Archive for October, 2013

Spain, Spain, Spain…

Friday, October 25th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So there’s been controversy in Germany as the USA has allegedly been spying on Mrs Merkel. Call me old fashioned but I grew up expecting that kind of thing to be happening in Berlin. Does nobody read John Le Carré anymore?

We’ve been up to our eyeballs in tastings these last few weeks and this week saw us finish term in our Wine School, next term starts late January, watch this space!

We also had a lovely group in for our Spanish Cheese & Wine Tasting. We chomped on fine cheeses from around Spain, partnered them with an eclectic selection of wines (also from Spain), pondered on the merits of wine, cheese and the universe and generally had a good time.

Forthcoming Tastings

We still some space left on the Champagne & Sparkling Tasting 27th November 8pm at £25 per person.

Two places left on the Bordeaux Tasting with Jeremy which is the 14th November at 8pm priced at £15 per person.


I’m really not sure why I thought of this but should you be on the cusp (or indeed have been in St James’ this week) of becoming a godparent we have just the thing for you!

2011 Warre’s Vintage Port – £62 – “Sweet, warm and mellow, with fresh pure blackberry and black cherry fruit, yet fresh with amazing purity, concentration and depth. Seductive and compelling. Score: 94–96/100” Jamie Goode,

Tasting This Weekend

As you may have gleaned from the intro we’re all about Spain this week. Alex has had chick peas for lunch, Wayne’s had chorizo with his scrambled eggs, and you folk are having Campos de Celtas 2011 Albariño (£12.99) in your white glass, Mentoste Rioja Reserva 2001 (£13.99) in your red glass, and for good measure we’ll open a sherry in the form of El Maestro Sierra’s Oloroso (£9.99 37.5cl) which is from a 15 year old Solera system.

A plea from Alex on behalf of Wayne…

Being consummately unprofessional as you know by now, we are adding a personal request into what should be a work email.  Sorry in advance, but hopefully one of you might be able to help.

We’re running the London Marathon next year.  Clearly the plea should be along the lines of ‘please take us out and shoot us now!’, but it’s not.

Alex has a place already, so is definitely running next April.  Wayne however, in spite of the fact that he has applied regularly over the years, currently has no place.  He hoped to run for the Stroke Association but they let him down earlier this week.  Another charity close to his mum in Essex also was unable to give him a place.

Right now he is happy to run and raise money for anyone who will have him since he is very keen to run next year because:

a)     He wants to do it whilst he believes he can still run that far

b)     He wants to do it before he’s old enough to be specially interviewed as ‘a plucky pensioner

c)      He wants to beat Alex, in public, on TV

d)     Once it’s done he doesn’t have to do it again so he can return to falling off his bike into puddles!

So if anyone has a pet charity, works for a charity, has a place they don’t want to use, has any sensible suggestions as to how he might get in then that would be really helpful and he will love you forever, or not if that’s what you’d prefer…

Frankly, the last thing either of us want to do is dress up as a pantomime horse and pretend to be just one runner, so please help us!!

Anyway I’ve taken up enough of your time now, please join us this evening or tomorrow for a scoop of wine and sherry, some Catalan almonds and some delicious habas fritas.

¡Adios y hasta mañana!

Juan y Alejandro

Chocolate, Banyuls and Wine Tastings

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

First a word from Roy:

I would like to apologise if any offence has been caused by what I said at half-time.

There was absolutely no intention on my part to say anything inappropriate. I made this clear straight away to the ball in the dressing room.

I also spoke to the ball again on Wednesday.  Mr Ball has assured me and the FA (Football Association) he did not take any offence, and understood the point I was making in the manner I intended.

When I said that we should try and kick the ball, head the ball, strike it into the back of the net, put it in the corner, run off it, run with it, lob it, throw it, block it, stick it in the corner, attack it, possess it and take every opportunity to have a free kick I was speaking recklessly and without thought to the consequences of my words, the effect they could have on impressionable youngsters, or the possible long term effect they might have on Mr Ball and his family.

However, thanks to the tenacity of one of the people present at the team talk and the vigilance of the press, I now realise that my language was archaic, the remnant of a bygone era and to talk of Mr Ball in such language has no place in the modern game.

I apologise, will be seeking counselling for my behaviour and will endeavour to improve my repertoire of jokes.



How did it get this close to Saturday before we realised it was Chocolate Week?  Could it be because…

·         Alex doesn’t eat Chocolate

·         Wayne only ever reads ‘proper’ news

·         our wives intake of the aforementioned product doesn’t seem to have spiked sufficiently for us to notice

Anyway, for all of you with fingers more on the pulse than us – who normally remain oblivious of its existence until it’s going at 160bpm, here is our absolute best recommendation for chocolate and wine:

Banyuls Rimage Clos de Paulilles 2011 (£13.99), made from Grenache Noir with a touch of Carignan, right down where France turns into Spain, this is a rare, red, fortified wine packed with ripe, red fruit spice, hints of mocha and nuts. The red fruit flavours of raspberries and plums marry beautifully with a chunk of bitter dark chocolate or perhaps even a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!  Alex prefers it with a cup of strong black coffee if that seems more appealing…


Here is a status update for those of you still flicking through you diaries:

Wine & Cheese Tasting (Spain) – Thursday 24th October – 8pm – £15 eachSOLD OUT

Bordeaux Tasting – Thursday 14th November – 8pm – £15 each – 3 spaces left

Sparkling Wine & Champagne Tasting – Wednesday 27th November – 8pm – £25 each – 6 spaces left

Wine & Cheese Tasting (Christmas) – Thursday 28th November – 8pm – £15 eachSOLD OUT

Sparkling Wine & Champagne Tasting – Thursday 5th December – 8pm – £25 eachSOLD OUT

Le Weekend

Another week done, time for a drink. 

We’ve been slumbering all week whilst you’ve all been hard at it, noses to the grindstone etc and now it’s time for us to stand up, stretch our legs and offer you some assistance.  Would you perhaps like a taste of wine whilst you peruse the shelves?  This week we have open a red and a white from the Pays d’Oc region of France – Bergerie de la Bastide (£7.89)

The white is Vermentino (30%) with the balance made up of Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon and Ugni Blanc.  Dried herbs, white flowers, fennel, juniper, green olives and a nice tang of citrus all make an appearance here, the citric finish tying it all in beautifully.

The red is a typical blend of the region – 40% Grenache Noir, 30% Cinsault and 30% Merlot. Cranberries, redcurrants and red cherries all make an appearance here but the fruit is reassuringly light, clean and fresh on the palate.  In France you’d drink 3 tumblers of this over lunch!

So here’s the plan – finish work, come and see us, taste wine, go home.  Saturday, buy chocolate at de Rosier, come and see us, taste wine, go home.  Sunday, well I suggest we chill on Sunday…

At soon or, as they say in France, à bientôt!

Nova Domus, Tschida Samling TBA and Champagne & Sparkling Tasting

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been a whirlwind folks.

There’s the whirlwind of wine-tastings that have seen us up late on several consecutive evenings.

The whirlwind of cold air that brought sweaters out of wardrobes and blew our a-board over.

The whirlwind of press coverage & regulation, Nobel prizes, kidnapped Prime Ministers and Bridget Jones.

We’re here to tell tales of wine, not wind…

Wine News

We’ve spoken here several times about the difficult vintage being experienced across France, hail, late harvest etc. We have also spoken with several of you about this idea of importing grapes and making wine in SW6.

Well this week news reaches us that the chaps in SW6 have had to change some of their plans because the contracted grapes are not ripening. Plans for Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux have become plans for Barbera from Piemonte.

What we still don’t understand is why you have to ship the grapes to SW6; surely moving the winemaker those 1500km is easier from a quality control point of view?

We filled a few gaps at the posher end of Italy this week. From Alto Adige we have Cantina Terlan’s flagship white in Nova Domus 2011 (£36.99). We’ve been fans of Cantina Terlan for a long while and frankly can’t explain why it’s taken us this long to list one.

Then slip along the shelf to Veneto and check out Amarone Della Valpollicella Classico Le Salette 2009 (£34.99). Some of you know that I have form for Amarone, so it’ll come as no surprise to discover I made a beeline for this at a recent tasting. A real velvet glove of a wine, I’m currently examining various Heath Robinson solutions to smuggle some home without Mrs Wayne noticing!

Finally, just to tickle your cockles we bought a new sweetie. We’d been chatting about it with our chum Mark for a while, but just hadn’t managed to taste it till two weeks ago. Oh-My-Word…Tschida Sämling Trockenbeerenauslese 2007 (£40 37.5cl) is a mouthful in more than just name. Rich concentrated fruit, floral aromas, a lush persistent sweetness kept perfectly in line with crisp, pure acidity, bringing elegance and a finish that lasted for most of the tube journey back from Westminster. I, for one, can see why Hans Tschida has been name International Wine Challenge’s “Sweet Winemaker of the Year” for the last 4 years in a row.

Windmill Market

Alex will be manning our stall from 10-2pm at St Marks Church Hall for this year’s last Windmill Market. Stop by and say hi if you’re there, I’m sure he’ll offer you a taste of something!

New Champagne & Sparkling Tasting Date

Our Champagne & Sparkling tasting sold out very quickly, and several of you have asked if we’ll do another date. Having examined the diary 8pm on Wednesday 27th November looks like a goer. Again it’ll be £25 per head so let us know if you’d like to attend.

Tasting this weekend

All this talk of new wine has got me going, we’ll taste a couple of newbies starting with Mezzogiorno Fiano 2012 (£8.69) a cracking mid-weight white from Puglia with nutty and limey citrus notes. Standing in the red corner will be Chateau Durandeau 2006 (£9.99) a lovely rounded Merlot dominant claret .

…and finally

We’ll be closing at 7.30 this evening as we’ll be conducting private off-site tasting, apologies.

Chocolate Block, Frank Sinatra, #MoutardRoutard

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

‘Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today….’

That’s all I heard yesterday from Wayne.   Oh, and Fly me to the Moon, My Way, Love and Marriage, Strangers in the Night to name a few others. 

Then he would do a slightly odd hipsway, tip an imaginary fedora, break out the jazz hands and round it all off with the question ‘do you think I look like Dad?’

I blame Ronan Farrow.  Ever since Wayne read his tweet on Wednesday stating:

 ‘Listen, we’re all *possibly* Frank Sinatra’s son.

He has been convinced of this possibility.  He rang his Mum to double check – her immediate denial being seen by him as being a little too convincing, her ‘don’t be daft, you plonker!’ a little too forced, and her ‘I’ve never been to America and I don’t think Frank ever came to Leigh-on-sea’ the final proof, if any was needed, of intimacy – she’d called him Frank!

Perhaps now you can all understand the stresses of the Park Vintner’s workplace – a place where I am forced to work with a fabulist that makes up tall tales and fantasies without blinking an eye….

Back in the real world

Speaking of Twitter you may remember a little while back the #moutardroutard competition we launched – the last day for entries was Monday 30th September.  On Tuesday, we assembled a crack team of art critics (or to be more accurate Brian Sewell walked past the shop) and got down to the judging process.  Imagine our surprise when we discovered that our wives had won the bottles of Champagne – and only one of them had even entered!!

Smelling a rat we convened a second hanging committee and came up with two winners.  The first was the lady who managed to tweet a photo, within an hour of our first launching the competition, from Westward Ho! – very impressed that she had packed bubbly and also delighted she read our email!

The other bottle goes to the family who transported a bottle to Turkey, proceeded to win a tennis competition and then celebrated with Moutard out of paper Pepsi cups.  Kudos.

So we have Moutard waiting here for the two winners – hopefully they know who they are…

Forthcoming tastings

As mentioned last week, we have put some dates in the diary and it seems you have also put dates in your dairies.  The Christmas Wine & Cheese affair and the Sparkling wine and Champagne event on Thursday 5th December are completely sold out, and the other tasting – Bordeaux on Thursday 14th November is half full.  As usual we’ll start at 8pm here in the shop and the cost is £15.

Call us on 020 8944 5224 to grab one of the remaining slots…

Chocolate Block 2011

Our supplier has a hard time with his stock control clearly.  We have just received 30 bottles of this wine – something we thought had sold out.  Not to worry though, it’s nice to have it back on the shelf!  Still retailing at 2,299p.

Tasting this weekend

Frank Jr is in charge this weekend and, given his current state of mind, we should probably be showing the Smoking Loon wines, but we won’t mock the afflicted.  Instead we’ll be showing Manawa Riesling 2011 from Marlborough, New Zealand (£12.49) and the newly returned The Crusher Pinot Noir 2012 from Clarksburg, California (£13.29).

And finally, Mia Farrow…

… who has been the unwitting inspiration for this email.  All this *possibly* malarkey came about as a result of Vanity Fair talking to her and 8 of her 14 adopted and biological children. 

That’s a lot of names to remember, let alone remembering who their fathers are for sure, Mia…

I’ll leave the last words to the Chairman of the Board:

Alcohol may be man’s worst enemy, but the bible says love your enemy.

Thank you, and goodnight.

Alex & Wayne