Archive for April, 2014

Introducing Lledoner Pelut, which we are told is related to Grenache and apparently has hairy leaves!

Friday, April 25th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Whew! What can we say?  The whispering Scot has been given the old heave-ho just before the end of the season and the gobby one from the class of ’92 steps up to the plate for the last few games.  Will he be any good or are all his skills in sniping.  We watch and wait!

Elsewhere the BBC has been fielding complaints about the mumbling in their recent Jamaica Inn, I have to say we gave up after 20 minutes on episode 1.

Whilst we’re shooting the breeze about Cornwall we notice the Cornish are over the moon at being granted “minority status for their culture, language, and identity” which puts them on a par with Wales, Scotland, and Ireland.  Ideal.  It’s only a question of time before Mr Clarkson upsets them I’m sure!

In wine news, an app has been developed that will help root out the growing problems of wine counterfeiting that is happening in China.  Talking of which, some of you may remember us reporting the sale of a 1787 bottle of Chateau d’Yquem as the world’s most expensive white wine some time back.  Well it seems the chap who paid the $100,000 is now suing the seller alleging the wine to be counterfeit.  We’ll keep you informed!  As Jancis Robinson wrote today in her Purple Pages email: ‘if I have one piece of advice from this unsavoury episode, and indeed in general, it is this: do not on any account pay a four-figure sum (much less the five-figure one asked for the Yquem) for a bottle of wine.  Why would you, when there are so many absolutely delicious bottles available for two-digit sums?’

Case closed.

Cheese and Wine

Thanks to all who attended our Cheese and Wine tasting last night, great fun was had by all. The next one is Thursday 22nd May at 8pm.

£20 per person as usual, give us a bell if you’d like to join the fun: 020 8944 5224.

A Certain Age?

If you’re having a 40th birthday (or know someone who is) we have just the thing for you.

Kopke 1974 Colheita Port – £90 

Colheita is an aged tawny style of port from a single year.  By law they must be aged for a minimum of 7 years but in practice often for much longer.  This beauty we tasted in February just a couple of weeks after it was bottled.  Talk about liquid loveliness…it had it all going on with subtle cherry fruits, caramel, a touch of almond and honey maybe even a gentle roast coffee bean thing… wowsers, a glass that really commanded our attention.

Anyway, we think it’d be a lovely way to celebrate being 40, it’s had a great life, hanging around in a barrel (known here as a pipe!) for 40 years, getting more complex and softer with age before bottling in January.

If you’d like a bottle let us know, otherwise we’re quite happy to keep it for ourselves!

Time to Exercise DemocracyTime & Leisure Food and Drink Awards

For the last two years you’ve all been kind enough to vote for us in the “Best Wine Retailer” Category which resulted in us winning.  We’d love to win for the 3rd year running so please vote for us on the link below and tell all your friends too.

There’s also the European elections coming up but we’re not running in those…

Tasting this Weekend

We’ll taste Domaine Treloar’s One Block Grenache 2011 (£11.99) as our red wine which, as the name suggests, is 70% Grenache with a large splash of Lledoner Pelut (30%) which we are told is related to Grenache and apparently has hairy leaves.  Pronunciation competition to follow.  Meanwhile, white wine wise, Alex is pulling corks on our Côtes du Rhône Blanc ‘La Fleur Solitaire’ 2012 (£10.79) which is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne.  We think they’re both delicious, they think we’re fab, come and see what you think!

Yeghes da!

Marathon Results, Boekenhoutskloof Chocolate Block, Easter Opening Hours

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Whilst we wait for Wayne to finish his Reverse Warrior Pose and I calmly rise from my Salutation Seal, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the support and sponsorship you showered on us for the London Marathon.  We are truly grateful and can happily report that we both made it round, we both got a medal which must mean we won something, and we both waddled into work on Monday afternoon at 3pm, having ‘worked from home’ in the morning, without the aid of sticks or zimmers.  Wayne was back on his bike yesterday, I went for a swim last night, both of our wineglasses were filled to the brim on Sunday night, so life has now returned to as close to normal as it ever gets.

For the stat minded amongst you, Wayne completed it in 4.27, I did it in 4.40, we raised over £3,000 for The Children’s Trust and each expended over 5000 calories.  According to my watch I ran 28 miles which would imply I was weaving around a bit and I stood in a queue for the loo just before Tower Bridge for 7 minutes.  There you go, you wanted stats.

When I say life has returned to normal, I lie a little.  Shop life in Arthur Road is never normal in school holidays, even less so in the week before the 4 day weekend, so I fully expect to see a mountain of ‘I am out of the office until Tuesday 22nd April’ messages in response to this email.

For those of you who are still around, here is everything you need to know for the coming weekend.


We are open today (Thursday) until 8pm as usual. 

Tomorrow being Good Friday, we are only open from 11am until 3pm to cover the lunchtime quaffing. 

Saturday we’ll be here beaming with bonhomie from 10am until 6pm.

Sunday and Monday we will be closed whilst we embark on a Marathon (or should it be Snickers) of chocolate consumption followed up by a spot of DIY with perhaps a splash of car-washing.  Living the dream my friends, living the dream.

WINE SCHOOL – Wednesday 23rd April – Wednesday 4th June

So, don’t tell all the folks who are out of office, but we still have a few seats at the table for our next wine course which starts next Wednesday.  It will change your life, your confidence when confronted with winelists will be boosted and, as recent participants have testified, it will change your Wednesday evenings and perhaps your Thursday mornings too!


It’s that time again when we beg for your votes.  We are still awaiting the complete details and once we know we’ll let you know and hopefully you will vote for us again!


Just because they’re all on hols that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy ourselves.  I lied earlier when I said I would be filling up with chocolate on Sunday because in fact I hate the stuff.  What I love however is The Chocolate Block 2012 made by Boekenhoutskloof (£22.99).  70% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Grenache, 6% Cinsault, 1% Viognier.  I repeat: 70% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Grenache, 6% Cinsault, 1% Viognier.  That’s one hell of a wine – it will be rubbish with chocolate but do come and help us decide what it would be great with.  Oh, and if you opt to buy six, we can definitely make it worth your while!

We’ll also taste a white and since we seem to be in a South Africa mood, let’s try the Reyneke Organic White 2012 (£13.89).  A blend of 40% Chenin Blanc, 35% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Chardonnay (don’t worry, I won’t repeat them this time) we were really quite taken with it when we tried it a month or so back.  We were looking for something red from Austria and ended up buying this as well – a win double, as Wayne would say.


A couple of our very good, if recently lapsed, customers are due to give birth over the weekend – hope everything goes well, you know who you are.  The prospect of labour probably makes my 7 minute loo queue on Sunday seem like a stroll in the park!

So, your to do list: swing by tomorrow or Saturday, taste some fine wines and sign up for Wine School.


Happy Easter y’all,

London Marathon, Children’s Trust and Wine School

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Reading the headlines this week you could be forgiven for thinking we’ve entered some dastardly 80’s/90’s time warp. We’ve had coal mines closing, ministers expense scandals, The Masters without Tiger Woods, even Norman Tebbitt demanding resignations. Clearly there are positives (We’d rather Betty Boo than One Direction and Twin Peaks on the TV wasn’t so bad) and negatives (not sure we need the Austin Montego & Jive Bunny again?).  

A quick check at the sports pages brings us back to reality though, Mourinho is difficult to miss, the cricket seasons is about to start (Test Cricket for Ireland and Scotland, who’d have thunk it?) and Arsenal get a chance to underwhelm in their last hope of silverware for another season. Paris – Roubaix bike race this weekend too with over 5 million cobbles to ride over, I think they’ll need padded shorts and gloves!

In wine news GreenBottle, Merseyside producers of paper wine bottles, have gone into administration just 5 months after launching, after their major investor shredded plans to continue. Top Spanish producers Vega Sicilia have written off 500,000 bottles due to excessive sediment problems in their 2009 Pintia and 2010 Alion bottlings. You’d have thought at those prices they could afford a filter!

Meanwhile back in Wimbledon Park

The kids are off, the sun is shining and it’s nearly time for Wine School. 

That’s right Wednesday 23rd April we’ll kick off at 8pm. We already have a selection of willing students keen to try the selection of wines and discover new wines, words and flavours.

We do, however, have a few places left. So throw caution to the wind, come and join them, some of you have been threatening to join in for months (you know who you are!).

Join up for our six week wine school, starting on Wednesday 23rd April.  It costs £150 per person, takes place on consecutive Wednesday evenings (skipping one for half term) and you will taste somewhere in the region of 60 wines over the course.

Places are limited to 10 people, 5 have already been filled so drop us a line and book your place today. Don’t you want to strike fear into a sommeliers heart by demanding to know ‘which Riesling is drier the Marlborough or the Alsace?’

Full details attached, don’t delay.

This Weekend

We thought we’d give a bit of air time to a pair of tasty charmers from the French countryside. Cuvée Jean Paul Sec (£7.49) is a deliciously crisp dry white from Gascony, whilst its partner, the imaginatively named Cuvée Jean Paul Rouge (£7. 49) is a brambly glass of loveliness from the Vaucluse.

Also This Weekend

The day has finally arrived. Sunday is London Marathon day and we’ll be chasing an enormously impressive field of World record holders, Olympic medallists, and celebrities, but are hoping to beat the rhinoceros. If you’re running – good luck, have fun, and give us a wave if you see us.

We’re raising money for The Children’s Trust. Some of you have been kind enough to make a donation and some asked us to send the link again…

Thanks for all your support and advice throughout the training.

After our exertions we will open later on Monday 14th April at 3pm.

Best wishes,

Wayne & Alex.

Bordeaux 2013 & Hungarian Zenit

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Normally at this time of year we’d have a chat with you about the impending ‘En Primeur’ campaign in Bordeaux.

This year I don’t know where to start, we all know what a harsh summer 2013 was across western France, we read the hail reports, saw pictures of the damaged cars and roofs, even a pile of hailstones the size of golf balls.

We’ve spoken to various chums who spend a good couple of weeks in Bordeaux every April dashing from tasting to tasting in convoys of minibuses. This year many of them aren’t going, citing a mixture of reasons – disappointment at the last couple of year’s campaigns, the feeling that the public are fairly ambivalent to the campaign.

Robert Parker, one of the world’s most followed wine critics, announced he wouldn’t be tasting the wines till later and then Chateau Pontet-Canet really put the cat amongst the pigeons by being the first leading estate to have ever released its ‘En Primeur’ price before anybody had tasted the wine.

So for an ‘En Primeur’ campaign that was looking like a damp squib it seems to have become very interesting. For the right reasons though, I’m not so sure.

The wines, the wines tell us about the wines. Well we haven’t tasted any of them yet, we have read a lot of reports and would have to say “mixed bag” is probably a good case scenario. The first growths and top performers will always make a decent wine because they can afford to use really only the very best parts of the harvest. In the words of the director of Cos d’Estournel “Normally you make wine to make money but in 2013 you needed money to make wine.”

I don’t think we’ll be dipping our toes into the Bordeaux 2013, especially after reading “variable, sometimes quite pleasant” as a description of the reds by Professor Denis Dubourdieu of Bordeaux University.

Our money might sneak into California (Napa Valley was described as having “An ideal season—dry conditions and a long, sunny summer” and Santa Barbara as having its “Second year of near-ideal growing conditions”). Or perhaps Hawkes Bay in New Zealand where winemakers are talking of “the stuff of legends” or “a vintage to remember”.

Anyway that’s enough guff from me, normal service will resume next week, but in the meantime we’ll be opening some bottles as usual on Saturday.

In the white corner… one of our new finds from Hungary is Tournai’s Zenit (£10.59) a little different and very tasty.

In the red corner we’ll try something a bit more mainstream in Marktree Cabernet/Merlot (£8.29) a crunchy easy drinker from South Eastern Australia.

Nice weekend one and all!