Archive for January, 2014

I’ve had enough of the dryathlon, I fancy a fun-filled February and I’m sick of seeing the Riedel glasses sulking at the back of the cupboard.

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I’ll start off by congratulating the English Cricket Team for retaining the Ashes.  Well done ladies perhaps you could offer coaching to your male counterparts!

Elsewhere the Six Nations starts this weekend with England away to France (17.00) and Wales hosting Italy in the early game (14.30) on Saturday, and Ireland hosting Scotland on Sunday with a 15.00 kick off.

It seems the army have been sent in to sort out the flooding on the Somerset Levels. I’m not sure that I think it’s wise myself, the news brought thoughts of King Cnut to mind!

Meanwhile, Mo Farah twitted a picture of his training run in sun drenched Iten (Kenya’s running capital!). Alex and I are wrapping up and running locally, none of this warm weather pampering the professionals get!

Finally, the hot wine news this week is that China has overtaken France as the biggest market for red wine with 1.8 billion bottles sold in 2013. Having mulled over those sales figures we think they’re not to be sniffed at!

Wine School

We sold out the February Course and the next course will start 23rd April 2014. Again we’ll skip a week for half term, full details attached.

Cheese and Wine Tasting

We have been nagged, quite frankly, because we haven’t given you all the cheese and wine dates. So we will kick off the Cheese and Wine sessions on Thursday 20th March at 8pm sharp here at the shop. All the usual rules apply: limited numbers, cheese by Norbiton, wine by us and comments by you. £20 per person, book your place now on 020 8944 5224 as usual.

Tasting this Weekend?

Oh yes please! I’ve had enough of the dryathlon, I fancy a fun-filled February, and I’m sick of seeing the Riedel glasses sulking at the back of the cupboard. What are you showing us?

This week we’ll tantalise your taste buds with a couple of newbies.

Casa Azul Chardonnay 2013 (£8.49) hails from Chile’s Central Valley, whilst Post Tree Pinotage 2011 (£9.69) rocked up from South Africa’s Riebeek Valley.

That’ll do for this week, have a great weekend folks!

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!

Friday, January 24th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Three weeks ago we were dancing around the living room belting out

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to min’? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And days o’ auld lang syne?

…or in fact we were trying to sing this, but in fact were shouting unintelligible faux-Scottish words which only became clear for the chorus bits before disappearing back to mumbled gobbledygook. 

Then Jools’ Hootenanny was put on and more fake Scottish accents were adopted for all The Proclaimers oeuvre – is it significant that we know more of the words to Letter From America than Auld Lang Syne? –  then suddenly it was 3am, it was January 2014, and I felt like I had walked 500 miles (could I walk 500 more? Maybe)

Anyway, this is all a longwinded way of showing that January belongs to Rabbie Burns, the man voted Greatest Ever Scot in 2009.  So we start the month with Auld Lang Syne, we then have a few quiet weeks respite before the big day, January 25th, Burns Night.  Scots and non-Scots alike, all around the world will be tucking into haggis, neeps and tatties tomorrow evening.  Bagpipes will be squawked, sporrans will be worn; cheeky girls will ask if it’s true what a Scotsman keeps under his kilt; cock-a-leekie, whisky and smoked salmon will be in abundance and then the Haggis will arrive and some poor soul will struggle to their feet and try to recite the following:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!  Aboon them a’ ye tak yer place, Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace

Address to a Haggis – a Robert Burns masterpiece and totally appropriate on what would have been his 255th birthday.

As you can tell I have indulged in a fair bit of internet research about the great man and have come up with a short checklist of key Burns facts, should the dinner conversation dry up:

  • ·         Burns more public statues around the world than any other writer.  Only Queen Victoria and Christopher Columbus have more statues (not including religious figures)
  •  ·         Auld Lang Syne is one of the three most popular songs in the English language – Happy Birthday and For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow being the other two
  •  ·         He was a philanderer.  In fact he probably designed the blueprint – take a look:

1785     Father for the first time, to Elizabeth, born to maidservant Elizabeth Paton

1786    Enters into ‘a form of wedlock’ with Jean Armour

1786    Father to twins Robert and Jean Burns, born to Jean Armour

1787     Father to a child, born to Edinburgh servant girl May Cameron

1788    Father to twin daughters, born to Jean

1788    Father to Robert, born to Edinburgh serving maid Jenny Clow

1789    Father to Francis Wallace Burns, born to Jean

1791     Father to Elizabeth (‘Betty’), born to barmaid Anna Park

1791     Father to William Nicol Burns, born to Jean

1792     Father to Elizabeth Riddell Burns, born to Jean

1794    Father to James Glencairn Burns, born to Jean

1796    Father to Maxwell Burns, born to Jean on the day of the poet’s funeral

  • ·         He was bound to win Greatest Ever Scot since most of the voters were related to him… ok, I made this up but it might seem plausible after the third dram…

So there you go, a potted guide to Mr Burns – hopefully more diverting than discussion of Justin Bieber’s drink-driving antics, Man United’s scrappy defeat to Sunderland or the Dutch research that claims central heating makes you fat.

Haggis Wine

There’s a plethora of choices out there to match the beast.  MacSweens recommend a lighter Italian red but I think this year I’m going to opt for Doural Tinto 2011 – £9.99 from the Douro in Portugal, purely because I think the rustic ripe fruit character will be a fantastic foil for the light spice of the meat – if you want to try it for yourself I’m going to have it open for tasting this weekend alongside a bottle of white, yet to be selected.

A few years ago I had a go at making haggis myself – it was very tasty but it made the kitchen smell offal!!

I’m here all week…

Alex & Wayne



Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Wine School and Wine Club

Friday, January 17th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I don’t know about you, but it seems like only yesterday I wrote to you all. I find time normally passes at a more sedate pace at this time of year, but this week has been fairly action packed.

We each spent a day at a seminar on South America that concentrated on Cabernet Sauvignon and its immediate family and provided us with the opportunity to taste some delicious and exciting wines (and a couple that weren’t!) from some new regions of Chile and Argentina with some European equivalents. Italian Carménère anybody? The panel consisted five top winemakers, a leading viticulturist and was chaired by award winning journalist and local boy Tim Atkin MW. We find that hearing it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, is always exciting, especially when it’s at the cutting edge like that.

We’ve done a fair few deliveries to members of the Park Vintners Wine Club this week too. This is where we deliver monthly a box of 6 or 12 bottles to your door. There is a six bottles for £50 or six bottles for £100 option, so if you like the sound of it drop us a line and we’ll sign you up. Details attached…

Wine School

Term starts 5th Feb, classes held at 8pm here in the shop (where we’re surrounded by wine!) and over six weeks you’ll taste about 60 different wines with no exam at the end. Does that sound like fun? We thought so and have attached details for that too.


I would like to announce at this point that, as ever, everything is for SALE in our shop.

To sweeten it a little though, we continue to offer our January deal where all wine is ‘6 for 5’.  This is not a ‘cheapest item free of charge’ offer either – it is a straight 16.66% discount, for those interested in the maths. 

Wine Tasting This Weekend

Very much a “we will if you will” scenario through January, last week you all lacked application frankly, and Alex was left tasting on his own, so this week I expect a bit more effort please!

Have a great weekend!

Wine School, January Sale and Weather

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

January has arrived in all its glory dragging with it a rash set of resolutions, a few people partaking in the dryathlon (not me guv!), another statement of support for Sam Allardyce, a transfer window and, of course, the start of our marathon training proper. It seems we are not alone, everywhere we run there are others and that certainly wasn’t the case two weeks ago!

So where do we start with the New Year? I think I’d like to start with looking for some new wines. We’ll be putting our palates through their paces over the next few weeks in the search for some freshness and excitement to keep your tastebuds tantalised and our shelves full of personality. We’ll both be brushing up on our knowledge as and when we get an opportunity too.

Wine School

This is what we get up to on a Wednesday evening.  We’ll be starting on the 5th February at 8pm here in the store. We’ll pull some chairs round the table, open around 60 different wines over the course of 6 weeks taste and discuss them with you, show you maps, answer questions even discuss the merits of oak, bubbles and blending. Overall its lots of fun, we try to keep Wayne’s jokes to a minimum and we promise no exams. The cost to you is £150 and that covers everything.

January Sales

We can’t offer you the cheapest running shoes in Wimbledon, a half price pewter tankard or an app for your iPlod that’ll drain Somerset.

What we are offering is a cheeky six bottles for the price of five on all wines whilst stocks last. For the number crunchers amongst you that’s a healthy 16.66% off your favourite tasty morsels, so don’t be shy drop in and walk away with a boxful!


This weekend sees the 60th Anniversary of TV weather broadcasts. We have no idea if they are more accurate these days but we’ve certainly moved on from the hand drawn maps.

Have a great weekend and wave if you see either of us out running!