Stonehenge Mystery Sorted!

July 31st, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As bowling alleys stay shut and blackjack is off the table, it seems to me that Stonehenge has got it all going on again lately. No sooner had we joked about the best photos of it being from the traffic jam on the A303, than we received one! Fast forward a few days and the entire archaeological community is agog with the discovery, finally, that the standy uppy stones (Sarsens, but not as in vinegar!) come from just up the road in West Woods about 15 miles away. Now call me old fashioned but I suspect that definitely rules out any chance of a by-pass!

Trumpolina seems to have noticed that he isn’t doing as well as he’d like in the upcoming Presidential elections. He has suggested that the election is delayed because of the enormous risk of voter fraud in postal ballots that will be held in some states. I believe the words used were in fact: “most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history”. There is no evidence to back this up over the many elections held thus far in the USA. It made us wonder if he has a new plan but more than anything it made us think of the term brass necked!

Big news of the week though is actually relevant to all of us in this Weekly Wine bubble. As you know, we’ve been using the Volvo’s impressive turning circle to good effect the last few months. Delivering wine and chatting on distanced doorsteps we have found that many of you have been concerned that you’ve been drinking rather more than usual. We tried to offer some comfort by suggesting that it was the one stop recycling that was the issue.

Well the data is in folks, and frankly, it looks like you’ve not been pulling your weight! We’ve consumed, as a nation, 1.3 billion litres of alcohol, DOWN from 2 billion litres for the same period last year. I’ll pass you over to Gemma Cooper senior client business partner at Nielson for comment: “While there is a perception that lockdown has been a boozy one and that we’re consuming more alcohol than normal, this is far from the case. Without being able to go out or socialise with others during the peak of the pandemic, and no access to dine-in pubs or restaurants, we have seen a natural decline in alcohol consumption even as at-home drinking increased.”  So there, you’ve all been good really!

On the sports front the Saudi-led consortium has declined to buy Newcastle from Mike Ashley. Surely, I can’t be the only one who thought of the News of the World’s Fake Sheik during the entire business? Fresh from defeating the West Indies in the test series, England also beat Ireland by 6 wickets in the One Day International. In proper sports news, bike racing has started again, with Remco Evenepoel in the lead at the Vuelta Burgos. The British Grand Prix is this weekend too.

Now we’ll continue our virtual holiday by wine, with this week’s Spaniard now in quarantine we find ourselves alighting in Crete. It is a fabulous place to holiday, with mountains, beaches, ancient ruins, great food and some fabulous wines.

Domaine Lyrarakis Voila Assyrtiko 2019, Crete, Greece – £14.99

Located in the mountainous commune of Alagni, Domaine Lyrarakis stays true to local winemaking traditions.  The domaine focuses on indigenous varieties, taking them from obscurity and driving them in a more modern direction, while still retaining a clear sense of place.  Its style focuses on pure varietal character, precision and supple texture.  The Assyrtiko is an exemplary wine, grown at 580 metres’ altitude in the Voila vineyard.  There is a definite floral character, refreshing minerality and chalky texture to this delicious wine that marries well with all forms of seafood, as you might expect from a producer surrounded by sea!

Enjoy the sunshine!

Swimmers, Mask and a Corkscrew

July 24th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I found the dictionary was left open after last week’s email. Someone had clearly been leafing through though, as it was open at Tin Pot Dictator, “An autocratic ruler with little political credibility and delusions of grandeur”, since you ask.

That got us thinking, and chatting in fact, about the parallels between decades in different countries and poor leadership. Before you could say ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ the army had been called in!  If you’d like to play this game at home, read some news reports of Tiananmen Square from 1989 and compare them to reports from Portland Oregon this week!

In domestic politics we finally had the long delayed report into Russian election meddling. It seems it found no evidence of meddling, mostly because it didn’t look for any. I can’t be the only person who imagined a Police Squad/Naked Gun style script to this? A team of MI5 agents with magnifying glasses walking through several offices staffed with Rosa Klebb look-a-likes and a sign that says “Nothing to see here!” “Здесь нечего смотреть”.

Fed up with Nicola Sturgeon making him look foolish from afar, Boris this week visited Scotland so he could experience it at closer hand. He’s visited Orkney to announce some funding for the islands, but we all know he was really there to stock up on hand dived scallops, Bere Bannocks, and a couple of North Ronaldsay sheep to be delivered to Chequers for the barbecue. Perhaps even a case of each of the local whiskies for the bar at Downing Street.

Whilst he was busy with his shopping, Nicola Sturgeon suggested that the prime minister’s visit to Scotland “highlighted the argument for Scottish independence”. I suspect a chicken crossing the road would have the same significance if you’re in charge of the SNP!

So, normally this time of the year we’d be talking about the big getaway, making jokes about how the best place to photograph Stonehenge is from the traffic jam on the A303. This year we’re not sure, are you all going away? We don’t know whether to have the Southwold shuffle chat, the wrong way up jam and cream tea chat, or a pint at The Ship at Mousehole anecdote?  Perhaps a staycation has us all on the common outside the Hand in Hand playing crab football, or booking a shed at the Pig & Whistle?

Perhaps we’ll have a virtual holiday by wine. This week we’ll start in Provence where the sun shines, the cycling is fabulous and the wine cold and pale pink!

Chateau de l’Aumerade ‘Cuvée Marie Christine’ (£14.99) Cru Classé, Côtes de Provence has been owned by the Fabre family since 1932. Based in Perrefeu-du-Var, they were one of the first estates to bottle their own wine and champion the regions wines. They overhauled the chateau and were awarded the Cru Classé in 1955 and are to this day one of only 18 estates to be able to claim this revered quality status. The wine itself is our bestselling wine most years and is a crisp, dry and elegant blend of Cinsault (35%), Grenache (35%) and Syrah (30%). Very pale in the glass with notes of pink grapefruit and a palate that seems to blend delicate white peach flesh with dried raspberry and a long crisp finish.

So, wherever you’re planning to be for the next few weeks don’t forget to pack a corkscrew and some suntan lotion.

Oh and your swimmers, maybe a sunhat, a mask and perhaps your wellies!

Same Hymn Sheet

July 17th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Another week, filled with its own challenges like many that we have experienced recently.  Events of the week have resulted in dictionary consultations on more than one occasion, just to check that we hadn’t been misled at school.  Some examples are:  

Joined up thinking – thinking about a complicated problem in an intelligent way that includes all the important facts.

To think outside the box – to explore ideas that are creative and unusual and that are not limited or controlled by rules or tradition.

Blue-sky thinking – the activity of trying to find completely new ideas.

Thinking before you speak – an important skill to master for all kinds of situations to improve your relationships with other people and enable you to express yourself in a more effective way and gain trust.

To sing from the same hymn sheet – To have the same understanding of something as someone else; to say the same things about something as other people, especially in public.

Truth – conformity to fact or actuality; a statement proven to be or accepted as true; sincerity; integrity.

Can’t remember what prompted our consultations exactly but I’m sure the names Johnson, Gove and Hancock were nearby – which obviously then led us to look up the meanings of these surnames, since we had the book open. 

Gove apparently relates to one who worked with metals, a smith; or someone who came from Govan, in Lanarkshire; whilst the meaning of Hancock is someone who owns a farm, apparently.

Johnson on the other hand, only has one definition and it would be too vulgar to repeat it here!

But what do we have to worry about – any random unexplained act that Boris gets up to will always get trumped by his pal Donald across the pond.  I imagine you’ve already seen the image but if not you should find the Instagram of the Presidential QVC-like debut, promoting Goya products.  Looking like the least trustworthy 70’s car salesman/newsreader he posed in the Oval Office surrounded by Goya Red Kidney Beans, White Hominy Corn, Goya Adobo All-Purpose Seasoning, Goya Coconut Milk, and Goya Chocolate Wafers.  All this a day after Ivanka posed with Goya beans on twitter – bonkers.

Yes, Donald Trump is still the President of the United States and has Sole Authority and when you’ve got that power you don’t have to explain yourself to anybody…

We are then reminded about how great the internet, the world wide web and social media are in a variety of different headlines:

Russian cyber spies attempting to steal vaccine research from Britain, US and Canada (Sky)

‘Almost certain’ Russians sought to interfere in 2019 UK election – Raab (BBC)

Twitter hack: Bitcoin scam targets Elon Musk, Joe Biden and Barack Obama (The Telegraph)

Blimey, it’s a rollercoaster.

FACEMASKS

I think I have now prevaricated enough and need to return to where we started, with the varied definitions of truth and hymn sheets.  Last Sunday, for one of the first if not the first time, Mr Johnson was seen in shop wearing a facemask.  Quite why England’s second most famous Covid victim (yep, Dominic still tops it here) saw fit to suddenly wear a mask seemed a bit odd to us.  Had he read some new research?  Unlikely, given his reputation for reading.  Had he got the virus again?  Surely not because if so he would have been at home, right.  Had he got a lovebite?  Hard to rule out.  Had enough pressure come to bear that he now had decided the time to wear masks in shops was nigh?  Hmmm….

And by the end of Monday, we knew the answer.  As of next Friday it will be compulsory to wear masks in all shops – however don’t feel like you have to wait until then, we might as well all start getting used to it because it’s going to be months and months before this decision gets reversed and we really don’t want you to stop coming to see us – unless of course you’re a shoplifter!

Otherwise, nothing much else to report – we’re open 4pm-7pm during the week, 2pm – 6pm on Saturday and closed on Sunday.  We are still doing plenty of deliveries so please, if your mask is in the wash and you’re desperate for wine don’t hesitate to get in touch!

And that, my friends, is that.  Another week done, it’s Friday night, fizz night and hopefully we’re all singing from the same hymn sheet!

¡Hasta luego!

Camping, Fanfare, Time For a Beer!

July 10th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I write to you today from the ‘sunny’ south coast where I am spending a couple of days under the cover of canvas, listening to the gentle pitter patter of drizzle on the flysheet and wondering when is a reasonable time to open a beer.  It’s our annual trip, a chance to catch up with each other after a hectic school year, to see what we’ve all been up to and to spend some proper family time, without TikTok.  Except there has been no dearth of family time over the last few months, I have never been so excruciatingly up-to-date with my teenage children and their idiosyncracies whilst my wife has started cycling into work even though she can more fruitfully work from home, just to get away… 

But we’re out of London and actually, that is the most important thing.  Leaving the environs of SW19 and venturing further than Leatherhead was enough of an adventure; for those of you who are yet to embark on such an odyssey, sadly the M25 is still there.  The middle lane is still the place to travel at 50mph; the inside lane is, I believe, there for purely decorative purposes and doesn’t carry traffic, whilst the outside lane is for nutters who want to travel at 70 and enrage the middle lane tut-tutters.

Anyway we’ve got here, tent up, wood chopped, dog tethered, 2 arguments down and already we’re having fun – is now not a reasonable time to open a beer?

Meanwhile, back in the smoke, it’s been quite a week.  Well actually, not really different from any other of late.  Test cricket came back and with it the rain clouds on day one followed by a total collapse on day two – have we really been missing this?  The Ryder Cup has been postponed and the Epsom Derby managed to sneak under our binoculars last Saturday.  Rosé sales are still buoyant, barbecuing is still a thing and the Volvo is still circling the grid on a regular basis.

And, with much fanfare, pubs opened last weekend, although actually a lot of them didn’t.  Likewise restaurants but not all of them.  We were intrigued to watch our Chancellor dishing out meals at Wagamama’s on Wednesday, without following face mask guidelines – a very Cummingsian/Trumpian approach.  Indeed, none of the staff had any masks on so, certainly not for the first time in recent history, we’re all a bit confused as to what is correct form.

This all followed Rishi’s announcement of more money from his magic money tree.  I can only hope that the nurse who asked Theresa May for a pay-rise 3 years ago and was told there was no such tree has written a letter to Mr Sunak….

The most entertainment has probably come from across the pond as Mr K West reiterates his intention to run for President of the United States.  His party will be called The Birthday Party and he would be running against his pal Donny T but what the hell, why not get yourself on the front page of all the papers once again, tantalise us with the jaw-dropping prospect of a Kardashian FLOTUS, even if it is all just a clever joke

In other, definitely unrelated news, ‘Wash Us in the Blood’, the new single from Kanye was ‘dropped’ last week.

And finally we can all get our nails done and our eyebrows threaded.  And then go to the gym and then for a swim, as long as we don’t do the butterfly, whilst showing off our freshly inked body art.  The latest round of venues allowed to re-open has been announced, and hooray for that, when you read on the other page that Boots and John Lewis are the latest to announce sweeping job cuts.  We find Boot’s a bit of an odd one, being that they were allowed to be open – whilst not functioning at full capacity, agreed – it just goes to show how much of their turnover derives from all those sandwiches and bottles of water they sell.

That’s it from us – the shop is open from 4-7pm today and from 2-5pm tomorrow, to give Wayne enough chance to do all those deliveries you’ll be asking for – sunshine is on its way back and we have plenty of Rosé on board, just so you know!

Surely now it’s a reasonable time to open a beer?

Flying, McFly and Flight Risk

July 3rd, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So there has been quite a lot going on this past week. The British police have hacked into ‘Encrochat’, an encrypted phone network used solely by the criminal fraternity. As a result some £54million, 77 firearms, a couple of tons of drugs, high-end cars and luxury watches have all  been seized as well as more than seven hundred crims nicked. A result for the Police and a bunch of Mr & Mrs Big’s cursing using Huawei for their private network!

China has abandoned any pretence of being an honourable state actor on the International stage, threatening imprisonment for any Hong Kong citizen caught implying less than I’ve just written.  As a direct result, the US has applied sanctions and the UK has honoured plans to allow a citizenship pathway for nearly 2.9 million Hong Kong Citizens.

Whilst we’re busy trashing democracy, it could be mentioned that a poll that allows Putin to stay in power until 2036 “may have been rigged” but we’re not sure anyone would hold the front page for that one.

It looks like we may well be able to go on holiday as the Government looks set to relax travel restrictions to around 90 countries. All I would say is check the regulations for your destination, as many countries have their own separate regulations. You can fly to Australia but there’s no guarantee you’ll get in, and we’re not sure if Hong Kong or Russia are on the list but, as always, you pays your money and makes your choice!

News also reaches us that the FBI has arrested Ghislaine Maxwell in charges relating to Epstein. Despite offering three times Prince Andrew still hasn’t made it to a New York Pizza joint, so we’re certain that the sweat on his brow is from a Click and Collect Romano Diavolo from that lovely place in Woking, and no other reason whatsoever.

On the sport front both Arsenal and West Ham have finally found teams they can beat, West Ham’s was the more surprising. Elsewhere, Wimbledon isn’t happening but on TV last night we witnessed a rather young looking Pete Sampras and we can definitely recommend strawberries lately.

Big news on the music front this week, McFly have just signed their first record deal in ten years.  We were certainly surprised to find it was 7 years ago that ‘Love Is On The Radio’ was released but it wasn’t us that tweeted ‘McFly have just saved 2020’ – we never go in for such hyperbole.  In other music news, The Rolling Stones and Panic! At The Disco have both told Trump to stop using their music at his rallies. A happy 75th birthday to Debbie Harry, seems a long time since Sunday Girl!

In wine news, fraud is being investigated in both Spain and Italy. In Spain it seems unscrupulous large wineries in Valdepeñas may have been selling millions of litres of wine labelled as higher quality and more aged than it might have been. Whilst in Italy bulk wine has been refilled into original bottles collected from restaurants and then sold in online auctions. The Italian one sounds rather like a film we saw on Netflix! Neither are particularly new frauds but then neither is a pyramid scheme I guess.

According to National Geographic rosé is the thing we should all be drinking and judging by the boxes we’ve been delivering, you lovely lot could have been their case study!

Talking of delivering we still are, so if you’d like us to bring wine to you email us: shop@parkvintners.co.uk and we’ll do the honours. If you prefer to come to the shop we’re open 4-7pm Monday to Friday and 2-5pm on Saturday.

Aesop, Wine and Glasto

June 26th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

That’s another week under our belts, time for a glass of wine, need I say more?

Apparently the norm is that yes, I do need to say more before I get to have a drink, so here we go…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Once upon a time, back in the days when Wayne was in 6th Form, things were different.  One difference was that it was a lot sunnier then, the grass was greener and candle-wicking was a lucrative and sensible career choice.  Another true fact in this delightfully fact-free narration is that every man was allowed to take more than one wife.  One ambitious, middle-aged bachelor showed such ambition by marrying two ladies of differing ages.  The younger wife was eager that her husband appeared as youthful and exuberant as herself whilst the older was more anxious that her husband should show more gravitas and maturity.

So it came to pass that, to achieve their contradictory goals, the young one grabbed every opportunity to pull out her husband’s grey hairs whilst the old one was as industrious in plucking out every black hair she could find.

And the husband, well he just loved all the attention and the head massages – until the fateful morning that he discovered that he had not a hair left on his head!

So, why you might ask, does Aesop get a clumsy Park Vintners makeover today?  Well, the moral of the tale is that no matter how good or innocent your intentions may be, you cannot please all people, all of the time and, in fact, the harder you try the more likely you are to end up pleasing no-one at all.

Which seems to be pretty much where the world is right now.

Street’s like a jungle, so call the police, following the herd, down to Durdle Door

Too much lockdown, not enough lockdown; too close, too far; swimming, gyming, no swimming or gyming; daily update, no daily update; take a flight, never fly again; there are strong arguments for all of these options and, in a world where everybody is now able to criticise everybody else’s choices behind the screens of social media, everyone is right, no matter how unqualified they are to analyse the data.

But the temperature is rising and things are starting to fray around the edges if Brixton and the south coast are anything to go by – the decision to give herd immunity a go has been made unilaterally by the half million people travelling to Bournemouth yesterday – the good news is that we only need 71 more days like this and we could be getting close to the 36 million that would kickstart a vaccine-free immunity.  September 5th, that’s how long the heatwave will have to last we’re told….

Appetite for Destruction

And here we return to Aesop.  No matter your opinion about the current leadership of the country and their assorted SPAD’s, any announcement made regarding lockdown and its sundry parts was going to upset as many people as it pleased and the bearer of the news was still going to be regarded as a bit of a Bojo.  However, the decision has been made, we will see pubs and restaurants opening; we will see, have perhaps already seen, a reduction in social distance; we can go on holiday in the UK, potentially even fly to Europe too; we can get a haircut too, if we want.  If we want.  No-one is making you go to the pub or sit on the beach in Spain and if you don’t want to then just don’t.  And if you do want to, then do.

Meanwhile, back in the city

I feel we need to change the subject.  As pointed out last week, the return of football hasn’t necessarily scratched that itch, with Liverpool’s tedious trundle to the title confirming that this season will definitely be the one that has an * attached to it.  Golf and Tennis have had their Covid moments and more people have gone on twitter to say ‘I told you so’.  Rebekah Vardy is taking Coleen Rooney to court, which is hilarious on so many levels and would be more funny to more people if they actually knew, or cared, who these ladies are.

And now, over to Worthy Farm

50th anniversary of Glastonbury this weekend and for those of us who are more used to watching from their Chesterfield than a real field, then this should be a cracker of a weekend.  Hard to suggest where to start, loads on iplayer to watch and plenty of reminiscing to be done, so grab a glass, some falafel and enjoy the spectacle!

That’s it from us really – as mentioned we are still very busy doing deliveries and very happy to continue driving around but should you wish to come and have a browse then we are open from 4pm-7pm Monday to Friday and 2pm-5pm on Saturday.

Can I have my glass of wine now, please?

What have you learnt

June 19th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

What did we learn this week? Well, it seems a number of you have missed us, we opened the door at 4pm on Tuesday and were hard at it all the way to closing at 7pm. Yes, you read that correctly, we have opened the shop again. Rest assured we’ll be continuing with the delivery service but for those of you who prefer to have a chat at our place we’re open Mon-Fri 4-7pm and Saturday 2-5pm. We have sanitiser that we’d like you to use when you arrive and have space for two of you at a time. This will be reviewed in line with Government guidance, or if Marcus Rashford gets involved.

We learnt that our nation’s representations abroad will appear in a very different way in the future, with the announcement that Department for International Development is to be merged with/into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. I don’t know about you but we find all this back of the fag packet governing slightly alarming.

We’ve learnt that we’re down to Level 3 which will involve a gradual easing of restrictions. We’ll all have to keep washing our hands though, there’s still something unpleasant lurking in the corners. We might be able to go for a swim in the Lido soon, or even get a haircut!

As we bid adieu to Dame Vera Lynn we learned that in 1985 two pounds fifty pence would have bought you entry to a concert at the Crystal Palace Bowl. This anti-heroin concert featured Hawkwind, Lemmy from Motorhead, and Dame Vera Lynn! So many things I feel I missed out on in the 80’s!

We learnt that many, many more companies than we imagined have historical links to slavery even, it would appear, The Guardian, which must be a little uncomfortable for them. Any time traveller will tell you that history cannot be tinkered with, you just need to be sure to learn from it.

On the sport front, our first surprise was learning that Premiership football without crowds is just as dull and boring as its German equivalent proved to be several weeks ago. We followed that up with the shocking discovery that cyclists who plan to race in the Tour de France at the end of August have started ramping up their training. Surely the headline writer didn’t think that they just set the alarm a bit earlier on the first day! We also learnt that if you have some spare cash floating about there are a couple of Formula 1 teams on the market – if you do take the plunge, don’t have Paddy McGuiness as a driver!

So that’s our home-schooling for the week covered, what have you all been up to? Seems Dominic Raab has been misreading Game of Thrones and the Downing Street Jag driver has signed up for some lessons with BSM.

On the wine front, it does appear that rosé season is gaining some steam but we thought we’d mention that the Desjacques Sauvignon Blanc has finally landed, dragging on its coattails a fresh stock of the wonderful Cremant de Loire Rosé.

I think that’s it from us this week, do pop in and see us Mon-Fri 4-7pm and Sat 2-5pm, we will review hours as we move forward.

Prefer us to deliver? As before, send us an email to shop@parkvintners.co.uk with an idea of what you’d like and a budget and we’ll bring a box to your doorstep!

Bubbles

June 12th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So, what have you got planned for the weekend?  If like many of us you persuaded your parents last night that a trial separation was worth a pop, you’ve now got your Mum living in your spare bedroom and as a side effect can now go and visit your Dad at his house because, you know, he’s on his own.  Your Dad thinks this new found freedom is amazing, your Mum is delighted to be able to spend more time with the grandchildren whilst you, you’ve never been keener to get back to the office.  Granny can now take two of the kids to the zoo, via the bookies, whilst your eldest is still going to school, finishing up year 6 two metres away from everyone else and wondering why she’s not at Whipsnade…

But of course, none of this is true because we can’t do any of this yet.  Rather than implementing something overnight, with the exception of lockdown, every new ‘relaxation’ or ‘guideline’ has a spurious start date in a spurious attempt to show us who’s in charge.  Support bubbles can start from tomorrow – why not yesterday?  Facemasks on public transport from next Monday, decided on the 4th June – why the wait?  Dentists went back to work last week, yet opticians and hairdressers are still shut?  Quarantine when arriving from abroad?  It’s all about control of course, seemingly less about that much vaunted common sense.

And we need to get the pubs open, if not for ourselves, then at least for our kids.  A reported 82% drop in beer sales during the coronavirus crisis has pushed a lot of breweries close to the wall and has, as an unforeseen consequence, impacted Marmite production.  No beer being brewed, no brewers yeast, no Marmite.  So, let’s get back in the pub and keep the breakfast soldiers marching!

And we need to get the pubs open because the football’s coming back.  Fresh from their lockdown indiscretions, the Premiership’s finest start back in their day jobs next Wednesday for a helter skelter ride until 26th July – 92 games in 40 days, it’s like the baseball but without the knickerbockers!  Elsewhere, in athletics, we learn that the 2022 Commonwealth Games which is taking place in Birmingham will now start 24 hours later than scheduled, due to coronavirus.  Well, that’s just thrown all my plans for 2022 into total disarray!

Wine meanwhile persists within its own bubble.  And within that bubble even, there exists a bubble with even more rarefied air and that is the bubble containing the Bordeaux En Primeur campaign. 

Against various trade rumblings that the campaign would be better served by being suspended this year, that in fact it was a bit tasteless even, a number of houses have released their wines onto the market at prices 15-30% less than the 2018 vintage.  2019 looks to be a decent vintage too, not at the level of 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015 or 2016 but decent nonetheless.  It was a hot vintage, lots of concentration and power potentially but with small yields – if you fancy some claret at a better price than recent year then go for it but don’t lose too much sleep if you decide to give it a miss – after all, as discussed earlier, there’s beer to be drunk!

Away from wine, what about Gin?  Well, for those of you who don’t already know, this Saturday is World Gin Day – I think you know what to do.  It’s also Sewing Machine Day, World Softball Day and International Axe Throwing Day – I think you know what not to do!

So what else to report?  The shop is still not open, despite many knocks on the door followed by queries such as “I saw the closed sign but I was just wondering if you were open?”  I know, never a dull moment round here!  Anyway, yes, we’re not open yet but we very nearly are, next week sometime will most likely see us dip our toes in the pond to see what bites and from there we will take every day as it comes – we won’t be making an announcement, we’ll just open the door very, very, slowly….

So keep placing your orders, we’ve got wine galore, we’ve got beer, we’ve got Gin and its highly spirited colleagues and we’ve got Champagne for those fizz Friday moments too.  If you fancy something for this weekend, fire off a quick response to this email and we’ll get it all delivered by our loyal liveried coachman, Mr Blomfield.

Enjoy your bubbles this weekend, in all senses of the word!

Space, Thunderbirds and Horses

June 5th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

How is the gardening going? Had any ripe strawberries yet? Our agapanthus look like they’ll soon be in flower and we’ve already used more charcoal than last year!

This week, as with so many lately, we’ve looked back for some inspiration. Working on the basis that if it’s ok for Lineker and Shearer its ok for Blomfield and Roberts, we note that we might normally mention the likelihood of traffic and the thunder of horses hooves around Epsom with the arrival of The Derby. The race has been run at Epsom every year since 1780 with the exception of the two World Wars, when Newmarket muscled in on the action. This year we will discuss it later on, as the race will be held behind closed doors on July 4th – our tips over the years should certainly have been kept behind closed doors!

In 2016, the Euros were about to start in Paris, Rio’s Velodrome had no track and Djokovic had played every day this week in the French Open. In 2018, we took to some very unscientific extrapolation to prove that a glass of wine a day would lead to a return to greatness of British Industry. Clearly, we have just included this item as a shameless self-plug to be invited as experts to the relevant government committee, when the time comes!

There is definitely a feeling of going round and round on the news stories though. As figures were released showing unemployment heading for similar numbers to the 1980’s, three former chancellors come out and say “Unemployment is heading for numbers seen in the 1980’s”. I’m sure we don’t need to point out to you dear reader, only one of these predictors of the screamingly obvious was even an MP in the 1980’s. But if Groundhog Day really needed any proving beyond a picture of Bill Murray, then reading this headline on the BBC website possibly nails it “Ed Davey launches bid for Lib Dem leadership”. To be fair to the man, he’s definitely played the long game! If the question came up in this evenings zoom quiz to name all eleven LibDem MPs, who would get to even four? We probably have better chance of naming the eight James Bond actors.

Whilst we’re on the subject of fictional characters, were any of you a fan of Thunderbirds, Joe 90 or Stingray? There is an absolute treat for you on YouTube, newly filmed too. Check out Nebula 75, should you find the time.

How we got from Lineker to space in such a short email I’ll never know? We’ll push on nonetheless. When we all watched the Space X Dragon dock with the International Space Station orbiting the earth did we reflect do you think? Wayne reflected upon being woken by his dad to see a man step on the moon, whilst Alex reflected upon how small the world is. Do you think Dominic Cummings reflected upon the fact that the International Space Station orbiting at 220 miles above the earth is closer to his house than Durham?

Whilst we seem to have alighted on adventures in driving, news reaches us that F1 is to start up again, beginning in Austria with races on 5th  & 12th July, a quick spin around the Hungaroring on 19th July before a double header at Silverstone on the 2nd and 9th August.  All these races will be behind closed doors, so I wonder who’ll get sprayed with the bubbly at the end.

Now that we’ve arrived at fast cars and closed doors, it seems a suitable time for a reminder that we are still operating as a closed shop (not in a union sense!). Send us an email to shop@parkvintners.co.uk with an idea of what you’d like, and your budget and we’ll get back to you with some suitable suggestions, pop them in the Volvo and bring them to your doorstep. 

We have been pushing on getting the shop more welcoming to visitors but aren’t quite ready yet. We’re still not quite sure how keen we are to open if we’re honest, we know some of you would like us to, and some not. The problem for us is that we have been operating as a self-contained bubble but once we open again that bubble is burst and then if one of us becomes ill, we will have to close completely for two weeks. Currently, we envisage opening initially for limited hours, with only two customers in the shop at any time. We would like everybody to use of hand sanitiser on entry to the shop to ensure everyone has as safe a shopping experience as possible. If you have any feedback, advice, or thoughts on this we would love to hear from you.

Well that’s probably enough from us for this week, we’ve discussed horse races and car races but don’t really feel qualified to comment on this week’s other race news except to say there is but one.

We Need To Talk About Blush

May 22nd, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Sometimes we feel the need to huff, puff and shake our head a little at the world. Yesterday was one of those days, as we read that Liberal Democrat peer Lord Fox was in a spot of bother. It seems that he was busted for furloughing himself from his consultancy business, Vulpes Advisory, whilst at the same time claiming his daily £162 allowance for working from home as a peer in the House of Lords! He didn’t become a member of the Economic Affairs Committee for nothing, eh? He now intends to repay the full amount as soon as possible.

McDonalds opened a number of their drive-thrus this week and, by all accounts, the queues were visible from the International Space Station. Those workouts with Joe Wicks seem distant now as half the nation turns into the plant from Little Shop of Horrors!

Elsewhere, Woolacombe in Devon ground to a halt in absolute gridlock as numpties from all around the country parked on double yellow lines whilst they had a stroll on the beach and a ‘99’. If only somebody had looked up the tourist information centre whose website said:  “We love welcoming visitors to Woolacombe & Mortehoe, however in these extenuating circumstances we are asking that you do not visit us at this time.”

Rosé, Pink, Blush?

We wanted to talk to you all about rosé. It seems you all have quite a thirst for it and, given the weather, we can’t say we’re surprised. We wanted to talk a little about why many people have started to refer to the wine as blush.

So, we wondered where and how it became so widespread, because you, the fine folk of Wimbledon Park, are not alone in the use of the term.  Is it perhaps that Dulux produced a paint called Blush Pink that everyone started comparing the wine in their glass to? We can certainly rule out anything to do with when a person blushes, because in most instances that’s far too dark a colour for most people’s pink wine tastes. We wondered perhaps if it was with the rosato style of Pinot Grigio coming along as a product of marketing departments with big companies, desperate not to miss out on the growing popularity of rose in the early part of the 21st century.

And now the answer.

In 1978 Charles Kreck of Mill Creek Vineyards (and one of the pioneers of Cabernet Sauvignon in California) trademarked the word “Blush”. The name caught on as a marketing name for the peculiarly sweet style of rose from producers such as Sutter Home and Beringer. Its popularity peaked in the 1980’s and has been declining ever since. We can see from talking to our customers, friends and colleagues around the country that in 99.9% of cases this is absolutely NOT what you all mean. You all want something very pale and dry, generally the style championed by the winemakers of Provence, who have been specialising in this style of wine since Wayne’s sepia coloured childhood.

Our Rosés are what would generally be described as dry and pale, the Cuvée Jean Paul has a little more fruit, ideal with something a little spicy, the Aumerade is our best selling wine every year. Line them all up together and we have five different bottles, labels, colours and prices, hopefully something to suit everyone.

Borsao Rosado 2018 – £7.99

Cuvee JP Jean Paul Rosé 2019 – £8.49

Dom. Foncalieu Piquepoul Rosé 2019 – £13.69

Chateau de L’Aumerade Provence Rosé 2018 – £14.99

Ch. D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2019 – £22.99

And if you fancy adding a bit of sparkle:

Domaine Landreau Cremant De Loire Morin Rosé NV – £15.99

Hawkins Bros Rosé Reserve NV – £29.00

Delavenne Pere et Fils Grand Cru Brut Rosé NV – £45.00

Bank Holiday Monday

Yes it surprised us too, but we’ve double checked and triple checked and it’s definitely the case. As a result we won’t just be shut on Monday, we’ll be shut shut!

Back to our desks on Tuesday!

Would You Like A Delivery?

We might not have the robots and zero hours staff of Amazon, or the kind of warehousing efficiency technology and van fleets of Ocado. We also have no offshore accounts or tax efficient brass plates in Lichtenstein, Limassol or Luxembourg.

What we do have is an enormous Volvo 850 and a business account on the High Street. There’s space in the boot for your order (we can even fold the seats down if necessary!) and we’ll be leaving the shop about 4pm on the delivery run. Is there a box with your name on it?

  • Drop us a line at shop@parkvintners.co.uk and give us an idea of what you desire – minimum order is six bottles 
  • The most helpful thing for us to know straight away is how many bottles you would like, an approximate cost and ideally what you like and definitely don’t like!
  • The more information, you give us the quicker we can turn it round 
  • We’ll suggest ideas, send you the cost and payment details and deliver to your doorstep, all safely distanced

Whilst I know you are all missing our dulcet tones, we aren’t answering phone calls at the moment and, as a consequence, email is absolutely, 100%, the best way to place your order.  We are dealing with them all in chronological order and will definitely get to you – there’s plenty of stock for everyone…. our pencils have been sharpened and hover poised over paper, so send us your orders and we’ll pack the boxes!