Archive for May, 2012

Wedding Wine Gift

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week has been a busy week for the wine trade. Natural wines showed their affinity with number 9 buses by having not one but two wine fairs, the annual London Wine Fair was on at ExCel (so was a Defence Industry fair (just me or are wine and guns a scary combination?).

But we toughed it out, putting in a palate testing couple of hours at The Real Wine Fair on Monday and then each spending a day at ExCel. Neighbours, be assured though, we resisted the pull of the sparkling new guns and opportunity to wear combats, and stayed in the chino comfort zone that is the Wine Trade Fair. Wayne even managed to squeeze in some Elvis Costello at the Royal Albert Hall.

Wedding Wine Gift

This time of year we often chat with customers who are heading off to the weddings of chums who have been together a while (indeed Alex is doing just that in a few weeks time).  They are struggling with what to buy as a gift, said couple already having a toaster, rolling pin and pillow-cases, so might we be able to suggest a wine or two?

Well we have gone one better than that, we have put together a Six Box in a Gift Pack. There is Champagne to celebrate having survived the day itself, a red and white to help with the thank you cards and the first dinner as “marrieds”, and a further three bottles that can be enjoyed as the mood takes them, but are of such quality that they could be kept for toasting anniversaries over the next five years or so.

All this will set you back £105 (Which is less than a set of bedding from Cath Kidston!) and full tasting notes are attached.


One of the conferences Wayne attended was on the use of social media, and we are expecting to him to be more clued up as a result. If you are interested in joining in the fun as we explore this brave new world you’ll find us under our name…ParkVintners. We’ll confess we’ve been there a while and have thus far been fairly rubbish at it, we’re hoping to change that.

Giro d’Italia – Tasting this Weekend

As I write this on a sunny Thursday evening in Wimbledon Park, the 18th Stage has just finished in Vedelago and Mark Cavendish has a slender lead of 29 points in the Red Jersey points competition, despite being outwitted and pipped on the line by rookie Andrea Guardini.

We of course haven’t had to expend anywhere near as much energy, just gently swirling, then raising glasses and tipping our heads. In those glasses this week we shall have Rami Falanghina 2010 (£12.49) and Brunato Il Cocco 2010 (£12.89).

Rami Falanghina 2010 is from Molise in the Southern Apennine Mountains where wine has been produced since the time of the Romans and Alessio di Majo is the latest in a line of Di Majo’s who have farmed this land since the 1800’s. That said, I’m not here for history lessons, I am here to tell you about the wine. He uses only organic vineyard techniques and has a new modern winery,   but it is his choice of the best of his old vine Falanghina that drew us to this wine with its wonderful peachy, apricot flavours and zippy fresh acidity. Food match… seafood clearly, but a plate of antipasti, pile of salad, and a group of chums would do it for us.

Brunato Il Cocco 2010 hails from Tuscany, a region famous not only for holidaying but also as the spiritual home of the best wines made from Sangiovese. This particular wine is from the Bindi Family’s 300 year old estate. Again I’m not here to talk about history, but the fact that they do have the highest vineyards in Montalcino, and that this wine is lovely and juicy with fresh cherry fruit flavours. That could be down to the fact that they grow Sangiovese Grosso, famous as the Brunello grape and bigger berried (hardly a surprise given the name!), or it could be that they have been recognised as organic since the ‘80’s? Personally I think it’s because Giacomo is a nice bloke and that’s reflected in his wines. Food match… get that barbecue hot and pop some meat on it!

Wine and Cheese Tasting

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been a bad week for Queens.

Donna Summer, Queen of Disco, hung up her crown yesterday, aged 63 – Love to Love You Baby.

Sofia, Queen of Spain, has cancelled her plans to visit the UK to mark the Jubilee, reasoning that the ongoing dispute over Gibraltar makes it inappropriate to come for lunch.  Although why she has given up the chance of a decent bit of banquet action makes no sense – does she really want a rocky peninsula filled with Marines, apes and offshore bookies?  I’d take the lunch…

And if anyone has seen the photos of our Queen on the ‘duckmarine’ at Albert Dock in Liverpool, you can almost hear her muttering ‘we are not amused…’

I suspect she’ll be quite relieved when her Jubilee tour is over, and she can settle down with a fish finger sandwich and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Wine & Cheese Evening

We’ve been hosting these evenings for over a year now, many of you have been to one evening, a lot of you have been to two or three, but there are still some of you who haven’t joined in the fun – we know you’re just shy…

If you’ve not joined us, here’s the lowdown.

About every 5 weeks we host these evenings and we source a selection of 4 cheeses from our good friends at Norbiton Cheese, and we then attempt to match half a dozen wines to them.  By ‘attempt’ I mean exactly that – we have a good idea what will go with what, but the proof is very much down to the tasting on the night itself – often wines we think will be brilliant lose a bit of their lustre, and the dark horse outsider that we put in for fun, actually turns out to be a thoroughbred winner (apologies for the clunky racing imagery).

What I’m trying to say is that we don’t know the answers.  Between the 14 of us on the night we come to conclusions, debate is lively, wine is spilt, crackers are ground into the floorboards and copious amounts of cheese are eaten.  If this sounds like your idea of a great night out, then book your place today.

The next event will be on Thursday 14th June at 8pm, here in the shop.  Tickets cost £15 per person and we have an absolute maximum of 12 spaces available.

To reserve a spot, give us a call on 020 8944 5224, drop us an email or pop in to see us in the shop.

As a quick note to those of you who have been before, we always endeavour to show different wines and cheeses at each event, and to date we haven’t had any repeats, so you can feel safe that you will be trying something different should you choose to come again!

Wines on show this weekend

So whilst you’re popping in to book your ticket for the 14th, might you be interested in tasting a quick drop of wine.  This weekend, continuing our map-less tour of Italy, we have somehow managed to find ourselves back up in the North, in Piemonte no less.

All dressed in white, we have Semplicemente Vino Bellotti Bianco 2011 – £14.29.

Now this is a fully paid up, card carrying, hairy toed, sandal wearing, hemp suited, biodynamic, unfiltered, low intervention, natural yeast, additive free, scrumptious bottle of wine.

It’s brilliant –made from Cortese grapes (the grape more commonly associated with Gavi) we have a lovely fresh petal nose, a touch of lees (yeast) creaminess on the palate and a delicious ripe scrumpy apple finish.  If you ever drank Thatcher’s from the barrel then this is the wine for you….

Wearing the dark red suit with the velvet collar, we have Alasia Langhe Nebbiolo 2007 – £10.89.

Now one of the (numerous) secrets to making great wines that will age forever, is to also produce second wines that you can drink whilst waiting for the great wines to do their ‘maturing’ thing.

Step up Langhe Nebbiolo.

You’ve bought the Barolo, and it’s still a robust, tannic beast but you want something similar in style to drink now.  The nose is sweetly aromatic with hints of roses, tobacco and spice.  On the palate juicy cherry and berry fruits spring out, pursued by an earthy savoury finish with some firm but ripe tannins – it’s not Barolo, but it’s the next best thing, and it’s ready now…

And that’s just about that.  Champions league final tomorrow, Kenny Dalglish out, Michael Owen out, the start of the Test series, RIP Fergie – just imagine how much sport comment there would have been in here if Alex had written it….