Archive for June, 2012

22nd June Winemaker Tasting Giacomo Bindi

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So another weekend approaches with the summer weather playlist still on shuffle. Sport wise we have a spot of football action at the weekend, cricket is being played in wellies and Wimbledon is about to start. We find ourselves wondering if Prince William will go to Jimmy Carr (Jersey) Ltd for tax advice now that he has a fair amount of folding in his money clip.

Winemaker Tasting Wednesday 11th July at 8pm

We are taking a diversion from Cheese and Wine for July and are chuffed to announce that Giacomo Bindi from Podere Il Cocco will be joining us for a tasting of his wines.

Many of you will recognise this as the name behind both our delicious Brunato and Brunello di Montalcino. The estate is on top of Montalcino’s highest hill at around 600 metres and covers about 10 acres.

This is a great opportunity to meet the winemaker and hear about the process from the horse’s mouth as it were. He’s going to bring a couple of interesting bits along and we expect take up to be swift, so don’t miss out.

Cost is the usual £15 and places are limited.

Vintage Champagne

A few weeks ago Alex wrote about Moutard Grand Cuvée, our “go to” Champagne.

I was lucky enough to taste the 2002 Vintage again recently (last week of the Wine School to be exact) and I was reminded how good it is. Made from 100 % Chardonnay, it has a really elegant style, with some brioche notes and apple fruit.

Being such a good vintage its worth tucking a few away in the wine fridge too, to allow it to mellow and the flavours to evolve to more honeyed apple shortbread characters. We’ll confess to a bit of history here, a couple of years ago we drank some of his 1993 which was deliciously mature.

Moutard Pere & Fils 2002 – £43.99 (or buy six for the price of five!)

Tasting this Weekend – Sud de France

This is the last weekend of our mini feature on all that is great about the Languedoc Rousillon.


This week we’ll talk to you about Saint Chinian. About 20 km north of Beziers sitting in the foothills of the Cévennes it is a beautiful area with two distinct styles. Around the village itself, the clay soils give fruitier wines, whereas in the north, schist and sandstones dominate and this kind of acid soil retains very little water, and vine has to adapt to important droughts.


2008 Cazal Viel Vieilles Vignes Saint Chinian – £12.99

70% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre.  Cazal Viel, with its 135 hectares encompassing 92 different parcels, is the largest estate in St Chinian.  Their philosophy is fairly simple, they want to make the best Saint Chinian you can find.  We think they are doing a pretty good job, this old vine cuvée is rich and rounded with a little bit of grip to keep it honest.  Aged in second use barriques for 12 months to add a little smoky complexity.


Clearly we’ve only scratched the surface on our swift tour of the Languedoc so expect us to revisit it at points in the future.


To provide a bit of balance we’ll also scoot over to South-West France and get our tasting gear around 2011 Cuvée Jean-Paul – £6.79 which is a deliciously fresh blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc, with a zingy character that puts summer picnics firmly in your mind.


Think that’ll do us for this week except to say “Go on England”

15th June Fathers Day

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Queens tennis in the afternoon, Euro football in the evening, US Open Golf following on from that – it’s already a busy weekend in Park Vintners World (new theme park coming soon), before we’ve even thought about selling any wine!

Elsewhere the Leveson enquiry is keeping us all entertained, although it’s doubtful whether any findings will really affect the lives of us in the ‘real’ world; Spain is having a ‘Uganda’ moment, although we can confirm that temperature wise you would definitely prefer to be in Malaga rather than Merton; and Harry got the sack – finishing fourth in the Premiership is now considered failure, or are there more skeletons in the Redknapp cupboard yet to have their day in court?!

Don’t forget…

As I ran out of aftershave on Monday morning, it made me realise that we were rapidly approaching one of the most important days of this year (after the Gold Cup and Olympic Mens 100m, of course) – Fathers Day. 

Yes indeed, this Sunday, 17th June, is the day when men around the country are awoken by cold cups of tea and undercooked bacon sarnies, accompanied by more child-produced noise than is strictly necessary at 8am on a weekend morning… Go on Dad, enjoy your day.

However, if you had forgotten until now, we can help.

We have sturdy red wines, bubbles, Port, Whisky, sipping Gin, local beers and much, much more, all of which would work a treat to revive the aforementioned cold cup of tea…

Sud de France

As mentioned last week, we’ll be looking at wines from the south of France on our tasting table over the next couple of weeks.  This week we are visiting the Pays d’Herault.

Hérault is surrounded by the departments of Aude, Tarn, Aveyron, Gard, and the Mediterranean sea on the south. Top quality land here is hard to find, but ever-improving wine-making and use of top international varieties rather than lesser local ones, has resulted in wines of truly excellent quality.  Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache are the dominant red grapes, while Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Marsanne and Viogner are the main whites.

The reputation of Hérault received its biggest boost by the success of the wine Domaine Mas de Daumas Gassac, located to the north of Montpellier.

Aimé Guibert, the founder of the Domaine, planted an eccentric mixture of vines on fine, volcanic soil that was identified by oneologist Emile Peynaud to be capable of producing wines of Cru standard, which led to it famously being described as’ The First Growth of the Languedoc’ by vinous luminary Hugh Johnson – and over the last 30 years the wines have more than lived up to these words.

Now, having got your palates tingling in anticipation, I hate to say that we will not be showing the top wine this weekend (although we do have it in stock!) but will be showing the more everyday drinkers produced by the Domaine for enjoying whilst waiting for the top wines to grow into themselves.

Réserve de Gassac Blanc 2011 – £10.99:  Unoaked Viognier with the addition of Marsanne, Roussanne and Chardonnay.  Tropical fruits and herbs on the nose, soft and ripe on the palate, a good aromatic finish with a streak of minerality too.  Superb with snails…

Moulin de Gassac Classic Rouge 2010 – £8.99:  A blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache.  Typical wine of the region – a pleasantly spicy palate with abundant savoury red fruits, and an enduringly tasty finish.  On their website they recommend it with Chicken Tikka Masala, which seemed so out of character for a French estate that it has to be tried!

Oh, and did we mention, they’re both organic too.

So, you simply have to come and see us this weekend – if not to catch up on sport, then at least to buy a Father’s day gift – and whilst your here, you might as well try the wines too!

8th June Sud de France

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

The thing that caught my eye this week was news that the town of Dull in Perthshire, is pairing up with Boring in Oregon. There are signs going up in both places, and plans are afoot for t-shirts and parties! The fun just writes itself…population wise we have less Dull (84) and more Boring (10000) people. Dull community councillor Marjorie Keddie said “It might seem like a joke but this could have real benefits for Dull.”

Elsewhere it’s time for the Euros. I mean the football tournament rather than foreign exchange foolishness!

I don’t know about you but I’m quite looking forward to reading something about football rather than what may, or may not, be chanted on the terraces, and how big the police guns are in Poland.  What price a Rooney hissy fit before the end?

Coming Soon

Wayne snuck off to Clerkenwell this week to taste a couple of staggeringly good wines from the Mornington Peninsular. We’d tried to buy some already but the old vintage was finished. The good news though is that the new vintage is on a boat headed for Tilbury as we speak, so as soon as they are in we’ll let you know.

Cheese & Wine – 14th June 8pm £15.

We’ve ordered the cheeses already so that we pick them up in peak condition. We chose all French this time, just the wines to select now. Mmm.

Weekend Wine Tasting

We’ve linked up with Sud de France to try and bring some sunshine to our corner of SW19, so over the next few weeks we’ll have a waltz round the vineyards of the Mediterranean end of France.

We’ll start off with 2011 Domaine Antugnac Chardonnay (£10.99) which is from 50 km south of Carcassonne. The estate’s vineyards are planted on slopes at about 500m in a high valley in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Here we have shallow clay-limestone soils, where the cool night time temperatures’ mitigate the warm Mediterranean heat. I can tell you about the cool fermentation temperatures, the malolactic fermentation and the time resting on lees in tank but let’s face it what you want to know is… Does it taste good? Come try it and find out!

We’ll follow up with a red 2011 Domaine Massamier La Mignarde (£9.49) who can trace their history back to a Roman legionary called Maximus whowas given a villa on this land which still stands to this day. The estate is at Pépieux, in the heart of the Minervois, just below the Montagne Noir with its rich soils. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan, Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache, it displays typical southern French concentration of garrigue herby notes but with juicy red and dark fruits. Nice one Centurion!

See you at the weekend folks!