Archive for July, 2012

Sports Fest, London 1948

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,


It would appear that Alex’s call on the cricket last week was just a little on the hasty side. The word ‘thumping’ was well deployed though, given the batting displays we witnessed.


In our coverage of the world’s biggest sports fest (apart from the Tour de France obviously!) you will need to mentally time travel. I have looked at the list of things we are not allowed to say, whisper, or even think, in the wrong places, and have discovered that even the season between spring and autumn has been purloined. We shall in future refer to them as ‘London 1948’.

It seems London 1948 got off to a slightly iffy start, with no-cog displaying the wrong Korean flag! More positively, Team GB got off to a flying start with the ladies football team beating the Kiwis (who were managed by AFC Wimbledon’s first league captain!). The men’s footballers were distinctly average, only managing a draw with Senegal.

For me the fun really starts with the road race on Saturday, but I know a lot of people will enjoy the opening ceremony. In 1948 they released 2500 pigeons, the results of which are all around us. Let’s hope this year’s sheep don’t all head for Trafalgar Square too!

Just as the holiday season hits us hard and fast, an 11 year-old who was caught mid-air after boarding a plane without passport or ticket said he found it ‘easier than my homework’. Makes you wonder why it takes so long with a ticket and passport!


 Moving over to wine, news reaches us this week that Britons spent more on sparkling wine than champagne for the first time ever this year. At this point I’ll cheekily insert a sales plug for our Morton Estate Brut at £12.99, which is just perfect for a Fizz Friday! It’s certainly what I’ll be drinking with the opening ceremony.

Tasting this Weekend

Even if I am the only person left in Wimbledon Park this weekend there will be some wine open.

First up, a taste of sunshine with our favourite rosé, Chateau de L’Aumerade ‘Cuvée Marie-Christine’ 2011 (£12.49). It is a Côtes de Provence Cru Classé (Cru Classé since 1955) and a delicate blend of Grenache, Syrah & Cinsault, guaranteed to revive your taste buds.

Moving over to the red corner we will be breaking out Percheron Old Vine Cinsault 2011(£8.19), which is from 65 year old bush vines grown in Swartland, South Africa. Juicy and elegant with a light enough touch to count as a summery red, yet enough depth of flavour that it won’t be lost should the barbecue become involved.

So we wish good luck to all competitors, but may the really heavy yellow medals be placed on British necks.

As for Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, David Millar, Ian Stannard, Nicole Cooke, Lizzie Armistead, Lucy Martin, and Emma Pooley, I believe the correct terminology is “ALLEZ, ALLEZ, ALLEZ!”

Wayne & Alex

Schools Out, September Wine Course

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

All varieties of hell are about to break loose, from all directions. 

In no particular order: Wimbledon Park Primary School holidays start today, the Border Agency is going on strike on the eve of the Olympics, we’re about to thump the Saffa’s in the cricket and Bradley is owning the Maillot Jaune. 

On the weather front, and I quote the BBC here, there is cause for cautious optimism as the predictions for next week seem to promise unsettled weather focused towards the North, which will result in drier, more settled conditions in the south with some brighter, warmer weather.  

Looks like Lord Coe might just get away with it.

Perhaps the least astonishing news followed the investigation into the performance-enhancing claims of some popular sports products that found “a striking lack of evidence” to back them up.

A team at Oxford University examined 431 claims in 104 sport product adverts and found a “worrying” lack of high-quality research, calling for better studies to help inform consumers.

All this from the Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine.

A specialist team from Park Vintners, investigating similar claims relating to wine, can confirm that a chilled glass of white wine enhances any sunny afternoon whilst a decent glass of red will always improve a steak. 

Eat that, Nike…

Before you go…

Now I appreciate many of you will be escaping to distant beaches and far flung hotspots over the next six weeks but, before you go, can we just fast-forward to September.

After a couple of months of going home early on Wednesday evenings, Wayne and I have decided that watching CSI and getting an early night are massively over-rated.

So we will be re-starting our 6 week wine course in September, Wednesday September 19th to be exact.

A quick recap for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure:

This is a course that takes place over 6 consecutive weeks with the aim of demystifying the world of wine. 

Pitched at the keen amateur, we spend week 1 learning the basics of wine tasting and appreciation, weeks 2-3 are spent investigating white grape varietals, weeks 4-5 we focus on the red grapes, and then for week 6 we concentrate on sparkling wines and Champagne.

Throw in a bit of sweet wine, some rose, a few wine faults, printed handouts and a minimum of 8 wines tasted each week and you have a fantastic little course.  Well, we think so anyway…

Clearly we’re not organised enough to do follow up sheets at the end of the course, but, if we did, we hope they would say things like:

‘Awesome and eye opening’,

 ‘6 great weeks, I wish it had gone on longer’,

‘Fun and informative’

‘Wayne’s knowledge is encyclopaedic and his jokes are timeless!’


Anyway, if this appeals to you, we have attached a sensible flier to this email with more accurate information – but in a nutshell it starts Wednesday 19th September for 6 weeks, it costs £150 per person. We take a maximum of 12 people per course and it’s fun, yet educational!

Pitch over.

Weekend Wine tasting.

We’re both here this weekend for the first time in a few weeks, and we’ve both had our eye on a couple of wines we want to taste together.

From Portugal, we’ll be quaffing a white, Afros Vinho Verde 2010 £13.89. 

Now, both of us really enjoy Vinho Verde and this one has lovely green apple notes on the nose with hints of lees minerality, whilst on the palate we find delicious green fruits and a lovely long finish.  It’s ‘in conversion’ to organic practices and frankly I’m thoroughly looking forward to it and am more than happy to taste it more than once over the weekend!

An old favourite on the red side, Maison des Bulliats Regnie 2010 £9.99. 

The owners have a London base in Southfields, when they’re not crushing grapes or sticking on labels in Beaujolais, and we have been selling their delicious wine for about 5 years now.  Classic Gamay fruit, soft tannins and good length, this was selected by Jancis Robinson as one of the best 2010 Beaujolais.

As an added treat, we have a sample of their 2011 vintage to try as well, so we can compare the vintage similarities and differences.

That’s it from HQ, not much else to report: check your diaries for the wine course and enjoy the sunshine!

Brunello di Montalcino Tasting

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been a week that many people won’t want to see repeated. 

Ashley Cole won’t.  Natwest won’t.  Bob Diamond probably won’t, but it’s harder to tell with him.  Barclays certainly won’t, though.  Caroline Wozniacki won’t.  Rafa Nadal won’t, or Venus, and that bloke on Saturday night, wearing a silver bikini, clogs and a very bemused expression, certainly won’t!

Finally, with the announcement of the musical Viva Forever, based on the songs of the Spice girls, you and I won’t either!

However there must be some positives to be grabbed from the week.  The tennis has been on for four days now and the rain has thus far behaved itself.  Strawberries are absolutely at their best right now, and in abundance.  Even English Asparagus is still popping up, far later than normally expected.

So that’s sport, comment, musicals and food covered off, all that remains is the wine bit…

The Wine Bit

We mentioned last week that we have very special guest joining us for a tasting on Wednesday 11th July

When I say joining us, I think I probably actually mean hosting.

His name is Giacomo Bindi, he is not the youth goalkeeper for Genoa (bless you Wiki), but is in fact the industry behind the Podere Il Cocco wines.  His father is a Doctor, but rather than join the white jacket brigade, he decided to go and run the vineyard that the family have owned for the last three centuries – give or take.

Now, if we all had such choices to make, Harley Street would be full of wine shops…

And he is the real deal – he trains the vines, picks the grapes, makes the wine, does a bit of bottling,  has even been known to stick a few labels on too… he gets involved in the process from start to finish and as such has great authority.

Let’s face it, last time we met him, he was confident enough to taste a flight of deep red wines whilst wearing a snow-white cashmere sweater – and it was still white at the end – legend!

So, what are the wines he’s going to show?

Being based in Montalcino he is clearly very red focused.  His top wines are, of course, Brunello di Montalcino, he also produces a Rosso di Montalcino and his early drinking wine Brunato for while you’re waiting for your cellar full of Brunello to come of age.

Confirmed shows:

2004 and 2005 Brunello.  Hopefully we might also see the 2006 and 2007, but this is subject to Giacomo getting them on the plane.

Rosso 2008. The 2009 vintage is also subject to flight regulations.

Brunato 2010.  This only needs to be taken off the shelf here, so I foresee no difficulty!

So it should be a cracker, a great opportunity to meet the thinking behind the wine and ask those silly questions that seem so sensible when the wine is flowing… oh no, of course that would never happen.

Wednesday 11th July – 8pm – in the shop – £15 per person.  Check the diary now.

This weekend

I fully suspect we’ll be opening some wine.

In the white hat, I rather fancy the Puzelat-Bonhomme Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – £13.59 which is a lovely herby, cut grass Touraine character.  For me this really puts many wines from more famous appellations to shame.  Gorgeous.

In the red hat, a wine that we were both absolutely gobsmacked when we discovered we hadn’t shown it before – Domaine de Coyeux, Beaumes de Venise 2007 – £13.99.  B de V is very famous for its sweet Muscat wines, but in fact their reds are very often far more exciting.  A classic Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, we’ve got bagfuls of fruit, hints of spice, dashes of chocolate and the word ‘barbecue’ written all over it.  Or stew, if the storms arrive…

So pop by and say g’day – the Tour de France starts this weekend, and I have Wayne studiously researching the route in order to botch together a T de F Wine Map, although thus far most research has involved him drinking wine whilst watching last year’s highlights…

Over and out.