Fellow Wine Lovers,
Horses sweat, men perspire, but women merely glow.
A phrase that encapsulates almost everything that has and will happen this week.
Tomorrow is the first date of the ‘Liverpool Season’, when the great and the good of Merseyside, the footballers, the popstars and the scallies, will descend on Aintree to revel in the sunshine, sporting high heels, fake tan, fascinators and bright white smiles – and that’s just Alan Hansen…
But has the Grand National lost its pizzazz? We’re not talking about fences getting smaller or ditches shorter (which may, or may not, increase the chances of all horses getting around) but actually about the sponsor. Below is the list of companies who have seen the National as a good reason to shell out a few quid for some good promotion and telly-time:
- From 1984 to 1991 Canadian spirits monolith and Oddbins owner, Seagram Distillers sponsored the event – plenty of top notch drinks available
- From 1991 to 2004 Seagram handed sponsorship over to the French cognac producer Martell, one of their subsidiaries, which meant that quality drinking was still on the agenda
- John Smith’s took over for the period from 2005 to 2013 – a slightly underwhelming bitter brand but at least you could still get a pint
- Crabbie’s became the main sponsor of the festival in 2014 until 2016 – Crabbie’s are perhaps most famous for their very sweet, alcoholic ginger beer – more a drink for brown paper bags and students but at least some sort of refreshment was available
- And now, for 2017? Randox Health. Doesn’t sound terribly boozy to us and in fact is a “global innovative healthcare company” that provides health checks from its clinics in Northern Ireland and London. They don’t produce refreshments…
So, if you end up watching the race at 1715 tomorrow, raise a glass of something please and drink to bygone sponsors and the times a-changin’.
If you want tips for the race, here goes: my wife reckons that any horse with green in the name (in any language), or silks that have green in them, or a jockey called Verdant Evergreen, or a horse that has ever stood on anything green stands a decent each way chance – any bets on her favourite colour? My daughter, logically, will go for the one with the longest legs, which involves some serious research and understanding of ‘hands’ which is beyond both of us really but, as she is the most successful punter in the house, we do pay her some heed. My son takes the long game and is buttering us all up, with a view that if any of us win he potentially stands to benefit. Wayne has a system – ask no more. For me, Saphir du Rheu or The Young Master but I can’t tell you why because I don’t know why the pin ended up there!
So that’s the bit about horses sweating and ladies glowing done – what about men perspiring?
Today, we took delivery of the 2016 vintage of Chateau de L’Aumerade Cuvee Marie Christine Provence Rose. It was a pallet, 80 cases, 480 bottles – however you want to put it, it was hot work shifting a large part of it downstairs and by the end of it we were perhaps perspiring a little but we were not sweating and in fact we were probably glowing pink. Anyway the important news, of course, is that it’s here. If it now rains nonstop until October you can lay the blame squarely at our door but we would ask that you still join in and pretend it’s summer and drink pink. It won’t persistently rain until October, of course; in fact, if it only rains between midnight and 4am for the next 5 months that would be the perfect storm….
Anyway, back to the wine. We tasted this about a month ago, alongside Miraval and Whispering Angel. For the second year running we were underwhelmed by the Angel; the Miraval is lighter and drier than the previous vintage and almost defines elegance; yet again the Aumerade, with a bit more fruit than the other two, was our absolute go-to summer Rosé – you will not be disappointed!
Due to the wind being in the right direction and our razor sharp negotiating skills of course, we will be offering the same price as last year and the year before – £13.99 per bottle or 6 bottles for £72 -for those of you with an eye to many evenings of outside drinking. So if we do the maths, the first 80 customers will get their 6 box for £72 and we’ll have to order another pallet on Monday – form an orderly queue!
If you’re not fancying the pink stuff yet then perhaps we can entice you with the wines we have on tasting this weekend.
Ciù Ciù Merlettaie Pecorino 2015, Offida, Italy – £13.99
This wine is not made of cheese, Pecorino is a grape variety originally from the Abruzzo. A pleasant floral nose with clean, pleasing and refined aromas of banana, broom, apple, hazelnut and plum followed by a hint of vanilla. The mouth follows the nose, a slightly round attack however balanced, agreeable crispness, good body and intense flavours. We first had Pecorino in 2005 when it first came into the market over here and frankly are quite surprised it hasn’t become a chart topper, however that does mean there’s more for us and our friends!
Le Malbec 2014, Pays d’Oc, France – £11.99
We’ve been showing a lot of Argentine Malbec of late so we thought we’d return to the motherland for a change. Malbec came from France and thrives in the Loire, Cahors, is being replanted in Bordeaux and further south. This is from the Languedoc and has been a persistent favourite with many of our customers. Not as punchy as those from Argentina or indeed Cahors, this has softer more perfumed fruit and is dangerously drinkable but not in a Crabbie’s way….
In other news – we now have very funky MINI bottles of Prosecco for £4 a hit – they’re in the beer fridge because that’s where they felt most comfortable. Pocketsize, even for the smallest of pockets.
It’s Easter weekend next weekend and as with the rest of the world, we’ll be keeping some pretty funny hours:
Thursday 13th April – NORMAL HOURS – 11am – 8pm
Friday 14th April – ODD HOURS – 11am – 4pm
Saturday 15th April – ODD HOURS – 1oam – 3pm
Sunday 16th April – Tuesday 18th April – NO HOURS – CLOSED
Wednesday 19th April – NORMAL HOURS – 11am – 8pm
And that’s all folks, come and buy a little Prosecco bottle and sup it whilst queuing for your 6 box of Rosé!!