Archive for February, 2013

One Direction, Pheasants Tears, Taste Alsace/Chile/Georgia

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Step aside Ms Harry, sit down Sharkey, Peel – there’s a new game in town…

So, fresh back from a late night out carousing in the West End with newly crowned global legends One Direction, Wayne was barely able to contain his enthusiasm for their new medley arrangement of ‘One Way or Another’ and ‘Teenage Kicks’: 

Alex, you have to realise that all the raw power and energy that the Undertones and Blondie brought to their performances has been smoothed off and replaced with a lovely, squeaky clean feel, overladen with saccharine smiles and tightly choreographed dance routines…

Elsewhere, it’s not been the best week:  the voice of Roobarb and the housewives favourite Richard Briers passed on; the Pistorius case seems to be getting darker and foggier with each passing day; Arsenal continue their rich vein of form; Parisse being banned cannot bode well for Italy; and it’s still pigging cold!

However let’s try and focus on the positives: if you’re planning on flying to Madeira this weekend then the daily temperatures seem to be between 16 -18 degrees Celsius; the days are getting longer; it’s nearly March; there’s going to be a variety of wine open for tasting this weekend…

Wines we already stock:

It’s been absolutely ages since we tasted a Riesling so we thought we’d stick the Cave de Hunawihr Reserve 2011 (£12.99) on the table this weekend.  Nicely aromatic, with classic notes of lime and grapefruit interwoven with floral, jasmine character and perhaps a hint of kerosene too?  Dry, medium bodied, lively, zesty and very versatile – if it was human it would be the life and soul of the party yet as a wine, it often remains a wallflower.

It’s been absolutely ages since we tasted a Carmenère, so we thought we’d continue the theme of welcoming back old friends.  De Martino Reserva ‘Legado’ 2010 (£12.49) is the choice here – rich plum fruit, a bit of tannic structure and a good length finish riddled with spice and warmth.  If it was human… oh stop it…

Wines we don’t stock, but are thinking about stocking and thought a few of you might be interested in trying them before we buy them so that you can then give us appropriate feedback:

The thing is we need help.  Our knowledge of Georgian wine is at best patchy and full of holes (no comparisons with the Arsenal defence necessary here Alex) but we thought perhaps if we all tried them together we might come to some sort of group decision.

Georgia has been cultivating grapes since BC 6000 and as such is considered by many to be the birthplace and cradle of wine production, and we have a white and a red to show you.

The white is called Iago’s Wine Chardakhi 2009 (£16 ish) and is made from the local variety – Chinuri.  The wine is both fermented and aged in traditional amphora (Kvevri) from vines over 50 years old.  The back label tells us that it has hints of wild peppermint and wild pear – to find out more pop in and take a gulp.

The red is named Pheasants Tears 2009 (£16.50 ish) and is made from the Saperavi grape.  With our newly discovered knowledge I can confirm that this wine is also produced using Qvevri (spelt with a Q this time) and these vessels are lined with beeswax and buried in the earth, in the traditional method.  Pomegranate, almond and tannins are all mentioned in the flavour profile, so we’ll see.

They’re both fully organic and hairy toed, I reckon they’re going to be really exciting and certainly eye –opening, so try something different this weekend!

Having taken John Peel’s name in vein at the beginning it is probably only fair I give the last words, allegedly uttered after his fiftieth birthday:

Think my chances of making the Liverpool side are gone now.  Might still be able to get a game at one of those London clubs though…

Yours, ever so sincerely,

Alex & Wayne

Pink Champagne, Armagnac, Cidre Breton

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s all over, red rover.  Pink champagne waltzed out the door, as did Armagnac and, possibly significantly, but I’m not sure why, cider was also a popular tipple on Valentine’s Day.  Best joke of the day, which came courtesy of Twitter:

–          Men discover quality florist that also sells fuel and pasties.

As we stride boldly towards the 50th day of 2013, it’s hard not to reflect on how much the world has changed over the last few years. 

We have papers filled with horsemeat, the only real conclusion being that it’s highly likely that most meat eaters will have ingested Shergar at some point; we have more pap-pictures of our future Queen in a state of undress; we have a retiring Pope; we have Paxman accused of bullying; and we have Oscar Pistorious – what strange times we do live in.

But here at PV our glass is always just over half full, so we embrace the fact that we might at some point have eaten a champion racehorse – how often can you say you’ve eaten a celebrity?

Speaking of glasses and their contents, this weekend we will taste a pair of wines that we have had on the shelves for ages, which we sell quite a lot of and yet strangely have never opened them on a weekend.  The two wines are from the same producer, Bergerie de la Bastide, which is in the Pays d’Oc region of France.  Great value (these are £7.49) and great tasting wines continue to pour from this area and hopefully you’ll agree. 

In the white the principle grape is Vermentino (30%) with the balance made up of Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon and Ugni Blanc.  There are dried herbs, white flowers, fennel, juniper, green olives and a nice tang of citrus on the finish to stop it running away with itself.

The red is 40% Grenache Noir, 30% Cinsault and 30% Merlot.  Loads of cranberries, redcurrants, and red cherries but reassuringly light, clean and fresh on the palate.  Exactly what you’d expect in your carafe at the bistro.

On a different note, we’ve just spent the whole of Thursday attempting to use our Microsoft Office 2010 which decided that our licence had been exceeded or something, so if anyone is an expert on the inner emotions of Microsoft software and has a good idea as to how we can seduce the system into working for us again, we’d love to hear from you!  Although, of course, if you’re getting this email it would imply we have cured the problem – perhaps.

That’s it from us – it’s half term next week, so the roads will be strangely quiet and the museums and cinemas will be teeming and more importantly we’ll be open every day offering our support and a safe haven on the journey back from the tube.

Toodle pip!

Alex & Wayne

Wombles, Wimbledon Common, Cheese & Wine Tasting, Wine School

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

A quick scan of this week’s news reveals politicians engaged in more yah, boo, sucks behaviour with particular “told you so” directed at Michael Gove, a dysfunctional NHS due to continual meddling and a targets culture, and another drugs cheat scandal, this time in Australia. Oh and we’re descended from rodents…

In more local news, it is with a huge gladness in our hearts that we wish the Wombles a happy 40th birthday this week. They have been providing service to the good folk of the area keeping Wimbledon Common ship shape and litter free since 1973. Thank you, and Happy Birthday.

Talking of local news…

Cheese and Wine Tastings – Dates for your Diary

We have updated our website with the new schedule. We will start at 8pm and the cost is still £15 per person. Numbers limited as usual.


Thursday 7th March

Thursday 25th April

Thursday 23rd May

Thursday 20th June

Thursday 18th July


Wine Club

We have quite a few members who like to take part in our monthly case club, getting a delivery of 6 bottles of deliciousness at the beginning of each month in exchange for either £50 or £100. For those of you interested but not partaking, we have attached this month’s selection.

Wine School

Wine School is in full flow, but several of you were unable to make this terms dates so we shall be running again starting on 1st May. 6 weeks on Wednesdays with again a break for half term (29th May). Full Details Attached. Dates 1st May, 8th May, 15th May, 22nd May, 5th June, 12th June.

The Feast of St. Valentine

Falls on Thursday 14th February. Woe betide anyone who forgets. We have several get out of jail free cards including Champagne Moutard Rose (£27.99), Passion Has Red Lips Shiraz Cabernet (£16.29), The Chocolate Block (£22.99) and, of course, Banyuls Rimage Clos de Paulilles (£13.99) that’ll go nicely with that box of chocolates.

Wine in a Glass

At last we get to the bit you’re all interested in. Loitering on the tasting table for your delectation this week will be Passion Has Red Lips 2011 Shiraz Cabernet £16.29 and Borgo Selene Bianco £7.99.

Step on by and join in the fun…

Wayne & Alex


Groundhog Day, Six Nations, Morton Estate Hawke’s Bay

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

A hearty welcome to February and a warm welcome back to the three of you who managed to stay off the grog for the whole of January. 

Now that all that January daftness is well behind us we can look forward to 28 days filled with rugby, half term skiing (we can all dream), St Valentine’s Day, Pancake day, Lent (no point in giving up booze again is there), and, news just in, International Condom Day on 14th February – not sure if this is about using or abstaining, but anyway, always nice to know that all the good work is being recognised, internationally.

Oh and it’s Groundhog Day tomorrow, Oh and it’s Groundhog Day tomorrow, Oh and it’s Groun…,

 –          This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.

Keeping with the US and for those of you who like a bit of pub trivia: the Superbowl is on Sunday and the opposing head coaches (of the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers) are brothers John and Jim Harbaugh.  Yes, I know, fascinating.

Back on home turf we have the start of the Six Nations, the timings of which are:

Saturday Wales v Ireland 13:30 and England v Scotland 16:00      

Sunday Italy v France 15:00

The PV predictor says home wins all round, but do bear in mind that this is a wine shop talking – you wouldn’t ask Manu Tuilagi for his opinion on the 2011 Burgundy en primeur campaign now, would you?

With all this going on we fully expect to see no one between 4pm and 6pm, but fear not we will be here, manning the pumps.  Plus, we’ve got beer in the fridge: Rocky Head Pale Ale (£3.00) brewed locally by superstar winemaker Steve Daniel; almost as local, from Battersea, we have Sambrook’s Junction, Pale Ale and Porter (£2.59) although no Wandle unfortunately, it’s still not in the bottle, next week I’m told… and then from the North – Chalk Farm from memory – we have the delicious Camden Wheat Beer (£2.29) and the Camden Hells Lager (£1.99).

For those of you who prefer their relaxation to be more wine-bottle shaped, we have plenty of wine, too many to list here, but we will have a couple of bottles open for tasting.  To maintain rugby neutrality (ish), we’ll crack a couple of bottles from the home of the current World Champions, or, as some might put it, England’s most recent scalp.

Both wines are from the Morton Estate Hawke’s Bay vineyards – the Chardonnay 2010 is rich and toasty with peach and pear notes, buttered toast and a super citrus laden finish that nicely tidies up the fruit richness.  The red is The Mercure 2009 a Bordeaux style blend, Merlot dominant but including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec to give the wine some structure and complexity alongside the supple plumy fruit.  Add a touch of spice, some rounded, soft tannins and we’re really cooking!  Both wines are £10.99.

Well that’s it for this week, pop along, have a glass with us, celebrate Groundhog Day, and with this in mind, over to you, Bill Murray:

–          I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piña coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over?

Over and out.