusty bread!

And that’s the August email template done – a quick mention of the Wine School that starts on Wednesday 4th October and is a six week course over a seven week period and costs a remarkably sensible price of £150 and then a witty sign off and we’re done.  I’ll keep this format for the next few weeks and indeed for next year, just need to remember to tidy it up a bit before I send it….

Wayne & Alex

Big Brother is watching you!

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As I sit here by the pool, 30 degrees registering on the mercury, a sea vista to the front of me, the rolling hills behind me and a Tinto de Verano to my right, a wave of nausea nostalgia washes over me as I wonder what is going on back in Blighty.  No television here, no English language radio, the buzzing and clicking of cicadas only supplanted by the whining of mopeds, the shrieks from the tennis court and the gentle popping of corks…

Is there anyone left in Wimbledon Park, I wonder?  Certainly, when I joined the airport queue at 4pm last Friday there seemed to be a lot of people in front of me and very soon double the amount behind me.  The flight was full but fortunately no unaccompanied teenagers were booted off, nobody tried to open the door at 30,000 feet and we departed well within the 38 hour delay record that was in the process of being set by Thomson up in Aberdeen.  Arrival was suitably sun drenched and sweaty, the hire car was a ‘similar’ model to the one we had requested and thus smaller of course, whilst the offer of extra insurance and a GPS was dismissed by my wife with some very agricultural language not usually heard on the Costa!

By Saturday, happily ensconced in the hammock, it was time to review activities back in Arthur Road, via the newly installed antler mounted CCTV cameras that Wayne didn’t know about until now (assuming he can read this email whilst out on his bike).  Initially I thought I had the screen on pause: no cars were passing, no pedestrians hoved into view, nothing stirred.  Then Wayne wandered across the shop, put some beer in the fridge, stood in the doorway surveying his domain, shrugged, turned around and went back to the counter where, I suspect, the Tour de France was being surreptitiously viewed.  At this juncture I fear I might have dozed off for an hour or two, a combination of a un-chlorinated chicken luncheon and such desperately uncompelling viewing but, when I awoke at around 6pm your time, there was Wayne, once again in the doorway, followed by the same shrug and, entertainingly, a very Jackson-esque moonwalk back to the counter!

Thus it would seem that there is someone left in Wimbledon Park, his name is Wayne and he’s keen for customers or, at the very least, a dance partner!

So, as I said, in the absence of television and English language broadcast I can only guess at what has been making the news this week, so here goes.  Trump has tweeted something inflammatory that has caused the Republicans to bury their heads in their hands once again; a footballer, talented but no Ronaldo, has been sold or potentially sold for 40 times Gary Lineker’s salary; we are struggling in the cricket; some scare story about Brexit, probably linked to border crossings, as it’s holiday time; articles about how boring/exciting Jordan Spieth/Chris Froome/Joe Root is; Theresa May; Jeremy Corbyn; Southern Rail; Lady Di…. am I close?


Having watched enough CCTV footage to convince me, I have decided that Wayne can take an early bath this Saturday, and in fact every Saturday through until the end of August.  So, he will be closing the doors promptly at 7pm tomorrow, and the 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th August too – you have been warned!

Before he closes, however, he will be busy selling spaces on our 6 week Wine School that starts at the beginning of October (details attached) and will also be tasting a couple of wines with all you lucky punters still in SW19.

The white this week is one we haven’t had on taste for over a year, which is very surprising since it’s a wine that oozes summertime: Leira Seca Alvarinho e Trajadura Vinho Verde 2016, Minho, Portugal – £11.49.  Alvarinho and Trajadura are grown on the sloping banks of the Minho River, which is the natural border between Spain and Portugal.  It’s as deliciously crisp as you’d imagine with lemon and lime citrus notes, lovely stone fruits flavours and a crisp long finish.

Staying in northern Iberia but at the eastern end, the red of choice this week is Celler de Capçanes Mas Collet 2015, Montsant, Spain – £13.99.  Once you’ve crossed the French Border, skirted around Barcelona and hit the outskirts of Tarragona, take a hard right into the hills and you will hit the region of Montsant after about 20 minutes.  Its relative proximity to the French border means that Carignan and Grenache are still very much in charge here but not without a fine showing from Tempranillo and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Aged for 9 months in barrique this is deliciously rich, smooth, balanced, polished and frankly, utterly delicious.

And that’s it from me for now, it’s hot and I need a swim.  If anyone is in Arthur Road today or tomorrow do pop in and see Wayne, have a glass of wine and a dance and don’t forget to wave at the deer on top of the beer fridge!


Wayne & Alex

PS if anyone owns a small business, read this link, I think we’ve all been there!

The Park Vintners Gender Gap

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Running a wine shop seems sometimes to be a series of ebbs and flows, known jobs and unknown jobs.  Clearly there’s the usual, buy wine, sell wine, chat with customer bits as you’d expect. Then there is the other stuff.

This week, as expected, Alex completed our quarterly VAT return, Elaine from Z-Group came and checked that he’d put all his decimal places in the right place and had the correct receipts.

Unexpectedly, Wayne found himself wielding sandpaper and paintbrush to protect the flaking window ledge from the weather.

We found ourselves writing some tasting notes, doing a couple of deliveries but also wondering why a photograph of a signature is less acceptable than a scanned signature to the finance industry. Ultimately we bought a stamp and sent a real signature!

Importantly though, we have no glaring pay gaps that the government feels we need to share with the newspapers. Despite the myriad of jobs and responsibilities both of us are paid at the same rate. Very much an equal opportunity employer is Park Vintners, with no gender pay gap at all. Rufus the spaniel regards himself very much as a volunteer, definitely not an unpaid intern! He is very happy to keep an eye on the back garden in exchange for the occasional ear scratch.

In sporting endeavours, the cricket was a complete debacle, with South Africa running amok to level the series. England’s selectors have turned to Essex batsman Tom Westley in the hope of some runs.

In the footie, England beat Scotland 6-0 in their opening game of the Women’s Euros. No gender gap in Scotland then, but perhaps the English men’s team should watch and learn!

In the golf, The Open has started at Royal Birkdale with many hopes on young local boy Tommy Fleetwood.  It seems Dustin Johnson finds favour with the bookies, though Wayne thinks it could be Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson providing the excitement on Sunday. But what does he know about golf?

In real sport the most open Tour de France in years is drawing close to the Champs Élysée. Will Chris Froome win his fourth tour or will Romain Bardet give France their first winner since 1985, when Bernard Hinault was victorious?

Unexpectedly, we have four places on this week’s Cheese & Wine Tasting.

Thursday 27th July at 8pm – £20 per person.

Let us know if you’d like to come along and join the fun.

After this one, the next Cheese & Wine Tasting is Thursday 5th October.

Wine School

It may feel like ages but September will be here before you know it and with it the start of the new term of Wine School.  For those of you who don’t know about this we’ve attached some details but, in a nut shell, over the course of six weeks you will learn about and taste around 6o wines.  You’ll fall in love with Chardonnay once more, discover life beyond Malbec and be able to spot a corked wine from 5 paces.  You’ll do a lot more than this obviously and all for only £150.

Sign up today, before you go away.

Wednesday 4th October till Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 8pm.

£150 per person.

Wednesday 25th October off for half term.

Currently we have plenty of spaces left, so tell your friends too!

Tasting this weekend

With a nod to the crowded skies filled with departing holidaymakers this weekend we thought we’d crack open a bottle of the Max Ferd. Richter Zeppelin Riesling 2015 (£14.49). Crisp, zesty apple and peach flavour with a finely focused slate character, typical for the vineyard  this is great as an aperitif wine or with light seafood and poultry dishes but, more significantly, is a great wine to persuade people that Riesling is an enjoyment not a punishment!

In the red corner we’ll be opening Castello di Luzzano Umore Nero Pinot Nero 2015 (£15.99). It’s a new listing, we’ve been looking at Pinot Noir’s from Italy for ages and struggled, if I’m honest, to find one we were happy with. Little did we know that the entire time this was right under our nose and we’d just never tasted it!

So come and enjoy a glass with us this evening or tomorrow whilst you book up your seat for the Wine & Cheese tasting next week!

Le Volte, Bastille Day and London Cure Smoked Salmon

Friday, July 14th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

The week has continued as last week left us, with difficult choices having to be made between tennis and cycling on the television, but you’ll be pleased to learn that somehow we’ve managed. We saw Andy Murray go out in pain and Roger Federer’s incredible form. We also saw the beauty and pain of the Tour as it wound through the Dordogne with Maciej Bodnar out in a breakaway for 200km, only to get caught 200m from the line. Brutal, and now the Pyrenees!

Following up on a story we originally discussed in January 2015, Dippy has left the building! Yes Dippy the dinosaur has now gone on tour and been replaced at the Natural History Museum by ‘Bluey’ , the four tonne blue whale skeleton who has been awaiting his spot in the limelight since 1891. All comes to he who waits!

We read that London Cure Smoked Salmon has been given the coveted Protected Geographical Indication status by the EU, the same protection that Parma Ham, Whitstable Oysters or Champagne enjoy. The irony of our reading this whilst our elected representatives debate the great repeal, preferring to score ideological points off each other rather than join together in the national interest, was not lost. Good news if you’re a smoked salmon producer in Newham, Tower Hamlets or Hackney though!

Something that amused us very much this week was Andy Serkis reading out President Trump’s tweets in the voice of Gollum – have a look for it.

Meanwhile, in this corner of Wimbledon Park, rosé has been leaving the building in some volume, Wayne has bought more posh wine – I particularly like the look of the new release of Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 2007 – £45.50.

But the one I really wanted to tell you about was the latest release of Le Volte.

Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2015 – £23.99 (Six bottles for £120), this year is a blend of 67% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Sangiovese fermented in steel and then aged for 10 months in a mixture of second use barriques and cement tanks before release.

We tried it a few months back and found it as rich, velvety and lovely as ever, but what really excited us was winemaker Axel Heinz’s comments:

“2015 was one those years that every winemaker dreams of having at least once in his career. The balanced season with a warm and sunny summer, but with a cool, dry weather during the harvest produced wines that perfectly denote the seasonal trend. Rarely do we find a perfect balance between the various components of the wine, from the deep ruby colour, to the crisp and fresh fruity hints with an ideally meaty texture, supported by silky, smooth tannins, devoid of any harsh edge.”

So there you go, a change from strawberries and cream, and something to tuck away in the rack whilst you sun yourself at the beach. Think of it as a post rosé treat!

Wine School

Taste 60 wines, do some blind tasting, finish on bubbly. Full details attached. Term starts Wednesday October 4th, beats reruns of Big Brother!

Tasting This Weekend

Today is Bastille Day so we thought we’d tackle something French. From the Loire Valley we’ll tantalise the taste buds with Domaine du Salvard Cheverny 2016 (£13.99), a scrummy blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc with the balance of Chardonnay just fleshing it out a little. Wearing the red jersey will be Jean Gamay Noir 2015 (£13.99), from acclaimed producer Jean Loron in southern Burgundy. Soft, light and fresh, yet rich and fruity with a little more weight than our Beaujolais.

What is covfefe, Precious?

Wine School, Burgundy, Rioja, Tennis, Tour de France and Ice!

Friday, July 7th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We Sell Ice.

And that’s about all you need to know from us for this week…

What a wonderful week! Tennis in full flow, Tour de France in full flow, Cricket from Lords’ murmuring on in the background, sunshine flooding through the window, five fridges spewing out heat as they go into overdrive but my god it’s all worth it when we open their doors and feel the whoosh of chilled air in our faces….

But this idyllic scene has not been without controversy.

Kyrgios,Troicki, Dolgopolov, Klizan, Lopez, Tipsarevic and Potapova are amongst the ‘retirees’ in the first round of the tennis – all £35,000 better off than they were on Monday morning.  Off the court Mr McEnroe has left Serena alone for a bit and stuck the knife into Novak, whilst Bernard Tomic has told us how bored he is – good to see that the force is still strong with the tennis super-brat!

Sagan knocks Cavendish off his bike.  Or Cavendish hooks Sagan on his brake.  Or they don’t touch each other at all.  Or they collide.  Whichever story you support the upshot is one broken shoulder, one expulsion, a knocked back appeal and now CAS have rejected any further action – so he stays out of the Tour and the trolls write disgraceful things on twitter about Cavendish and his family – almost makes one yearn for the days of drug cheats and illicit train journeys.

The cricket, as I said, murmurs on.  The South Africans removed early wickets and then decided to have a bit too much pasta at lunch time resulting in a lot of runs coming England’s way in the afternoon but remember, it’s only day one and it’s always ours to lose.

Away from sport, the sun has properly started scrambling our journalists brains and resulted in a spate of what can only be fake news:  Sir John Chilcot states that Tony Blair wasn’t ‘straight with the nation’ in the lead up to the Iraq War; Donald Trump has sent some ill-judged tweets; and Glastonbury blames part of the zero hours controversy on the weather being too good?

But whilst all this is going on in the big world, our little wine shop world continues to revolve happily.  We have spotted the occasional star in a Wimbledon stamped car, we have sold a few bottles of posh wine to the pre-tennis luncheon crowd and we’ve taken delivery of more new wines.

We’ve taken on board two new white burgundys – Domaine Seguinot Bordet Chablis 2015 (£18.99) and Jean Loron Vieilles Vignes Viré-Clessé 2014 (£17.99) both wines we tasted earlier in the year and now realised we needed to buy soon before Burgundy becomes as expensive as Bulgari.

We’ve bought a delicious rioja – Torre Demontalbo Crianza 2014 (£11.99) from Berry Bros & Rudd; we picked up a joyful Pinot Noir from Lombardia – Castello di Luzzano Umore Nero 2015 (£15.99) and also picked up a stunning Nebbiolo with a bit of age on it – Vallana Gattinara 2007 (£28.99).  They’re all here, we’re here, all we need now is you!

Wine School

It may feel like ages but September will be here before you know it and with it the start of the new term of Wine School.  For those of you who don’t know about this we’ve attached some details but, in a nut shell, over the course of six weeks you will learn about and taste around 6o wines.  You’ll fall in love with Chardonnay once more, discover life beyond Malbec and be able to spot a corked wine from 5 paces.  You’ll do a lot more than this obviously and all for only £150.

Sign up today, before you go away.

Wednesday 4th October till Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 8pm.

£150 per person.

Wednesday 25th October off for half term.

Currently we have plenty of spaces left, so tell your friends too!

Tasting this weekend

Having mentioned Jean Loron Vieilles Vignes Viré-Clessé 2014 and Torre Demontalbo Crianza 2014 let’s get some of that in your glasses and you can let us know what you think!

Some of you may have noticed the absence of any rugby talk.  For now, let’s keep it that way.  Next week though, depending on the result, you might hear more!

And just in case you didn’t get it the first time:

We Sell Ice – How cool is that?

How’s your week been?

Friday, June 30th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

How’s your week been? Ours hasn’t been bad, we’ve had a couple of meetings, tasted and listed some new wines, been to the pub. Mostly though, we’ve been moving boxes and catching up with Glastonbury on the interweb. We’ve enjoyed Foo Fighters, Chic, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Warpaint and couldn’t help but wonder if Liam Gallagher is growing up in his old age. Anyway, that’s enough of last week, looking onwards and upwards sees a jam packed agenda.

You’ll have seen the Wimbledon branded cars driving around on their practice runs the last two weeks (I’m sure they used smaller cars in the past, maybe saving on hotel rooms?). This can of course mean only one thing: Wimbledon fortnight is upon us! The Co-op will have sold out of all useful lunch items for the next few weeks so Alex and I will be on the microwave stew or Uncle Ben’s rice packs. More strawberries will be consumed in SW19 than the rest of the country, and Murray will likely have a five setter that’ll make us all late for supper. Sadly we’ve had no luck in the ballot this year, so we’ll be joining a queue at some point if we can manage it.

Greatest race in the world starts this week too. Saturday sees the start in Dusseldorf, a 14km time trial mostly along the Rhine, so nice and flat. It may well see Chris Froome take some early seconds out of the Grand Classification contenders.

I’m excited about this year’s Tour (isn’t he always?) as it’s a different kind of terrain to the last couple of years. Starting with tomorrow’s time trial, the penultimate stage is a time trial too, and there are quite a few long, relatively flat stages that should give us breakaways to cheer. Whilst all eyes maybe on Froome, Quintana, Porte and Aru for the GC, keep your eyes out for Simon Yates, a very strong contender for the White Jersey this year. You’ll recall his twin brother Adam wore it last year. As always, stay upright and avoid the motorbikes for three weeks to stay in the mix!

There is of course, to accompany your breakfast, a British & Irish Lions vs All Blacks fixture too. I’m not sure I should comment much after last week’s debacle but I am enjoying Mr Gatland’s continual confounding of the armchair team pickers. Farrell and Sexton have got to be an exciting prospect, surely?

Anyway, I started off by saying we’d bought some new wine so, moving swiftly on, I’ll tell you about the Volcanico Pais 2015 (£15.99), from Chile, or perhaps Samurai Shiraz 2016 (£10.99), which apparently tastes “like Australian sunshine and Ninjas” though I’d suggest black raspberry and eucalyptus is closer to the mark. It may be that Pinot Noir is more your thing, in which case I may mention Domaine Faiveley Mercurey La Framboisière 2015 (£23.99), which really does have a strawberry like character to its fruit, particularly in such a fine vintage as this.

I’ve mentioned three very different wines from three very different grapes and three very different countries. Want to know more about their differentiators?

Sign up to our Wine School

Autumn Term runs Wednesday evenings 4th Oct- 15th Nov with half term on 25th Oct.  

You’ll taste around 60 wines and the six week course costs £150.

Drop us a line or phone 020 8944 5224 to book your place.

If you are of an impatient nature then do not fret. We will have some wine open to taste this weekend, as usual.

We’ve had a look and none of our German wines are from Dusseldorf so we have instead decided to open a red and a white from the Pyrenees, made by an Englishman who is married to a Kiwi. We think that covers nearly all the bases, so roll up to the podium Domaine Treloar.

Domaine Treloar is a small family run estate based in Trouillas and we think they make possibly the best wines in the Roussillon. You can read more about them here:

In the White Jersey will be La Terre Promise 2015 (£16.99)Named after the Bruce Springsteen song “Promised Land”. A natural wine made from Macabeu (Viura), Grenache Gris and Carignan Blanc. Nothing is added during its conversion from juice to wine.”

Whilst the boot of the Commissars red car will be stocked with Le Ciel Vide 2015 (£11.49) Named after a Bruce Springsteen song “Empty Sky” which, for us expressed most clearly the memories of September 11th. This unoaked red is made from Syrah and Grenache.”

That’s it from us folks, have a great weekend!

Hot off the press!

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So, this week we’ve seen Andy Murray angle for a few extra days of Peppa Pig and training, rather than tournament play in the torturing heat.

Hottest day in June since 1976, they said. “In 1976 I was wearing short trousers and no tie” said Wayne. Plus ça change!

A couple of weeks ago we touched upon the fact that there was a British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand happening, and that breakfast was a difficult time to watch rugby.  Well we’re on the eve of the First Test. Six games of practice in the provinces has seen the Lions on the right side of the score line 4 times, and they appear, to this commentator, to be growing in confidence.

We’ve now looked at the squad that’s going to excite our breakfast tomorrow morning and, frankly, are somewhat concerned at cereal spillage. Whilst we’re a bit surprised to see George North making the sandwiches, we’re quite excited to see how the game pans out, with what appears, in some corners, to be a controversial team selection. So, set aside the Rice Krispies, we think this game could be more suited to three Weetabix!

This week we had The Queen’s Speech, only without pomp and circumstance! The crown arrived, not on one’s head as one might expect, but in its own car, atop a cushion to be placed in front of Her Maj. so as not to spoil the day. More of a Queen’s post-it we thought. Apparently, it has absolutely nothing to do with the diary clash with Royal Ascot and lots to do with random, unplanned elections, just like in 1974.

In our own attempts at avoiding pomp and circumstance we’ve seen that no matter how hard you try, a bicycle helmet cannot ride a bike without the relevant person attached to it.

Anyway, with all this setting out agendas we thought it wise to do the same.

Wine School – Autumn Term

Wednesday 4th October till Wednesday 15th November 2017 at 8pm.

£150 per person.

Wednesday 25th October off for half term.

Wine Tastings

Thursday 5th October at 8pm – Wine & Cheese Tasting – £20

Thursday 2nd November at 8pm – Wine & Cheese Tasting – £20

Thursday 30th November at 8pm – Christmas Wine & Cheese Tasting – £20

Thursday 7th December at 8pm – Champagne & Sparkling Tasting – £30

Tasting This Weekend

We’ve dug out our old Linguaphone cassettes and, after laughing at Wayne’s accent, put them away again. That said, the wines this week will all be speaking French, even if Wayne isn’t!

The coin blanc will host Les Grands Presbytères Muscadet Sur Lie 2014 (£10.99). Winemaker Nelly Marzelleau’s first vintage was at the age of 18 and she’s definitely got the hang of it, as you’ll taste here. Wild yeast ferment, old vine grapes, and many months of ageing on the lees all combine rather nicely to give us a lovely crisp drinker.

A la derrière de porte rouge will be Cotes du Rhone Villages ‘Le Coteaux’ 2014 (£10.99), a deliciously brambly number that is very tasty with all manner of barbecued items.

Au milieu we’ll be sporting a delicious pale pink number that goes by the name of Chateau de l’Aumerade (£13.99 each, or £72 for 6), by a long shot our best-selling wine of the year.

We think all three would make a great partnership to a spot of Glastonbury watching on the TV. Wellies are, of course, optional.

Bon Weekend!

We Need To Talk About Sherry

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So here’s a question – what’s in a name?

Take the name Terry, for example.

In the worlds of media, entertainment, music, literature, chocolate and Archbishop’s Special Envoys, we’ve got Terry & June, Terry McCann, Terry Thomas, Terry Hall, Terry Pratchett, Terry’s Gilliam and Jones, Terry’s All Gold and Chocolate Orange, Terry Wogan, Terry Nutkins, Terry Waite, Terry O’Neill, Terry Christian and Teri Hatcher.  Hooray.

Whilst over in sport we’ve got Terry Butcher, John Terry, Ross Terry (who he?), Terry Griffiths and Terry Venables, to name but a few.  Many of them were household names for large parts of their careers but equally as many of them are now consigned to history.  I asked my son to name someone called Terry and he came back with Terrymasalata.  Thanks.

Conclusion: Terry’s not a fashionable name anymore but does that make it any less good?

How about we try Jerry/Gerry next?

Gerry Adams, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Gerry Anderson, Gerry Francis, Geri Halliwell, Gerry Rafferty for the G’s, whilst under the letter J we have Jerry Bruckheimer, Jerry Seinfeld, Jerry Springer Jerry can, Jerry Maguire, Jerry Rice, Tom & Jerry, Jerry Dammers, Jerry Garcia, Jerry Hall, and of course, Jerry Lee Lewis.  I didn’t ask my son this time but yet again a lot of old timers in there who don’t necessarily cross the younger generations path.

All very diverting but so what, I hear you say.

The other day we were ruminating on the perpetual failure of one of our favourite tipples, Sherry, to achieve everything it promises and step out of the fortified wine shadows into the limelight.  It’s a glorious drink, much beloved of the wine trade and their friends but it struggles to spread its appeal further.

Which got me to thinking, is the suffix ‘–erry’ to blame?  Does having an ‘erry’ in your name create a certain impression that perhaps relates to bygone times or naffness?  Blackberry, no longer the force in handsets that it used to be; cross channel ferry, now superseded by Eurostar; Mary Berry – exactly…

Let’s face it, how many famous people called Sherry can you name?  We thought we had one with Wimbledon Hockey star and Ed Sheeran girlfriend Cherry Seaborn but as you can see, she is actually called Cherry, so that doesn’t work; really the only famous Sherries are Pale Cream, Sweet and Harvey’s.

Anyway, our ruminating came to nothing, short of deciding that perhaps it could rebrand itself, losing the ‘–erry’ and becoming Sh-auvignon Blanc or Sh-rosé to improve sales, which was clearly not very helpful.

More helpful was Wayne’s idea to join in with Sherry Festival 2015 2016 2017 which has been going on for the last week or so and culminates this weekend.  His strategy was quite simple – put up a Sherry display in store, decorate the window with Sherry based memorabilia, wear a Sherry related polo-shirt and open lots of Sherry.  I like this man’s approach and that’s why he’s my business partner!

So, on show this weekend we will have:

Equipo Navazos Fino En Rama (37.5cl) – £10.99

Fernando de Castilla Classic Manzanilla (37.5cl) – £7.99

Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado (50cl) – £34.99

Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado (50cl) – £30.99

Fernando de Castilla Classic Oloroso (75cl) – £14.99

Cesar Florido Cruz del Mar Cream (37.5cl) – £8.99

Cesar Florido Moscatel Dorado (37.5cl) – £8.99

Pedro Ximenez Colosía (37.5cl) – £15.99

What a spread, I can’t wait!

Interestingly, whilst everyone claims to prefer the dry styles and be somewhat dismissive of the sweet styles, referencing old ladies and blue rinses usually, our best-selling pair are the Moscatel and the Cream!  Nowt so queer as folk, as Wayne might say.

Please come and join us any time today or tomorrow, see if you prefer the sweet or the dry and help us in our crusade to save Terry and Jerry and, above all, Sherry!!


The Perils Of Being Early, New Hall Bacchus and Powers Merlot

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Aaaaagh – the folly of writing the blog the evening before…. sometimes nefarious goings on in the darkest hours of the night can come along to make an absolute nonsense of what previously seemed half decent!

So, with time pressing hard, we have decided to plough ahead with what we wrote and be done with – the orginal email, written on Thursday, is below in normal font, our edits from today are in italics, let’s see how we get on…

Not wishing to get political but who saw that coming!

Blimey, that was more prescient than we intended. 

Moving swiftly on, in spite of all the Champagne corks popping last night, it would seem that the Champagne houses, particularly the biggest beasts such as Nicolas Feuillatte, are struggling a little.

They are the third largest champagne brand in the world, and reportedly last year sold 10.4 million bottles the world over, a drop in sales of 4%, or 400,000 bottles, on the previous year.  In money terms this was a loss of €13 million.  Now, apparently, this drop in sales was “solely” due to the “marked decline” in UK volume sales of Champagne – no mincing words there and one has to wonder where these sales have gone.  Talking to our chap from Thienot the other day, he too mentioned that the British market has become a harder nut to crack over the last few years, with sales growing very slowly and the bigger brands acting more aggressively.

Small growers haven’t reported similar declines, for example our favourite Moutard chaps produce somewhere in the region of 560,000 bottles per annum, perhaps it’s them who have taken the Feuillatte sales….

Happy with all of that – the facts haven’t changed since yesterday.

Or perhaps it’s Laura?

This Saturday is, according to our sources at Mumsnet (don’t ask…), WORLD GIN DAY.  Now in its 9th year it is a global celebration of all things Gin on the second Saturday of June.  I know, we’d never come across it before either, so thanks MN (see, we even have the lingo… what have we become).

Anyway, back to Saturday.  World Gin Day, yattedy yattedy ya.  A simple idea of getting people together all around the world with a legitimate excuse to drink some gin, whether it’s in a cocktail, G&T or neat.  Nice.

This all seems good but I have a feeling the wheels are about to come off…

And now for the bit that makes us seem clever-clever when actually we’re not.  Months ago we asked Laura from Little Bird, the gin of Peckham, to come in and do a tasting with us, and of course, you – what better way prepare for Saturday than to have some rehearsal gins on Friday evening.  Clever-clever, if we’d had any inkling of the existence of World Gin Day before 5pm on Thursday…

Laura will be here from about 5.30pm for a couple of hours and is under strict instruction to parry any political comments or questions with the words ‘try some of my Gin, it’s delicious!’

Laura has, unfortunately ,had to duck out of tonight’s tasting, citing personal circumstances but promises to be here in two weeks time, Friday 23rd June – don’t worry, we’ll remind you!  Apologies all round….

Oh, and to explain the slightly obtuse ‘Or perhaps it’s Laura?’ comment above: it would seem that whilst a glass of Champagne used to be the aperitif of choice in many restaurants, bars and hotels in the past, it is now more common for a cocktail or spirit based drink to be the choice before a meal, and Gin is leading this charge.

So, yes, it’s Laura.

Yep, that works still.

eto update

If you signed up to the eto newsletter beforehand you will already know that the chaps went live at midday on Tuesday.  You may not know though that they fulfilled their funding needs within 32 hours!  Astonishing.  You can still sign up and join in the fun and the really great news is that the project will go ahead.  Pob lwc!

Lots of sport this weekend, so be warned that Alex might be distractedly trying to coordinate Rugby/Cricket/Tennis watching whilst ensuring Wayne doesn’t get distracted by the Criterium du Dauphiné – who will win?!

So, Gin is over the yardarm at 5.30pm, Alex and I will be at the top of the queue… see you there!


Wayne & Alex

Still good news about eto and we can re-use this last gin bit in two weeks time.

However, this does leave us short on what to taste this weekend.  We, of course, will have our usual range of gins open should you still want to rehearse in time for tomorrow. 

On the wine side, as we missed the whole of English Wine Week in the fog of half term, we have decided to open New Hall Bacchus Reserve 2015 (£12.99) which comes from East Anglia, the posh name for Essex it would seem.  Anyway we find the gentle elderflower notes really quite more-ish so don’t be backwards in coming forwards.

For the red, for no reason better qualified than we quite fancied it, we have Powers Merlot 2012 (£13.99) which has voyaged all the way from Columbia Valley, Washington and is a constant reminder of how polished Merlot can be!

Finally, all next week we will be tasting and talking about Sherry here in the shop, as part of the Sherry Wines Sherry Festival 2017 – come and grab a copita!

That’s it from us – we’ll be opening later on Tuesday just so you know, we’re in town for a tasting over lunchtime but we’ll be back by four.

Edit done.  Press send.