Archive for December, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Our final missive of the year finds us standing in the shop writing an email to say:

·         Thank you all for reading each week, we’ve been amazed by your application

·         Thanks to those of you have dedicated yourselves to improving our grammer, we do note your comments and continually try to improve

·         We’ll have a January Sale that starts on Saturday 4th January and runs till we sell out or 31st January arrives whichever happens first. 6 bottles for the price of 5 on all wine!

·         If you are becoming a dryathlete for January why not sign up for Wine School which starts on 2nd February and is a fine way to get back in the saddle.

Thanks so much for all your support throughout 2013 and we’d like to wish you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.

“And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp ! and surely I’ll be mine !

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.”

Wayne & Alex

Christmas Crackers, Champagne Moutard, Paringa Estate & Surveyor Thomson Explorer

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers

Christmas Crackers

In early 1830, Tom Smith started work as a young boy in a bakers and ornamental confectioners shop in London. He sold sweets such as fondants, pralines and gum pastilles. He worked hard and took particular interest in the wedding cake ornaments and decorations. He experimented and created new, more exciting and less crude designs in his spare time. Before long he was successful enough to start his own business in Goswell Road, Clerkenwell, East London.

Tom Smith was adventurous and forward thinking, often traveling abroad to search for new ideas. It was on a trip to Paris in 1840 that he first discovered the ‘bon bon’ – a sugared almond wrapped in a twist of tissue paper. It was a simple idea which, over the next 7 years, would eventually evolve into the Cracker.

He decided to bring the ‘bon bon’ to London and during Christmas that year, they sold extremely well. In January however, the demand virtually ceased and once again he was reliant on sales of cakes, table decorations and ornaments. Anxious to develop the ‘bon bon’ idea further and to stimulate sales, Tom Smith decided to place a small love motto in the tissue paper. He encouraged his regular customers to take supplies, of which many did, and within a short while, orders were sufficiently high and sales profitable enough for him to increase his staff.

By now, Tom knew he had a unique and potentially very commercial idea. He decided to take a risk and concentrate on developing it further, while still running the wedding cake ornament and confectionery business which was by now, very well established. At this time, the majority of ‘bon bons’ were still sold at Christmas and Tom began to think up ways to capitalize on this short but very profitable season. He needed to make his ‘bon bons’ even more appealing. It was the crackle of a log as he threw it on his fire that gave him the flash of inspiration which eventually led to the crackers we know today.

(Wayne saw this in a Christmas Cracker we suspect was supplied by

Tasting This Weekend

We’ll start you with something suitably festive, Champagne Moutard Brut Grand Cuvee  NV (£26.99). We’ll follow swiftly with Paringa Estate Peninsula Chardonnay (£28.99) which we think is one of the finest drops you’ll find on Mornington Peninsula. Our world tour cruises into Central Otago with a taste of Surveyor Thomson Explorer Pinot Noir (£23.99). Then we’ll be passing to the left with Krohn Colheita 1995 (£26.99), a tawny port, bottle this year having been aged in barrels since 1995.

Mince pies this week are Waitrose Shortcrust. The homemade ones are still in the lead…

We are open on Sunday this week 11-3 pm if you run out of Saturday before you run out of things to do.

Local delivery is still available until we close on Monday.

Opening Hours

Monday 23rd Dec 11am-8pm

Tuesday 24th Dec 10am-5pm

25-27th Dec CLOSED

Saturday 28th Dec 11am-6pm

Sunday 29th Dec 11am-3pm

Monday 30th Dec 11am-8pm

Tuesday 31st Dec 11am-6pm

Too Late?

Of course you’re not too late. There is still time to book onto the Park Vintners Wine School. Term starts Wednesday 5th Feb at 8pm. £150 will book your place.

Champagne, Bordeaux, Puligny Montrachet

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

A scene that might strike a chord with a few of you…

You wake up in the half light of the morning, the bed is warm, the room is cold and there is damp in the air.  Whilst defrosting your contact lenses, you open the curtains and gaze out onto a blanket of fog – no mountains to be seen.  As the aromas of coffee creep up the stairs you descend into the kitchen and are greeted loudly by loud people who are far too awake for this time of the morning, but you crack on, drink your coffee, make some packed lunches, eat a banana and go to get dressed.  Warm.

As you step out of the front door at half eight, cold mist catching in your throat, you know one thing – it’s going to be a good day, the fogs will clear as the sun burns them off, the mountains will re-appear and the skiing will be glorious…

But you’re not in the Alps, you’re in Wimbledon Park and the only thing the fog is hiding is the cars on the other side of the street.  Get the kids dressed and fed, wrap the packed lunches and then out of the door at half eight – as the mist catches your throat, you know one thing – you’re going running in this, who’s stupid idea was it to do the marathon, the weather has to be better than this in April….

Loving the marathon training, loving the damp mornings, loving the lycra, loving it all – and to make matters worse it is apparently frowned upon to carry a hipflask of sloe gin when doing training runs!

Post-run warm down

Having had the virtues of winter running extolled so positively I expect you all to don your Saucony’s tomorrow, hit the pavements and cover some serious terrain.  Afterwards, once you’ve showered, spread a feeling of smug over all those who haven’t exercised yet, eaten a fry up and read the paper you will be in need of a final post-run warm down – the walk to the wine shop seems just the ticket.

When you get here we can offer you a refresher of Champagne Beaumet 2004 (£35.99) followed up by a taste of Domaine Patrick Miolane Puligny Montrachet 2011 (£31.99).

As we are concentrating on France this week we thought we would open the Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire 2010 (£11.99) and follow this up with, from Listrac-Medoc, Chateau Fourcas Dupré 2001 (£26.49).

Oh go on, as it’s Christmas and you’ve all been for a run, how about we open a sweetie too: that’ll be the ‘No-name’ Sauternes 2010 (£25.00) – delicious, unctuous, mouth-wateringly more-ish and definitely not made by the most famous sweet wine producers in the world…

Keep the spirits up

We mustn’t let Wayne finish off this bottle of King’s Ginger by himself, not after last time, so do please come in and try the spirits we have open.  Don’t think of it as depriving him, think of it as helping him with his training.

So swing on by this weekend, mince pies will be available, the current favourite by a long chalk were the ones made by one of our Aussie customers last week, but this week we are likely to be trying out Waitrose, or perhaps Sainsbury’s, or perhaps both – in which case we definitely need to go for that run then!

Spirit of Christmas

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Fellow Wine Lovers,

According to absolutely everybody with a vested interest, we now have only 18 shopping days until Christmas – no vested interests here, just thought you’d like to know!

By an astonishing coincidence during this period we will be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday until 8pm.  To keep us out of the pub we will also be open on the two Sunday’s surrounding Christmas between 12 – 3 for some gentle shopping and chat, should you so desire.

(‘Hit them early with the sales pitch’ the instructor said, ‘then soften it with a self-deprecating anecdote…’)

So we are now three years old.  Tuesday was the momentous day, celebrated, somewhat bizarrely in my household, by a feast of Haggis, neeps and tatties.  Talisker 10 year old as the gravy – top notch.  However, I digress.  It became apparent quite soon after we sent last week’s email that our my train of thought can drift perpendicular to the norm and sometimes clarification is needed, so here is my official statement:

Last Friday, 29th November I commented on some items that had appeared in the news at a particular time and related them to the opening of our shop on the cold Friday that was 3rd December 2010.  All the news articles were from that day – if I knew the Thunderball numbers before the draw has been done I would be in a very different place right now!  I know we weren’t playing Ashes cricket last week and that Gavin Henson isn’t currently on Strictly….

As a result I apologise to everyone that was misled – I am a bad, bad man.   A touch disappointing though that the news has changed so little in 3 years that it all the headlines still seems plausible…

(‘Now focus them back onto the here and now…’ interjected the instructor as the whole email started to ramble off track)


December is brilliant.  We get to open bottles that for the rest of the year we gaze longingly at and all with the purpose of finding ‘that’ wine for Christmas day.  As with most of what we do here, we don’t have a definitive, one word solution – just a whole bucket full of great ideas for what to drink on December 25th. 

One of my customers this week said it was almost treasonable not to drink a couple of bottles of Champagne whilst decorating the tree, another swore that his wait on Amazon was only made bearable by the presence of a bottle of claret, a third always stocks up on fancy spirits at this time of year since, for him, Christmas is all about cocktails.  We sent them all off into the night laden down with treats galore and now it’s your turn.

This weekend we’ll be tasting a little bit of Italy as we like Italy, just a little.

The white will be the ever popular Roberto Sarotto Gavi di Gavi Bric Sassi Della Maddalena 2012 – £12.99.  The Sarotto family has been making wine on this estate since the 1800’s but have only bottled their own wines since Roberto Sarotto graduated from winemaking school. The 50 year-old Cortese vines, grown at altitude in the Maddalena vineyard, deliver a crisp wine displaying ripe, rich white peach flavours, a stony minerality and a long fresh finish.  Delicious.

The red will be a new listing that we’ve had our eye on for a few months now: Antonio Vallana Gattinara 1998 – £33.99.  Excellent Nebbiolo from Piedmont does exist outside the words Barolo and Barbaresco and this one, with a decent number of years on the clock, has your name written all over it


Following on from a successful week out and about at a number of different schools I find myself surrounded by open bottles of spirits – just don’t ask.  Anyway here’s a quick list of what spirits we have right now, and what you can taste…

Bepi Tosolini Cividina Tipica Grappa £27.99       

Colazingari Sambuca Fina £22.99    

Saliza Amaretto Veneziano £25.99    

Limoncello £21.99            

Mamont Vodka £35.99 COME AND TASTE!

Zuidam Dutch Courage Dry Gin £33.99 COME AND TASTE!

Dodd’s Gin £37.50           

Cremorne Gentleman Badger’s Sloe Gin £24.49    

Doorly’s XO Barbados Rum £32.49  

Ardbeg Uigeadail £60.00         

Clynelish 1997 Coopers Choice Bottling £55.00    

Finlaggan Old Reserve Islay £29.99 COME AND TASTE!

Nikka from the Barrel £37.69  

Maxime Trijol VSOP Cognac Grande Champagne £48.00        

Chateau du Breuil VSOP Calvados £34.99  

Clos Martin Folle Blanche VSOP £34.59      

Romate Solera Reserva £21.49            

The King’s Ginger £22.99 COME AND TASTE!

Kingston Black Apple Aperitif £9.99 COME AND TASTE!

Angostura Aromatic Bitters £8.99    

Creme de Cassis Briottet 15% £13.99