Tunnels

February 19th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week seems to have flown past. We have found ourselves enjoying the sunshine, the rain and the later sunsets at the same time as being somewhat glad to see the back of the ice. We’ll confess to having some sympathy for the Texans, many of whom will have only seen snow on the TV. When you’re used to driving on sunlit freeways it must be quite a discovery that the SUV is more difficult to control than it seems when The Stig is behind the wheel. Meanwhile, in a show of solidarity with the electorate, Texas State Senator, Ted Cruz, jetted off to Cancun.

On the virus front, numbers all seem to be moving in the right direction, particularly here in London, so all eyes will be on Monday’s briefing. Will we be nailed down until April like Northern Ireland, or is something else on the cards?

Whilst we’re on the subject of Northern Ireland, did anyone notice talk during the week of a tunnel from Scotland to Northern Ireland? First discussed in 1954, this poppycock idea is surely a distraction but it intrigued us enough to take out our torches and look a bit further into it. We also tried to have a chat with our mole in the Cabinet Office but he wasn’t returning our calls, so this is all clearly our own conjecture.

The place where you’d most like to have the tunnel is surely the shortest distance which, as it happens, is also about the place where the Irish sea is at its deepest. We think this could pose a number of logistical issues and we’ll start off with the large amount of unexploded WWII ordinance. From the end of the war all through the 1950’s some 20,000 tons of obsolete weapons and bombs per year were dumped into the sea at Beauport’s Dyke just south of there. This carried on all the way through to the 1970’s though with only around 3,000 tons per year. They’ve been washing up on beaches on and off since the early 1990’s and I’m not sure I’d want to be driving a big rotary drill under that lot!

We wondered about asking the folk at Euston Square but they were tied up, so we pushed on ourselves. I would stress that neither of us have much in the way of expertise in large earthworks, Wayne help dig a land drain in the garden once but that’s about the sum of it.

According to our back of the envelope calculations, the depth of the sea is some 175 metres down to the bottom here. The distance is some 25 miles and, to keep an acceptable gradient for a goods train to get up (less than 5% ideally, since you ask), we think the other end of the tunnel is going to be closer to Donegal than Belfast. I’m not sure about you, but I’d say this is not a solution to Marks & Spencer’s Percy Pig problem!

We like the idea that it’s a smaller tube like tunnel run by compressed air so you just put products in a torpedo and shut the door. Then it whooshes down the tube to the other end like the cash in an old fashioned department store!

In other news Liam Thorpe, 32 and the political editor of the Liverpool Echo, was offered a covid vaccination. Puzzled as to how this could be the case given his lack of underlying reasons to be so far up the queue, he discovered that he was officially 6.2cm tall with a BMI of 28,000!

In Sussex, a man due to return to prison handed himself into Police early, deciding he’d prefer the peace and quiet of prison rather than another day in lockdown at home!

Valentine, Riesling and Rioja – The Beauty of Age

February 12th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well, what a disaster last weekend that was at Twickenham! 

I’m sure I can’t have been the only person who was on the phone to their parents at half past six, just double checking  there was definitely no Scottish blood in our ancestry, so bereft did we feel.  A few of us could take solace in the fact that the Wales-Ireland game wasn’t until the next day and, with their Emerald Green Passport in hand (ok, I know it’s a normal red EU passport but do allow me some poetic licence), could look forward to perhaps a more favourable result on Sunday.  However, losing Peter O’Mahony in the 14th minute did not make Irish eyes smile… nonetheless it was one hell of a game after that and as pointed out by almost everyone on Twitter, Billy Burns is English, so it was always to end this way…

And then we heard of a chap who, along with joint Irish/English nationality, also spent a decent period of time living in Italy and as a consequence has a certain soft spot for gli Azzurri – well, we can guess how well his weekend went!

But we stride forward, with the second visit of the Six Nations this weekend starting with the wooden spoon match at Twickenham vs Italy on Saturday.  This is followed by the championship decider between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield, with the Ireland-France game taking place at 3pm on Valentine’s Day.

Yep, there you go, you’re welcome, that’s a reminder… 

Of course you knew that it’s Valentine’s Day on Sunday, how could I ever doubt you?  You have, of course, managed to order a card and gift online because you realised a while back that none of the card shops are open and you really shouldn’t buy a bunch of red roses and a box of Ferrero Rocher from the florist that also sells petrol for the third year on the trot!  Nevertheless, should you feel that perhaps you want put icing on the cake and push the boat out with a bottle of Champagne or such like, we are open until 7pm tonight and also from midday until 7pm tomorrow, Saturday, you know, the day before Valentine’s Day, just in case like….

Whilst we are all making the most of the glorious weather here right now, we really should consider our poor friends over in New Zealand where they are suffering their late summer sunshine whilst also celebrating New Zealand Wine Week – an event that in normal times would be promoted here with tastings galore and social events but sadly not so much this year.  In place of any such tastings we would like however like to tell you about one wine that we have just got back in stock, from the Mountford Estate in North Canterbury (Waipara).

So often, when you think of New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir are the grapes that spring to mind.  However, without denying the quality of these two, there are more players on the scene producing fabulously delicious drops and the Mountford Liaison Riesling 2013 – £ 17.49, is one of those wines.  Now, we must confess, we have a huge soft spot for aged Riesling, the depth and richness they develop over time turns them into something really quite special.  This one is lovely, with layers of citrus fruit, some honeyed character and a lovely precise acidity keeping it all nice and fresh.  It’s not dry, but you wouldn’t want it to be in all honesty, and it is simply gorgeous with something like a Prawn Laksa, should you feel like some escapism!

Now, enough from me, over to him, who wants to tell you about a small parcel of Rioja that he’s very pleased to have in stock – over to you, Huw…

Thank you, Huw.  I’d like to talk to you about a rather special wine from our chums at Valenciso.  Undoubtedly one of our favourite Rioja producers, the winery was founded in 1998 as a collaboration between Luis Valentin and Carmen Enciso.  With more than 30 years’ experience in Rioja wine production, they decided to focus on just one style of wine – a classically structured, subtle and elegantly fine Reserva.  One of the few wines that was on the shelf the day we opened and that we’re still buying. 

Their vineyards are in north-west Rioja Alta, at altitudes of 400-600m, and only produce wine when it meets their exacting quality standards.  There was no 2003 or 2013 for example; all the grapes were sold to other less discerning producers.  Alex was lucky enough to visit them in 2007 whilst they were still finishing the winery – you too can visit once we’re all released on parole!

The wine I want to talk to you about was released 10 years after the vintage.  Park Vintners left the drawing board and became a reality in 2010 but more importantly this coincided with just about the best vintage in Rioja this century.  The Atlantic influence was significant throughout, producing highly aromatic wines with impressive balance, which suits these guys and their vineyard situation down to the ground.

Aged for five years in concrete and then 54 months in Russian Oak before bottling and a bit of a rest in the bottle, this is the real deal.  Dark fruits, balsamic notes from the ageing and a beautiful silky palate with an impressively long finish…

Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the rather exceptional 2010 Valenciso Reserva ’10 Años Después’ (£35 or £100 for a wooden box of 3).  We have a finite amount of stock, so do please form an orderly queue.

Cheers!

Cricket and Yorkshire Pudding

February 5th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Are we here already? How did that happen? One minute I’m out for a stroll and before you can even comment on the mud and standing water it’s time to write The Weekly Wine. 

After much discussion and backwards and forwards we thought it might be nice if we start with some good news this week. Test cricket is returning to terrestrial television from this morning as Channel Four have secured the rights from Star Media. Just in time for Root’s 100th cap too!

We have had complaints about the lack of sports coverage lately, so whilst we’re on the subject we would also note that the Six Nations Rugby starts on Saturday with Italy travelling to France and England travelling to Scotland for the Calcutta Cup. Could be that both England and Scotland field a rookie centre according to the Beeb!  Sunday sees the Welsh enjoying Irish hospitality.

Elsewhere the road cycling season started Wednesday with the Étoile de Bessages Tour de Gard opening the season. Given the limited opportunities to ride, this year’s race has an unexpectedly high number of ‘star’ names with three Tour de France winners on the start line. If, like me, this is your first encounter with the race, it started in 1971 and has been a five stage race since 1974 joining the UCI Europe Tour in 2005. For what it’s worth, I think we’ve found a race that Eddy Merckx hasn’t won!!!

In other news, countrywide vaccinations are continuing apace with the best part of 15% of the population now done. A University of Aberdeen study found that international travel was a big factor in the death rate and that restricting it would have made quite a difference to the spread of the pandemic. It didn’t mention horses, stables or the whereabouts of Glenn Miller. Seriously though, with numbers heading in the right direction, that dim light in the distance could actually be the light at the end of the tunnel!

We noted that Jeff Bezos has decided to spend some money on new business cards, standing down to just “executive chairman”. As far as we can see no control has been relinquished, just a change of title. I can’t imagine why he’d want to concentrate on the media part of his empire just as the sales side comes under investigation by the Attorney general of Connecticut, and the Senate anti-trust committee.

After briefly flirting with the idea of democracy and elections the army has taken over again in Myanmar. In Russia, Alexei Navalny has been put in prison for two years just because; and Canada have proven once again to be the grown-ups as they declare the Proud Boys a terrorist organisation.

This Sunday being the first Sunday of February it is, of course, Yorkshire Pudding Day. The exact origins of the Yorkshire Pudding remain unknown but it’s generally agreed to be associated with the north of England. The prefix “Yorkshire” was first used in 1747 publication, ‘The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Simple’ by Hannah Glasse, which distinguished the light and crispy texture of the pudding made in this region from other batter-based puddings created in different parts of the country. It was traditionally made in one large tin, rather than the smaller, individual puddings more common today.

In wine news, though possibly not what you’d describe as ’breaking’, The New Scientist reports that Greece domesticated grapevines around 4000 years ago to make winemaking easier. Again there was no mention of horses, stables or the whereabouts of Glenn Miller.

So that’s probably enough from us, let us know what you’re having with your Yorkshire pudding, I’m sure we have a wine to go with it, who knows, maybe even a Greek one!

All Change For Bordeaux

January 29th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

In a break from tradition, we’d like to talk to you about wine today. In France this week the Institut National de l’Origine et de la Qualité (INAO) formally approved the use of six new varieties in Bordeaux.

‘Oh, how exciting!’ I hear you cry.

Well, I have to say we’re somewhere between excited, miffed, confused, disappointed and outraged. Before I explain our many positions on the subject, I should probably tell you what’s going on: farmers who produce Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Superior AOC are now allowed to plant some different grape varieties.

On the red front we’ve got Arinarnoa, a cross of Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon developed in Bordeaux in 1956; Castets, a long forgotten Bordeaux grape, ‘almost extinct’ is all I can find out, though I guess that might change!; Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache grown in the southwest and often blended with Tannat down there; and Touriga Nacional, a grape we all know and love from Portugal, more specifically in the wines from the Douro.

On the white front we’re welcoming Alvarinho, another Portugeezer also very popular in these parts in its Spanish version Albariño and Liliorila (shrug emoji) which is apparently a cross between Chardonnay and Baroque.

We’re excited because all new developments in wine excite us initially and it’s nice to see people thinking ahead to mitigate the effects of climate change, hydric stress and different ripening horizons. 

We’re miffed that Petit Manseng having made the final 7 just didn’t make the cut, we’re a little fond of it. The grape variety is one  we all know and love from Jurançon just a bit further south down near Biarritz.

We’re confused because for years and years we’ve been told that Bordeaux is the centre of fine wine and all the best grape varieties for the soils are already planted. Is that no longer the case? Do we now begin a long slippery slope into mediocrity, albeit the mediocrity of having twenty different grape varieties you can grow? Will our fears of thin, unripe Touriga Nacional and fat, overripe Alvarino be unfounded? We’ll see but at the moment you’re only allowed a maximum of 5% of your vineyard area and 10% of the final blend to be made from these ‘new’ varieties.

Disappointingly there are no changes to labelling regulations, so you won’t be able to tell before the cork is pulled what you’re drinking. But if it’s Pessac Leognan, Pauillac or one of the other named appellations, it’ll still be unchanged, for the moment. Let’s hope they keep the varieties unblended to start with so that we can see how they turnout.

Our outrage actually has nothing to do with this story but more to do with the the fact that so little has been made of the fact that red wine may actually be a good sports drink! An article in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition explored the possibility of supplementing Grape Polyphenols to mitigate exercise-induced physiological stress. Red grapes contain high levels of these antioxidant polyphenols that, the article states, seem to have a positive effect against oxidative stress. Surely it’s only a short leap to say that glass of red is good for you?

In other news this week, the PM has gone to Scotland, ostensibly to wind up Nicola Sturgeon we think but shopping for a new fridge and an eye test have not been ruled out. BooHoo have splashed out £55 million on Debenhams name and website, we still think it’ll end in tears.

With that we’ll bid you adieu, we’re here if you need us and you can email us if you need a delivery – February starts on Monday which means this is the last weekend of ‘6 for 5’ – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

James Bond Still MIA!

January 22nd, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I must confess, I watched the Don and the Melan leave the White House inside Marine One with mixed emotions and also a little bit of trepidation.  In the soap opera that has been the Trump Presidency it would not have surprised me at all if the helicopter had been eaten by Godzilla, attacked by aliens or, in a throwback to the famous scene from Dallas, we all woke up to discover that the last four years had just been a terrible dream and Democracy was having a shower before carrying as if nothing had happened!

However, not only have we lost everyone’s favourite President but more significantly we have lost the blog gift that has kept on giving.  There have been many weeks that we have sat at the keyboard here, bereft of inspiration and muse-less, unable to find the words to kick off the weekly whiffle until we have looked at the news from across the pond and DT has careered in to save the day with his outrageous behaviour and extraordinary statements.

I never, ever expected to say this but Donald, The Donald, we’ll miss you and your soundbites so much!

“The only people brave enough to vote out this corrupt establishment is you, the American people.”

Speech Responding To Assault Accusations. www.npr.org. October 13, 2016.

But we wipe the tear from our eyes and we move on.  However it’s not long before we reach for the Kleenex once more, as we read of two cult West Country festivals already cancelled for the second year on the trot; the little known Glastonbury Festival has shown the white flag as has the world renowned Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival – who will be next?

And here’s the answer:

“Good evening Mr Bond, I’ve been expecting you. Stay where you are!” – sorry Stromberg, you’ll have to wait a bit longer – No Time to Die will now not arrive until October….

Meanwhile back in the world of wine it was heartening to read that, in spite of all the restrictions we underwent in the latter part of last year, UK Champagne consumption was greater in 2020 than in 2019, with the most significant uplift being in December where people clearly treated themselves to the proper stuff, and on more occasions – that’s the spirit!  Obviously this was detrimental to Prosecco sales but frankly, they’ve had it their own way for too long!

And now we’re almost at the end of January which brings our annual foray into Witchetty Grubs and Haggis.

Tuesday 26th is Australia Day.  If you’ve manged to procure your Moreton Bay Bugs, your King Island Brie, a meat pie and of course some of the aforementioned grubs, we recommend you treat yourself to a bottle of Geoff Merrill Reserve Shiraz 2011 – £29.99 – come on, it doesn’t get much more Aussie than a McLaren Vale Shiraz.

However, before we go down under we need to go up North because we’ve got Whisky to drink.  Monday 25th is Burns Night and, frankly, I like an excuse to have a dram on Monday and this week Rabbie has delivered!

Our Whisky selection is as follows:

Highland

Ardmore 1998 – £70.00

Tomatin 12 Year Old – £41.75

Islay  

Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old – Discovery Range – £50.00

Caol Ila 13 Year Old – Discovery Range – £50.00

Finlaggan Old Reserve – £36.00

Speyside       

Benromach 10 Year Old – £40.00

Benromach 15 Year Old – £60.00

Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish 2011 – £50.00

Strathmill 2002 – Connoisseurs Choice – £50.00

Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old – £61.00

The Glenrothes Whisky Makers Cut – £54.00

Longmorn 2005 – Distillers Label – £70.00

Blended        

Mary Queen of Scots 12 Year Old – £35.00

Plenty of choice there we think!

That’s about it from us and, as we move into the last week of January and consequently the last week of our ‘6 for 5’ offer, so don’t be backward in coming forwards.

It’s the weekend, Trump’s gone and we clearly have been enjoying our Champagne of late, so let’s all raise a glass to absent friends…

Wine in Space

January 15th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week we’ll open with our first sports shocker of the year. A racing pigeon that went missing from a race in Oregon on 29th October has been found alive and well in Melbourne. The bird was discovered on Boxing Day looking a bit peckish after taking the long way home to the tune of 13000km. Experts think the bird has been practicing cargo boat doping, but like the cyclists who caught trains in the early days of the Tour de France, there is no evidence of that! Let’s hope he gets quarantined rather than culled, you know what Aussie import rules are like!

Whilst we’re on the subject of travelling, it seems the BBC and the Evening Standard have been trying really hard all week to make a story out of the Prime Minister being 7 miles away from home on his bike. Think what you like about Boris, but why spend so much time on such a non-story when there is so much that could be held up for scrutiny,  are we being naïve in hoping for better? As anyone who has ridden a bike can tell you, seven miles is no distance.

Still on the subject of journeys, we were sent an article this week from one of our long-time readers Matt. Like many of us he has been leafing his way through a series of Travel magazines and articles with a wishful (hopeful?) eye. He shared one of the more entertaining stories which tells of twelve bottles of Bordeaux sent up to the International Space Station. Not to cheer up the astronauts Vesta Beef you understand, but just for a spot of weightlessness whilst ageing. With them went around three hundred Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vine snippets that also spent a year of weightlessness orbiting the earth.

Space Cargo Unlimited claim understanding how grapes respond to weightlessness, scientists could help develop technology to grow more resilient plants on Earth. Now I’m no gardener, let alone horticultural expert, but how will that happen? They were in protective packaging, a rocket and a space station, how is that different to greenhouse? ‘Vines in Space’ rather than ‘Pigs In Space’ but possibly still Muppetry.

All my cynicism aside, it’d be quite interesting to taste the difference of a space aged bottle to a Chateau cellar aged bottle so we’ll look out for notes when they are tasted by a selection of sommeliers in February.

If you want to read more about Space Cargo Unlimited have a look here: Red wine in space to feed the blue planet! – SPACE CARGO UNLIMITED (space-cu.com) .

On to the last piece on travelling, it’s tormenting me as much to write about it as it is for you to read it believe me.

Lorry drivers arriving in the Hook of Holland were a bit surprised to discover they were getting their sandwiches with chicken or ham and cheese confiscated. It seems they fell foul of new regulations governing the movement of meat and dairy arriving in the EU from the UK. We suggest tuna, prawn or fish-finger sandwiches as the way to go for the future as they are permitted. We’ve had no news yet if the same rigor has been applied to the EasyJet toasty!

Otherwise our January sale continues as mentioned last week with six bottles for the price of five on most wines.

If you’d like a delivery we can put a box in the Volvo for you and bring it to the door, just drop us a line at shop@parkvintners.co.uk with your requirements and we’ll swing into action.

Obviously we’re essential and open, if you’re out on a stroll.

Mon-Wed: 3-7pm (though we’re around from midday so do give us a knock!)

Thurs-Sat: Noon – 7pm

Sunday: Still Closed

That’s it from us, stay safe, lookout for each other and have a chat with someone you haven’t spoken to lately.

2021 Day 8

January 8th, 2021

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Happy New Lockdown Everybody!!

Don’t you always love the third instalment?  Rambo III?  Amusingly beaten to top spot on its opening weekend by Crocodile Dundee II.  Three Men & A Bride?  Thankfully, never been made.  The failed comedy that was Superman III?  Shrek the Third?  Spider-Man 3?  Police Academy 3 (RIP Officer Laverne Hooks)?  

This list could go on forever but I hope you get the gist.  You went to the first instalment, happy to go with the flow and frankly, once you were there, it wasn’t too bad.  You endured the second, shorter episode because the first one had been quite successful and you had high hopes of similar success for the follow up.  By the time you get to the third in the trilogy though you show up at the cinema, underwhelmed and disappointed before you’ve even started whilst in your head you are praying, ‘if I can endure this then hopefully they’ll never make a fourth!’ .

So here we are at the start of the third of the Lockdown series.  No matter how tiresome and long winded it may end up being we all need to sit tight in our popcorn crumbed seats right until the last credit has rolled by and the lights have come up before we give it green splat on Rotten Tomatoes: we really, really, really don’t want to see Lockdown IV: Summer is Cancelled….

But enough of the negatives, let’s look at this in a brighter light.  It’s blinking cold outside, it  gets dark at 4pm having only got light just after 8am which means, if nothing else, that the sun is over the yard arm by late morning, which can only be a good thing if you’re home schooling.

And why would you want to go out/get dressed every day/take your Ugg boots off/see anyone at this most inhospitable time of year?  Sure, it would be nice but it will be so much warmer doing it in April. 

In the meantime, the, hopefully, good news is that we are OPEN.  As with every (!) lockdown thus far, we are considered essential and it’s not just because we are next door to a Pharmacist.  We will be keeping slightly shorter hours than in normal times though – largely related to the fact that 90% of you aren’t commuting so rush hour is not currently a thing and Arthur Road gets very lonely as the evening goes on.  Our current hours are:

Monday to Wednesday: 3pm – 7pm

Thursday to Saturday: 12pm – 7pm

Sunday: Closed

We know a number of you like to come to the shop and have a browse but for those of you who don’t want to go out/get dressed every day/take your Ugg boots off/see anyone at this most inhospitable time of year then we will be de-icing the Volvo and letting Swedish Engineering prove itself in in the harshest conditions in order to deliver boxes of loveliness to your doorsteps.  By ‘boxes of loveliness’ we do of course mean boxes of wine to avoid any awkwardness and we do ask that you order a minimum of 6 bottles for free local delivery.

If this sounds appealing, simply send an email to shop@parkvintners.co.uk outlining what you might like and we can make some suggestions – the more you tell us, the more we can fine tune our selections.

Finally, for those of you doing dry January, we salute you.  We think you’re barmy, I think a lot of you think you’re barmy too but nonetheless we salute your resolve – buona fortuna and now please look away, this next bit is not for you…

Did I mention the lack of quality in repetitive film franchises earlier?  Thankfully the same is not true in wine as we welcome the 10th instalment of the Park VintnersBuy six bottles and you’ll only pay for five of them’ January deal.

In maths terms that’s a whopping 16.66% discount that will hopefully make lockdown life a little more bearable.  As usual, we’ll be excluding spirits and posh champagnes from this offer but otherwise it’s pretty much open season and we’ve attached a list of current stock – fill yer boots, as the man said!

And with that I’m done for today.  We live in dark times but there is sunshine on the horizon and right now I’m taking solace from the fact I don’t live in America…

Stay warm!

We’ve Started, So We’ll Finish

December 31st, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Looking back over the last year there seem to be a fair few surprises in our commentary. Our longer suffering readers will not be surprised to discover there was actually rather little discussion of wine along the way; it seems to appear almost as an occasional guest.

We started in January with Terry Wogan, Guy Fawkes, John Lydon and Justin Timberlake. The first and last guests there surprise me even as I type this; the middle two have appeared in several Weekly Wines.

February found us musing over horse sized ducks. Aside from the sheer volume of pancakes and hoisin sauce that would be needed, what were we chatting about?

March found a lockdown and the chance to learn Arapaho or grow a mullet. Sadly, the mullet was what most people seemed to view as the successful takeaway!

April found us musing on Tommy Cooper, a theme we returned to yesterday in the shop with a customer.

May found the sunshine, Kylie Minogue’s wine, and news that alcohol sales may take four years to recover. Draught beer was also a revelation, even from a plastic glass, as the Pig & Whistle indulged us in a takeaway service.

June showed up and found us channelling Aesop, which I have to say would surprise most teachers at both of our schools. Otherwise, many of us watched a history of Glastonbury performances over the years courtesy of the Beeb’s virtual festival. No mud in the cider was nice!

By July we found a nation that had drunk 700 million litres less alcohol than the previous year, cycle racing starting again and England beating the West Indies in the cricket.

August found Alex in very unfamiliar territory, Wimbledon Park. He no longer believes Wayne’s assertion that everyone leaves for August. Aside from that we all Ate Out To Help Out.

September held the discovery that we weren’t really helping when we ate out. We also managed to go to our first wine tasting since January; it was also our last one of the year.

October held the Yardbirds, David Bowie and Marcus Rashford up for attention, along with the discovery of a new planet. Cycle racing at this stage was breathtakingly exciting as the Giro and Vuelta overlapped.

November found Trumpolina lose the US election, a chat about whisky, rum and the St Andrews Day connections. Guy Fawkes Night seemed to last for 30 nights.

December is where we will say goodbye to 2020 this very evening. I’m sure many will be glad to see the back of it but along the way, aside from our nonsense, people have got engaged or married, babies have been born, new houses have become new homes and, unusually, Spurs had a couple of days at the top of the Premiership.

We will be shut until next Thursday, 7th January and, with the news that home schooling is returning, we expect you might need a drink by then!

In the meantime, we’ll be raising a glass to all of you for your support, all of the hospital staff and carers who could really do with a day off and to 2021, which will surely be here tomorrow!

Cheers!

Merry Christmas

December 24th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We’re nearly there, the champagne is in the fridge, the dinner has been improvised and Love Actually has been on the telly.

Even more incredibly, it is now past one o’clock on Christmas Eve and neither of us have heard ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ by Slade yet.

Anyway, we’re here till 5pm today and will then be back on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week Noon-6pm.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Christmas, to say thank you for all your good wishes, support and good humour.

Cheers!

Wayne & Alex

Christmas Shopping List

December 18th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Seven more sleeps and we’ll be there!  Where exactly, I’m not sure – most likely here as we can’t go anywhere else…

Start again, Alex and try to sound more positive.

Seven more sleeps and we’ll be there!  Having shed our Tiers on Wednesday we will all have travelled to far off parts of the UK to bring our newly mutated London virus to the masses…

Start again…

Seven more sleeps and we’ll be there!  Having submitted to the cack-handed ‘divide and conquer’ strategy employed by the powers that be we will, in order to maintain a safe Christmas bauble, rank our friends and family on a sliding scale of how important they are to us.  Do I see my sister or my mum?  But my sister doesn’t want to see me however my Mum does.  Do I really have to go and see Uncle Bob, isn’t this a great opportunity to swerve his salty anecdotes?  And so family and friends are closely evaluated as we decide who we would save first, should the boat go down, and who we would leave to swim – no chance at all of any arguments or families falling out over this!

And again…

Seven more sleeps and we’ll be there!  But not for long please and with the window open whilst wearing a mask and don’t touch each other please and certainly don’t stay the night!  I can already see the headlines as various MP’s and Rita Ora apologise for ‘misunderstanding’ the rules….

Last chance…

Seven more sleeps and we’ll be there!  We’ve had a tough year, there are undoubtedly tougher times ahead, enjoy your Christmas, be sensible, turn off all news broadcasts from the 23rd through to 27th December and raise a glass to absent friends and happy times.  Like a tousle haired Jose Mourinho, Boris has his masterplan, has told us what to do and what his game plan is and now he just needs to sit up (and shut up) in the stands and leave us alone to get on with it on the pitch…

Far better

So, yep, by this time next week I will have consumed, hopefully, half a bottle of Champagne and 37 smoked salmon sandwiches whilst unwrapping the inevitable Everest of gifts that confront me.  I will be safe in the knowledge that I don’t need to go anywhere for 3 days and that there is more food in the house than we would usually eat in a fortnight.  Oh, and enough wine to keep Peter Langan going for at least an afternoon….

The question is, whilst I will have enough liquid supplies, will you?

Here’s my shopping list, if it helps:

BUBBLES

Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 NV £30

Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Léonie NV £30.99

Lété-Vautrain Grand Millesime 2012 £35

Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale Brut NV £36.99

Canard Duchêne Charles VII Blanc de Blancs NV £40

Tarlant Brut Nature NV £45

Delavenne Père et Fils Grand Cru Brut Rosé NV £45

Bollinger Special Cuvée Brut NV £48

Collet Brut 2008 £50

Moutard ‘6 Cépages’ 2009/10 £53

Joseph Perrier Cuvée Royale 2008 £70

Thienot Cuvée Alain 2007 £90

Bollinger La Grande Année 2012 £112

Billecart Salmon Cuvée Nicolas-Francois 2002 £150

WHITE -MAGNUM

Greywacke Sauvignon 2019, Marlborough £41

RED – MAGNUMS

Lopez de Haro 2017, Rioja Crianza £25

Château de Paraza 2016, Minervois £30

Meerlust Red 2014, Stellenbosch £30

Filus Malbec 2016, Mendoza £32

La Côte Sauvage 2016, Cairanne £34

Château La Grave 2016, Médoc £38

Saransot Dupré 2015, Listrac-Médoc £46

Domaine Treloar Tahi 2010, Roussillon £50

The Chocolate Block 2019, Franschhoek £50

Valenciso Rioja Reserva 2009/11 £52

Meerlust Rubicon 2014, Stellenbosch £58

PORT

Krohn Ambassadors Ruby £11.99

Kopke Fine White Port £15.99

Krohn LBV 2013 £18.99

Quinta de Val da Figueira 10 year old Tawny £26.99

Smith Woodhouse Madalena 2005 £29.99

Krohn Colheita 1999 £34.99

Krohn Colheita 1982 £60

Porto Ramos Pinto 2000 £70

Taylors 1985 Vintage Port £85

Taylors/Fonseca/Croft Vintage 2016 Trio Gift Box £255

And then, for the mince pies, Foxdenton Estate Christmas Liqueur £20 just to help me nap…

So, that’s my list, there are of course other wines available, I haven’t even talked about Whisky but, rest assured, we have some.

Anyway, it may have come to your attention that there are only seven sleeps until Christmas.  We won’t be sleeping so much though, our hammocks are slung up in the cellar already and our opening hours up until the January will be:

SATURDAY 19th DECEMBER 11AM – 7PM

SUNDAY 20th DECEMBER NOON – 3PM

MONDAY 21st – WEDNESDAY 23rd DECEMBER NOON – 7PM

THURSDAY 24th DECEMBER 10AM – 5 PM

FRIDAY 25th – MONDAY 28th DECEMBER CLOSED

TUESDAY 29th DECEMBER – THURSDAY 31ST DECEMBER NOON – 6PM

FRIDAY 1st – WEDNESDAY 6th JANUARY CLOSED

THURSDAY 7th JANUARY NOON – 7PM

Plenty of opportunity there to come and see us – pop in tomorrow and we might even have some wine open too!

Stay strong….