Archive for June, 2014

Riecine, Rocky Head and Dolly Parton

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We find ourselves quite entranced with this World Cup despite a few teething troubles (sorry I couldn’t resist it), England have done what we expected them to, Spain have surprised us and Brazil, as ever, are doing just enough to progress. Cricket, close but no cigar, the tennis is a work in progress, but let’s face it, the real sport starts in Yorkshire next weekend with Le Grand Depart!
Elsewhere the rain is coming into the west for the Glastonbury weekend.

Wine School
We’ve had a lot of people asking so…
Term Starts on Wednesday 17th September at 8pm sharp. Over 6 Wednesday evenings you’ll taste around 60 different wines discover new favourites and who knows, maybe make some friends too. Cost is £150 and full details are attached.

Wine & Cheese
We had a fabulous evening last night sampling some fantastic cheeses from our chums at Norbiton Cheese and matching them with some of our delicious wines (I particularly enjoyed the Kopke White Port!). The next one is Thursday 24th July so don’t be shy, as we’ll have no more till the end of September. Cost as usual is £20 per person call us on 020 8944 5224 or drop us a line on .

We’ve long been fans of Sean O’Callaghan’s winemaking, raved on about his Sangiovese skills, why we even had a Chianti made by him for the first couple of years we were open.
For those of you who haven’t heard our ravings, Sean O’Callaghan is an Englishman, born in Sri Lanka and trained in winemaking at Geisenheim (Germany’s wine town). We think he makes some of the most sublime wines from Sangiovese you’ll find in Tuscany. Trouble is they are delicious, made in small quantities and sell out easily.
You can imagine our excitement when we managed to taste and lay our hands on some! Riecine 2010 (£46) is on the shelves now, a stunningly elegant Sangiovese, aromatic with wonderful fruit purity and fine tannins. I’ve just seen that one of Italy’s leading wine critics says it recalls a Roumier Chambolle which we’d say is high praise indeed.

…& Becks
Our chums over at Rocky Head have been busy at the mash tun producing new ale for us all to enjoy. The aptly named Rocky Head Session (£2.50) comes in at 4% so is a lighter style than their other beers, enabling the thirsty of us to engage in several slakers. Despite the lower ABV it is as flavour packed as you’d expect from them, packing the hoppy kick of an IPA.

This Weekend
For those of us not going to see Dolly Parton and Metallica at Glastonbury we thought we’d open something suitably tasty in store. Alex has been at my ear all week “can we open the Leira Seca on Saturday, can we?” So for a bit of peace and quiet I thought we’d visit Portugal.

In the white corner… our delicious new Vinho Verde Leira Seca Alvarinho e Trajadura Minho (£10.49), whilst in the interests of balance we’ll head a bit further inland to the Dao region. It is here that our chum Luis resides, making the deliciously juicy Quinta do Correio (£10.49) a cracking red blend of Jaen, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz.
So come in and have a taste of Portugal and we can discuss the merits of Dolly joining Metallica onstage for the encore of “Seek & Destroy”. Wear your wellies for the full Glastonbury experience if you wish, but we can’t promise any mud!

…and finally
On a topically local thingamabob, Glenn Mulcaire of hacking fame, scored AFC Wimbledon’s first ever goal (against Bromley July 2002).

In a blind tasting we were beaten by a camel and a koala bear and we know how discerning their palates are!

Friday, June 20th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Two headlines that caught my eye this week:

Women are better tasters than men
Parents warned: don’t reward exam success with alcohol

It would seem that little development is required on either of these headlines but I will add some flesh to the bones nonetheless.

Whilst it has long been accepted that the gatekeepers of all things tasteful are female, we had thought that owing to the wide variety of flavour experience us gents have encountered over the years – ranging from curries and hot chillis through sausage rolls and pickled onions to Guinness and flaming Sambuca’s – that our tastebuds would be akin to a trained sniper, able to pick off a flavour bomb at 1,000 yards. How wrong we were. It has now been proven that, in a blind tasting we were beaten by a camel and a koala bear and we know how discerning their palates are!

Apparently it’s all down to mothering, so we are unlikely to improve our prospects. The constant tasting and testing of food and drink before feeding their offspring has given women a significant edge, so there we have it ladies, you’re in charge!

As a small aside, one of the tests was a blind tasting of different sweetened waters. Yep, sweetened water. What did I miss? When did water need artificial sweetener added? I think I’m getting old…

Parents warned: don’t reward exam success with alcohol

The Big Brother fear is that ecstatic parents will shower their offspring with booze on completion of their exams this summer and some clever boffins somewhere have calculated that this will roughly equate to a bottle of wine per child. I’m not going to take any moral stance here but merely suggest that that nice bottle of wine you just bought from me would look much nicer in your wine glass in front of the telly than with a straw sticking out of it at a teenage house party in Putney.

So frankly yes, reward yourselves with alcohol for exam success and let the kids drink water with added aspartame. Oh, and in an open letter to Big Brother, might we enquire which is preferable a glass of wine in a home environment or a hip flask of vodka bought with fake ID from the dodgy offie….

Anyway, back on track now.

I can suggest all sorts of wines as suitable rewards but am particularly excited this week about my new wines from Galicia. We like Spain, we like the regional diversity, we like the accessibility of the wines and we love the flavours. For a long time we have been trying to find some decent red wine from the northwest and have finally struck gold. In list form our new red wines are:

Alodio Joven Ribeira Sacra 2012 £11.99
Casa de Paula Tinto Ribeiro 2012 £13.99

Our new whites are:

Bioca Godello Valdeorras 2013 £12.99
Quinta de la Erre Albarino Rias Baixas 2012 £14.99

And just for fun we picked up a new Vinho Verde from just over the border in Portugal:

Leira Seca Alvarinho e Trajadura Minho 2012/13 £10.49

I’ll be opening the Bioca Godello and the Alodio Joven today should you wish to taste them. The Godello is very appealing and more-ish with hints of orange and lemon on the nose following onto a vibrant, crisp and focused palate with hints of minerals in the background. Crying out for some fish or calamares. The red chap is made from one of our favourite lesser known varieties, Mencia. Similar in style and weight to the crunchy reds of the Loire Valley, zesty with dark fruits, fine tannins and a lick of spice – one of those wines that oft leads to the exclamation – ‘bugger, I’ve finished the bottle already!’

Come and taste them both today.

Whilst I’ve got your attention, have a quick look at your diary and see if you are free on Thursday 24th July at 8pm.
We’ll be hosting another one of our deeply educational Wine & Cheese events here in the shop. It costs £20 per person, is limited to a maximum of 12 people and will be the last one until late September. Spaces tend to go quickly so if you’d like a seat at the high table give us a call on 020 8944 5224, email us on or book a ticket whilst you’re in here tasting the Mencia!

Not seen any sport this week, did I miss anything?

When Cliff Richard wrote “Wired for Sound”, no way was he sitting on a clean lavatory.

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

In the land of televisions, the remote controller is king….

So here’s our problem, we don’t have enough tellies. The Test match starts at 11am, during which time Wayne wants to watch the Criterium-du-Dauphine cycling, then Queens wakes up for the tennis, now without Mr Murray. At 2pm the US Open golf starts its day and then later on we have World Cup football. Oh, and did I mention the Men’s Hockey World Cup semi-finals?

Tomorrow is no better as we have to contend with most of the above plus the rugby 2nd Test against the All Blacks, Australia v France, South Africa v Wales, Canada v Scotland, Argentina v Ireland plus at some point we have a shop to run. Basically we need 5 screens, and that’s before we put any music on Spotify!

And we can say goodbye to any real news. For the next six weeks it will be all about football. It’s a bit more exciting this time around though as clown-king Sepp Blatter seeks to surpass his own low standards moaning about a lack of respeck from everyone and displaying a Berlusconi-like desire to cling to power. Cannot exactly remember what happened to the robber Baron Silvio, but I’m sure the same fate would never befall Great-Uncle Sepp.

Oh and of course as I mentioned last week, England are going to win the World Cup – FACT.

Elsewhere English born and bred not-Scot JK Rowling has caused a kerfuffle by donating her money to the ‘wrong’ side; Nigel Farage has suddenly decided to declare over £200,000 of benefits in kind dating back 10 years – feels a bit like he’s clearing out all his skeletons before he hits the big time, god help us; and DJ Casey Kasem, the voice of Shaggy in Scooby Doo, has had end-of-life measures implemented by his daughter, which basically means food and water are withheld, a terrible way to go.

What about wine though? We’ve ordered a whole load of new Spanish wines, some spirits, a couple of new Italians and some Portugeezers – they should all be here next week probably just as it starts to rain. Rosé is still charging out the door incessantly and Bordeaux seems to have ground to a halt. Must be the weather.

The A-board outside the shop this week, for those of you who haven’t passed by, has been promoting wines ‘For those who don’t like Rosé’. We reckon that since we’re both here this weekend before Wayne flits off to ‘Abroad’ for a week, that we might as well open our suggestions – Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2013 – £17.99 from Marlborough and Geoff Merrill Reserve Shiraz 2006 – £29.99 from McLaren Vale. Sauvignon and Shiraz the way they should be, say no more.

If you’re at a loose end on Sunday, Alex will be propping up a stall at the Wimbledon High School Association Summer Fair from 12 until 4pm – the theme is Around the World in 80 days and he’s guaranteed to have a few wines open there too, so please go and keep him company and also make sure he’s standing up straight and smiling at customers.

Oh and last up, it’s Father’s Day on Sunday, let’s talk Amarone shall we?


Rick: We NEVER clean the toilet, Neil. That’s what being a student is all about. No way, Harpic. No way, Dot. All that Blue Loo scene is for squares. One thing’s for sure, Neil. When Cliff Richard wrote “Wired for Sound”, no way was he sitting on a clean lavatory. He was living on the limit, just like me. Where the only place to put bleach is in your hair.

Vyvyan: Living on Limits? What, are you on a diet?

Rick: No, I live on The Limit, Vyvyan. The Limit. Because I’m a Rider at the Gates of Dawn and I take no prisoners.

A life well lived.

Wayne & Alex

Don’t think of it necessarily as a vote for Park Vintners, think of it as a way of getting Wayne back into his Dinner Jacket and spats…

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

They’re liars, the lot of them. Spinning webs of deceit and misdirection. I can confirm that the rain in Spain does not fall mainly on the plain. It falls mainly on the second tee at La Quinta golf course which to all intents and purposes is a mountain. Not a plain. We woz mugged.

Anyway, that’s in the past now, although I did bring you all back a souvenir:

Saturday, humid with some heavy and thundery rain. Mostly dry and fresher on Sunday then perhaps some further thundery rain overnight followed by showers on Monday (BBC Weather)

No thanks necessary.

We have a packed sporting calendar this weekend, commencing with Wayne’s early Saturday morning cycle all over Box Hill. Whilst he is completing this challenge, the saner amongst us will be tucking into a bacon sandwich and a latte in front of the box watching the first rugby test as England thump the Kiwi’s in their own backyard. Well, the sarnie and the coffee are certainly a possibility…

French Open tennis will be going on all weekend, the Men’s final I suspect will not be Murray-Gulbis, but as I write, anything could still happen.
And then, once the rain has finally given way to the hail, we have the Derby. Currently the going is good, and on that basis we are tipping EBANORAN and TRUE STORY. However if the weather does what it threatens to do, we are tipping the Irish horse with the longest legs!
Looking further ahead, we are going to win the Football World Cup in Brazil – FACT.

We are also feeling a trifle concerned at the lack of suitable wicket keeping cover in our Test side, considering the incumbent is just now returning from Achilles injury, but what do we know…

We know about wine, that’s what we know, so more about that now.
It may be hell and high-water tomorrow but let’s seize this sunny Friday. We haven’t opened our best-selling Rosé yet this year, so today would seem the perfect opportunity. Chateau de L’Aumerade ‘Cuvée Marie-Christine’ Rosé Cru Classé 2013, Côtes de Provence, France – £13.99 is a 400 year old vineyard in the heart of Provence. Its red soils are rich in minerals, giving it an edge on the quality stakes amongst its neighbours. This edge was recognised in 1950 when the estate was designated “Cru Classé”. A lovely pale salmon colour, it is indeed cracking stuff with delicate red berry fruits, slightly floral with a touch of minerality and an impressively long finish. We think it is the perfect wine for summer, great with all manner of foods, great without! Plus, as it’s sunny, we can offer you all 10% off a box of six, I know, summer madness!

We will also crack open our new red wine from the Toro region in Spain. This is another region where it shouldn’t rain very much (around 350-400 mm per annum) and the wine is made from 50 year old Tempranillo vines, known locally as Tinta de Toro. Following a 100 day recline in oak barrels the wine is sloshed into bottles, labelled up and then sent to us.

It’s called Cien Roble 2012, Toro, Spain – £9.49 and it’s darn delicious; if you don’t believe me then I’m more than happy to have your glass!

It’s International Sherry Week this week and there’s a bottle of Fernando de Castilla Oloroso – £14.99 open, just to show how international and sherry-tastic we are.

Something you may not know about Wayne is that he is a sucker for Awards Ceremonies, canapés, glad-handing and above all, small talk. The past two years we have entered the Time & Leisure Food and Drink Awards with success on both occasions – if we are still tantalising your taste buds and offering you superb customer service then please vote with your fingers at:

Don’t think of it necessarily as a vote for Park Vintners, think of it as a way of getting Wayne back into his Dinner Jacket and spats…
D-Day today, blanket media coverage of events will never, ever do justice to what was achieved or how lucky we are.

Over and out.

Wayne & Alex