Archive for the ‘general’ Category

All Change For Bordeaux

Friday, 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!

Friday, 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. 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:


Ardmore 1998 – £70.00

Tomatin 12 Year Old – £41.75


Bunnahabhain 11 Year Old – Discovery Range – £50.00

Caol Ila 13 Year Old – Discovery Range – £50.00

Finlaggan Old Reserve – £36.00


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


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

Friday, 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 ( .

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 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

Friday, 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 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

Thursday, 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!


Merry Christmas

Thursday, 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.


Wayne & Alex

Christmas Shopping List

Friday, 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:


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


Greywacke Sauvignon 2019, Marlborough £41


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


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:









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

Stay strong….

Breakdancing, Champagne and Christmas Opening Hours

Friday, December 11th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Here we are again; another Friday has crept up on us almost before we’ve finished the last one.  With time flying along like this, those 14 days to Christmas Day are going to flash by. So, how was your week?

We’re both glad we haven’t booked our holiday in space yet after a SpaceX rocket that exploded on landing was viewed as a success. We feel we’d like a softer landing than a controlled descent ending in a fireball and are beginning to think that Thunderbirds and Space 1999 made it all look a bit easier than it’s turning out to be.

On the Brexit front, despite all the radio ads warning all businesses to be ready it appears the Oven Ready deal is still lacking some of the ingredients. The baking powder is lost in Felixstowe in an unmarked container that may or may not have been unloaded or accidentally shipped off on the wrong ship. The fishermen are still all at sea over the John Dory, and Boris has dashed off on a charm offensive for dinner with Ursula von der Leyen. We’ve learnt, rather amusingly, that he ate fish but it’s not clear whose waters they came from. He has now returned to his happy place in the fridge leaving Carrie to carry on running the country.

We’re not talking about last week’s football for obvious reasons. We thought we might mention the Olympics which, under normal circumstances, would have enjoyed many more column inches from us in 2020 than it has. Tokyo has been rescheduled for July 2021 and hot on its heels is Paris in 2024. The Olympic committee has decided that the hot new sport for 2024 will be Breakdance. Now, I don’t want to take anything away from Breakdancers, its fabulous to watch and takes an enormous amount of skill, practice and sheer hard work to be any good at it but is it a sport? I don’t think so; surely the clue is in the name? We don’t have Ballet or the Foxtrot in the Olympics, and, much as it may be entertaining to have Len Goodman on the commentary team, I can’t help but think that perhaps squash or Individual Pursuit in the Velodrome may have been a better fit.

Anyway, we’re here to talk about beverages of some nature or other so how about I start with the information that our deliveries this week contained the following.

Foxdenton Estate Christmas Liqueur – £20

Made with Winslow Plums and a blend of traditional Christmas spices including Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon, and Star Anise, our Christmas Liqueur, is the ideal winter warmer.

All this needs is a mince pie and an open fire. However it is equally at home in a glass of Fizz…..

Champagne Tarlant Brut Nature (£45) has had a bit of a revamp and I know a few of you are big fans of its long aged style. This is based on the 2012 vintage (fantastic in Champagne) and aged for six years we could only get a small amount this year.

Bollinger Grand Année 2012 (£112) just arrived too, and, having hit The Wine Spectators Top 100 wines at number nine, won’t be around for long.

The final wine for the Christmas cases that we mentioned last week has eventually managed to negotiate its way through the ports chaos and arrive here in SW19. So, we’re now good to go with those too. More on that wine below…

Our house champagne Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 (£30) has definitely gained a loyal following and its worth mentioning that we’re still offering 3 bottles for £75.












Tasting This Weekend

Well it’s a long time since we’ve typed that. We have looked at it long and hard, the glasses are all dish-washed and we’ll remove them from the box with sanitised hands. We can’t allow you to spit, but thought it would be really nice to offer something to taste.

So on Saturday we’ll open the Christmas Liqueur clearly and also Sylvain Dussort Cuvee des Ormes 2018(£21.99) a cracking white Burgundy from Meursault very much in that style without the price tag. It is the estates flagship wine from vines between 35 and 60 years old and aged for 12 months on its lees in barrels before 16-18 months age in the bottle.

For good measure we’ll also pull a cork on the red that’s been hiding out at Tilbury causing all the trouble. From the Loire Valley, Antoine de la Farge L’Enfant Rebelle 2019 (£15.99) is a storming Pinot Noir with a bit more oomph than we’re used to from that area. Antoine has taken over the family estate in Menetou Salon, but also produces some wines under his own name. These wines are produced on a small scale and with great care, everything is picked by hand and fermentations happen naturally. The wines are made in stainless steel to emphasise their purity and freshness. You’ll experience that here, pure plum and cherry fruit, a touch of undergrowth and some fine tannins.

So come and see us, email if you’d like a delivery, pop in for a taste.


Wayne & Alex

Ten Years On – Happy Birthday to Us

Friday, December 4th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I’m not going to lie, we’re quite proud of ourselves today.

Yesterday, December 3rd, we at Park Vintners celebrated our 10th Birthday.  Yea, I know right, a miracle!  That means for the last decade, whilst we have slowly decayed (been waiting  a long 10 years for that joke), you have all been helping us to survive, earn a crust and hopefully enjoy a glass of wine or two at our recommendation.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you… the good news, we think, is that we have signed our lease for another 10 years, giving you all the opportunity to enjoy at least a couple more of our vinous offerings.

Reflecting on our opening in 2010, we recall that we had snow on the ground and that at points during that week the slope down to the roundabout on Arthur Road was more ski run than rat run.  We remember the Porsche 911 that tried to summit this slope but only succeeded in drifting slowly back down the hill in a flurry of spinning wheels and impending doom.  Happily, the tyres gripped and the car ground to a halt before it redecorated Arthur House. 

With all this weather going on, we were very surprised that anyone ventured out to see us at 5pm on that cold Friday. 

The most obvious no-show was the lady who had told us that we were evil for going into competition with Wine Rack and Coop because they had been there for ages and who were we to challenge them.  Also, the chap who kindly told us, without actually crossing the shop threshold, that we were too expensive and how he would be gobsmacked if we survived – no, he didn’t come either.  A couple of our suppliers turned up with bottles of Champagne; our wives turned up, with Pavlovian predictability, at the sound of popping corks; my children got busy decorating the window with dummy Christmas presents and then finally at 17.18 Wayne made our first sale.  Given that we had set up as a Wine Merchant it feels only appropriate that the first money we took was for 4 bottles of Sambrook’s Wandle Ale!

But, as evidenced by our anniversary, things got better.  Over the 10 years, flushed with getting the first key sale of our existence, Wayne has continued to thrive as #1 salesman, dominating turnover with a solid 58% of sales.  Handily for Alex, we have a 50/50 business share… plus he also made the first sale yesterday, so the only way is up!

And now we land up here – 4th December 2020 in a very different world. 

A world where the news of a vaccine has created universal celebration even though the majority of us won’t see it for months; a world where Brexit negotiations are still ongoing with less than a month until we leave or in fact 11 months since we should have left – why do I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach?; a world where we have been told to binge eat in order to be allowed to have a pint; a world where whilst Welsh pubs and restaurants are undergoing a new genre of Prohibition, travel restrictions between Wales and England have been eased, leading to the potential for cross-border drinking trips;  a world where all shops are now allowed to open but all a bit too late for Debenhams (oldest retail chain in the UK), Top Shop, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Evans, Bonmarche, Peacocks, Jaeger, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and T M Lewin to name just a few of this year’s retail casualties – what will we wear?

With all this in mind, we need to enjoy this Christmas season as much as we can under these restrictions because there might not be so much to celebrate in January!  As many of you will be aware, we do a monthly case club and the December cases are always the most popular both as gifts and for personal use.

We have 3 main offerings this year and these will be ready to go by the middle of next week, a couple of wines have been a bit delayed but we thought we’d give you a quick preview of what we are offering:

£60 – 6 bottle Mixed Case


Mansfield & Marsh NV, Hawkes Bay/Marlborough, New Zealand


Chatelain Desjacques Chardonnay 2017, Val de Loire, France

Deep Roots Riesling Trocken 2019, Rheinhessen, Germany


Barton Rouge 2015, Walker Bay, South Africa

Chateau de Paraza ‘Cuvée Spéciale’ 2017, Minervois, France

Sierra Grande Pinot Noir 2020, Central Valley, Chile

£100 – 6 bottle Mixed Case


Hawkins Bros Brut Reserve, Surrey, England


Domaine Fournillon Chablis 2016, Burgundy, France

Wairau River Pinot Gris 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand


Principe Corsini Le Corti Chianti Classico 2018, Tuscany, Italy

Antoine de la Farge L’Enfant Rebelle Pinot Noir 2019, Loire, France

Bodegas Roda Sela 2016, Rioja, Spain

£100 – 6 bottle Mixed French Reds Case (includes gift box)

Antoine de la Farge L’Enfant Rebelle Pinot Noir 2019, Loire

Chateau Cardinal 2016, Montagne-St-Émilion, Bordeaux

Chateau Grandis 2010, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux

Domaine Fournillon Pinot Noir 2018, Bourgogne Epineuil

Domaine Treloar ‘Le Secret’ 2013, Cotes du Roussillon

Le Seigneur du Raveil Vacqueyras 2016, Rhone

All the cases come with relevant tasting notes and offer a better discount than you would normally get off 6 bottles.

I fizz is more what you would like to put in your cup then we still have 6 for 5 on most of our Champagnes and sparklers and the very popular Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 NV – 3 for £75 deal also still stands!

So, I think that’s probably it for this week, Happy Birthday to us and to paraphrase Gavin Williamson, we’re still here whilst Wine Rack and co have gone, mainly thanks to you but also because we’re a much better shop than every single one of them!

Bottoms Up!

Wee Drams

Friday, November 27th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Is there anything much happening out there?  From where we sit it’s beginning to look like a locksmith and security might be required at the White House. Captain Comb-over has moved on from lawyers leaking hair dye to pardoning his mates. There even appears to be some idle chat that he may pardon himself and family for past and future indiscretions. It struck me that pre-meditation was more apt phrasing than pardon in that instance but then I have to get somebody to correct my punctuation, so what would I know?

American comedians have bought  and offered it to the President if he tweets ‘My name is Donald Trump and I lost the 2020 election by A LOT. I am a loser. SAD!’ So far we’ve not seen it, but were amused to discover the website  redirects you to Donald Trump’s Wikipedia page.

More locally, lockdown draws to a close and we enter Tier 2 which is exactly where we were to start with. One wonders what four weeks of lockdown have achieved with infection rates in the area remaining broadly similar with where we started. Countrywide it looks as if in some areas the numbers went in the wrong direction.

We have been out and about in the Volvo again this week and couldn’t help but notice that some of you have put some lights up to brighten the evening and bring a bit of visual cheer to the area and that the tree man is open in the park already. We always wait till the week of our birthday, and given that we opened in the first week of December, we’re not far off. But we will leave that till next week, when we’ll be 10!

First though, we need to discuss St Andrew and St Andrew’s Day. We’ve mentioned in past years about it being a bank holiday in Scotland where the banks aren’t obliged to close, and how surprised we were to discover The Waterboys were Scottish as a result of a St Andrews Day playlist. Well, everyday is indeed a schoolday and we discovered that despite being a celebrated Saint for a thousand years or more, the celebrations for his day only really began with the creation of the ‘St Andrew’s Society of Charleston’ in South Carolina, which was founded in 1729 by a group of wealthy Scottish immigrants. I can’t be the only person who raised an eyebrow with the South Carolina part can I? We seem to have come a long way since then (certainly across the Atlantic!) and under normal circumstances the day is usually marked with a celebration of Scottish culture, including dancing, music, food and drink, with parties going on long into the cold winter night. This year perhaps a wee dram may suffice.

A convoluted link perhaps, but whilst we’re talking of wee drams did we mention our whisky selection?


Benromach 10yo (£39.99)

Tomatin 12yo (£41.75)

Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish 2011 (£50)

Bunnahabhain 11yo – Discovery (£50)

Caol Ila 13yo – Discovery (£50)

Connoisseurs Choice Strathmill 2002 (£50)

The Glenrothes Whisky Makers Cut Speyside Single Malt (£54)

Benromach 15yo (£60)

Macallan Double Cask 12yo (£61)

Ardmore 1998 (£70.00)

Longmorn 2005 – Distiller Label (£70.00)


Kaiyo Mizunara Oak Whisky (£90)

Hibiki Harmony Blended Whisky (£75)

Yamazaki 12yo (£120)

Hakusha 12yo (£140)


Blanton Single Barrel Bourbon (£57.99)

Interestingly, in parts of Eastern Europe, St Andrews Eve was believed to be the start of the most popular time for vampire activity, which would last until Saint George’s Eve (22 April). So now its wallet, door key, mask and garlic for the departure check at the front door!

St Andrews Day is also celebrated in Barbados as the day of Independence. Should you prefer to celebrate this we’d suggest perhaps a dram of Doorly’s 12 year old (£49) , a stunning Bajan rum that is complex, smooth and elegant with notes of butter, cinnamon, a touch of nutmeg and maybe a hint of orange too. It’s not just us that likes it either, the Distillery, Foursquare Rum Distillery in St Philip, has been the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) Rum Producer of the Year four time (2016-2019) as well as the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) Rum Producer of the Year in 2016, 2018 and 2019.

It looks as if Christmas might be a bit of a rum do. You can meet but probably better not to give them a hug!