Archive for October, 2014

We’ve got some chocolate, some almonds, some habas fritas too, so we’re proper spoiling you, like – The Great Sherry Festival!

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Two monsters went to a Halloween party. Suddenly one said to the other, “A lady just rolled her eyes at me. What should I do?” The other monster replied, “Be a gentleman and roll them back to her.”

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat their fingers separately.

They don’t get much better than that, I’m afraid.

In a landscape that used to be dominated by Guy Fawkes Night (who the hell he, say the children in my house) Halloween has now become the major player.

Fireworks night has stood still, become a bit stuck in the Jurassic. It has failed to develop much beyond its ‘fireworks and hot dogs’ image, especially since the use of sparklers at public events was banned – a move that has resulted in serious loss of revenue and a noticeable crowd-shift away.

A few years ago the American conglomerate TorT Inc. (trading here as Trick or Treat UK Ltd) strode into the marketplace and through sponsorship, clever brand placement and a heavy reliance on sugar based snacking, developed into one of the biggest and most successful ‘Cash Allowance from Parents’ Removal specialists (CAPERS). Only Christmas PLC, The Easter Bunny Group and Coca Cola can claim to have better caper returns.

However where does TorT go from here. Yearly it is becoming more professional, there is more money involved now than ever before, the prizes are bigger and the rules are becoming clearer – numbers of players in team, amount of cold parents required to traipse behind, size of bag, pumpkin etiquette. Perhaps in the future we might even see competitive events staged at the old dogtrack?!

Finally, we hear rumours that TorT has been in early negotiations with The Fawkes Foundation proposing the creation of a supersize six day celebration culminating on 5th November with the ultimate goal being to put Christmas out of business altogether.

Now, wouldn’t that be a fun week?

Away from all this though, we have a shop to run. A little while back we were chatting to a nice lady involved with The Sherry Institute. As ever they are trying very hard to get people excited about the wines from Jerez and have asked us to help. What this means is that we have got four sherries open for tasting this weekend and we expect you all to try them!

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Fino ‘En Rama’- £9.99

This is raw Fino, no clarification just a very gentle filtering, it has spent 6 years ageing under the flor. Richer and fresher than the Manzanilla with an almost honeyed note to it, Alex suggests “gambas al pil-pil” but then he would, wouldn’t he?

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Amontillado – £30.99
Silver – Sommelier Wine Awards 2014

Oh my! This little number has been ageing in a barrel for 20 years, having started life under flor before additional alcohol added to kill the flor allowing oxidative ageing. Nutty, caramel notes in the nose but the palate is bone dry and deliciously complex. Jamón Jamón!

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Palo Cortado – £34.99
Awarded ‘Master’ title (one of just two) reserved only for outstanding wines with scores of over 95 points – The Drinks Business ‘Fortified Masters’ 2014

A real treat. This rarity starts life as a Fino until the flor goes wrong. Luckily for us, when the flor went wrong here it didn’t turn into sherry vinegar but into this rare beast that has hung out in a barrel for 30 years just becoming awesome. It has a lovely umami character that’d be mighty fine with some Foie Gras. If that’s not your bag, then why not give wild boar a go!

Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla Antique Pedro Ximenez – £30.99
Gold – Sommelier Wine Awards 2014

When the grapes were on the vine for this Alex hadn’t started shaving! Thirty years in barrels has made this soft, rounded and properly sweet with more sugar than is mentionable in polite company. This is unctuous and delicious and is most often enjoyed with some 70% Green & Blacks. Chocolate dodger Alex loved it with salted almonds, and there has been talk of marinating raisins in it, for a naughty apple strudel!

We’ve got some chocolate, some almonds, some habas fritas too, so we’re proper spoiling you, like – however if the whole sherry thing doesn’t really float your boat we will also be tasting a few wines on Saturday that we don’t sell yet but are thinking about listing – all feedback gratefully received!

Wine School

A number of you have been asking about the dates for the 2015 wine school. After much consultation with diaries and confirmation of half term dates, we are happy to announce that the 6 week course will start on Wednesday 28th January through to Wednesday 11th March with a week off in the middle (Wednesday 18th February, so if you do go away at half term, you won’t miss out!)

Cost as ever is £150 per person and spaces are limited. If you would like to find out more do pop in and have a chat!

Upcoming tastings

These are pretty much sold out but if you still want to grab a seat at the table we still have good availability on our:


And just a couple of spaces remaining on our last event of the year, which frankly would be worth it just for the Bollinger’s and the Vin de Constance, let alone the excellent wines in the middle:


So give us a call on 020 8944 5224 or email us on and be one of the first to admire Wayne’s new Christmas jumper…

To finish with a quote from the American comedian Rita Rudner which we feel sums it all up very well:

Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, “Never take candy from strangers.” And then they dressed me up and said, “Go beg for it.” I didn’t know what to do!

Ruinart Rose, Turk Gruner Veltliner & Telero Rosso

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Some weeks we find that our weekly missive just trips off the keyboard, and other weeks it is more a labour of love. This week was one of those weeks.
Should we start with Mario Balotelli swapping shirts at half time, is it prudent to mention the falling apart of the Caterham F1 team, who have been locked out of their facilities by the administrator, what about the state of West Indian Cricket?

Should we discuss the fact that Chris Froome might miss the Tour de France next year (too many hills) and concentrate instead on the Giro and La Vuelta?

But no, none of those, I thought this week we’d talk about science instead. Given the lack of scientific coverage in The Weekly Wine we thought we’d jump straight to the pointy end and look at the rocket science bit.

“Rotten eggs, horse stable, and the pungent, suffocating odour of formaldehyde” is neither Alex’s new aftershave, nor the tasting note for a faulty wine. It is in fact the smell you’d experience if, for arguments sake, you were astral surfing and a comet crossed your path.

This ‘Eau de Comet’ has been discovered by the European Space Agency’s probe Rosetta which caught up with the comet 67P/C-G (What a name, move over Hayley) after a six billion kilometre trek involving four flybys of Earth and Mars. A Satnav experience surely shared with many of our readers.
So we’ve discovered that a comet smells much like a teenager’s bedroom, and it took rocket science to find it out!

In other news we find a sense of humour being replaced by corporation muscle as Disney Corporation’s Lucasfilm off shoot has objected to a new brew by craft New York Brewpub Empire Brewing. Apparently “Strikes Bock” is very similar to a movie title.

Also in beer a Papua New Guinea company is selling beer in insect repellent boxes. Drink the beer, put the box on the fire and say goodbye to the mosquitos, that really is thinking err…creatively.


Apparently today is #ChampagneDay, the fifth annual social media fest to celebrate the bubbly stuff. As we’re the largest export market consuming a toast worthy 30.786 million bottles, I’m sure you already knew that. Personally I’m going to raise a glass to the Belgians who got through 9.525 million bottles which is very nearly 1 each for the entire population.

If you’re of a mind I’m going to suggest marking the occasion with Ruinart Rosé (£58) a fine drop by anybody’s standards!
Weekend Wines in Wimbledon Park

We think we’ll celebrate the European Space Agency’s dedication to aromatics with a couple of European wines this week:
Türk Grüner Veltliner Kremser Weinberge (£15.49) is a delicious white from Austria’s Kremstal region, crisp dry and without a whiff of horse stable.
Cantele Telero Rosso (£9.99) is a velvety red from Puglia, the heel of Italy. Made from 100% Negroamaro it is full-bodied, lovely cherry fruit and a hint of herbiness. Come and tell us what you’d eat with it!

Bollinger, Roda, Corimbo & Vin de Constance

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week at PV Towers, we learnt of a new online tool that could revolutionise how we all engage with the rogues and ne’er do wells that are always asking us for our votes.* is building a database that will enable us to cut all the jargon and cliché from speeches by the power of cut and paste.

Imagine how much shorter presentations, meetings and speeches will be without all those extra, pointless message words.

For example: “The fact of the matter is we’ve travelled up and down Arthur Road chatting to hardworking families and we’ve come up with a whole range of proposals. That is why we’re organising a Christmas Cheese and Wine tasting for Thursday 20th November. At the end of the day there is no instant solution, it’s going to take time to match the right wine to fabulous cheese from our chums at Norbiton Fine Cheese.”

Would become: “We’re organising a Christmas Cheese and Wine tasting for Thursday 20th November.”

Works for me!

New Wines Listed – Prohibition is over, Bollinger is in da house!


Bollinger Special Cuvée NV, Champagne – £45 (or £198 for six bottles)

“Lots of maturity, lightly bruised apples and character. Gentle fizz which feels as though it has had to battle its way through great intensity of flavour. Kick of acidity on the end. 17/20” – Jancis Robinson MW,, 4 Dec 2012

Bollinger Grand Année 2004, Champagne – £70
“A wine of great power with enduring elegance. Perfectly ripe layers of mirabelle, apricot, poached vanilla pears, yellow apples and lemon sherbet against a pleasing, nutty backdrop. Vigorous and creamy-textured, with great depth, chalky minerality and a hazelnut complexity. Extraordinary.” – Decanter World Wine Awards 2014, August 2014

South Africa

Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Constantia – £15.89

“Delicacy is this wine’s watchword. Matthew Day uses the coolness of his vineyards to good effect, producing a wine with a bright intense color and restrained fruit aromas, but once in the mouth, the sensation is one of freshness, finishing off with a moreish, tangy acidity.” – Will Lyons, The Wall Street Journal September 2014

Vin De Constance 2008, Constantia – £45

“Wonderfully complex, spicy and marmaladey with sweet, pure apricot fruit. The palate is fresh and sweet with grapes and raisins as well as spiciness. Lovely intensity here and a long, warm, spicy finish. Remarkable.” – Jamie Goode,, June 2014


Bodegas La Horra, Corimbo 2011, Ribera del Duero – £27.49

We found this not as polished as the Roda, a bit of American oak used here not too much of which is new. Savoury spicy game notes complement the forest fruit aromas nicely. The palate has sweeter fruit than the Roda and a bit more bodyweight too with a lovely perfumed spice to the finish. So a tad more rustic but none the worse for that! – Wayne & Alex, Park Vintners (the comparisons with Roda are based on the fact that Corimbo is the Roda venture in Ribera del Duero)

Bodegas Roda I Reserva 2007, Rioja – £50

“This is a fabulous ultra-modern rioja, whose light toasting of vanilla oak coats a power-packed cherryish fruitiness topped and tailed by smooth oak and lively refreshing acidity in perfect balance.” – Anthony Rose, The Independent, May 2014

Drinks Cupboard Essential

Mentzendorff Kümmel – £22.99

“This caraway-flavoured liqueur can trace its lineage back to 1823 when it was made in an old manor house in the Latvian port of Riga. Regarded by connoisseurs as having the more classic or fuller taste, it is now produced at the Combier distillery in the Loire Valley. Best served virtually frozen over ice as a digestif.” – Will Lyons, The Wall Street Journal, July 2013

If these all sound simply fabulous and delicious and you’re wondering how you might afford to buy them all to taste then you can relax….
On Wednesday 10th December at 8pm you can taste them all for just £25 per person. Clive Ashby, world expert on all the above wines and an old pal of ours, will be pouring and sharing all the information, stories and innuendo before being sent home in a cab. Don’t miss out, this is the Christmas tasting to attend – far more fun than a pint and a pork pie with Nigel from accounts.

Tasting This Weekend

Alex tells me it’s National Curry Week this week. The Roberts’ kitchen has been overflowing with Tarka Dhal and Murgh Makhani and barely a day has passed when a suitable wine partner hasn’t been discussed.

In the white corner, we’re plumping for Broken Shackle White (£8.49) a fruity, crisp blend of Semillon, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc.
Whilst Santa Julia Malbec (£9.99) a juicy, unoaked Malbec (made from organic grapes, no less) will fight the good fight in the red corner.
Will they both work with curry? Come and help us decide, corks from Crackerjack time. (Friday at 5 o’clock for you youngsters!)

Over to you, Paul!

Wayne & Alex

*The Directors and Management of Park Vintners Limited would like to point out they have no connection with other than as amused observers

Books, Bollinger and AFC Wimbledon

Friday, October 10th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week we discovered that several sportsmen (former or otherwise) have books to sell. Poor old Kevin Peterson had the mickey taken out of him in the changing room and Roy Keane thinks the song “Dancing Queen” is not an ideal pre-match motivator.

Whilst we’re talking about motivator’s, a how about Oleg Tinkov’s (owner of the Tinkov-Saxo cycling team) offer of 1 million Euro to top cyclists to compete in all three of next year’s Grand Tours (Giro d’Italia, Tour de France & Vuelta a España). The route for the Giro could well suit Froome and I can’t help but think this kind of gesture is what gets the sport much more media coverage. As ever the trick will be to stay upright!

Three people were rescued from the Strathmill distillery in Moray by boat when the river Isla burst its banks following torrential rain and high winds. Water with your scotch, sir?

This week we spoke to Helen from Maison des Bulliats whose Regnie we sell quite a lot of. She’s been up to her elbows in grapes and grape pickers but as they start the crush they’re pretty happy with this year’s harvest. We look forward to hearing more when they arrive back in sunny (!) Wimbledon Park.

7th October 2014: MK Dons 2 – AFC Wimbledon 3

A touch of history in the newsletter, we thought it was a score line worth mentioning.
Well done guys, it has been a while coming but surely all the sweeter for it!

Cheese and Wine Tasting 16th October at 8pm – £20 per person

Still a couple of places for next Thursday if you find a space in your diary!

Clive Ashby Tasting 10th December
Last week I mentioned this, with the words “Our chum Clive will be pouring (and talking about) a selection of delights from the Mentzendorff magic box.”

To put some flesh on the bones there’ll be Bollinger Special Cuvee (£45), and Bollinger Grand Année 2004 (£70) to get your palates tingling. Follow this up with some Klein Constantia Sauvignon Blanc (£15.89) from the famous South African estate. We then will shift a gear into red wines with top drawer Rioja in the form of Roda I (£50) and a touch of Ribera Del Duero in Corimbo (£27.49) which is the Ribera estate made by the Roda people. If all this wasn’t enough to get your cheeks rosy we’ll then spoil you with some Vin de Constance (£45) to add a bit of legend to the evening and we’ll then finish with a drop of Kummel (£22.99) just to aid the digestion.

All this for £25. Sounds like a fun evening to me.

Tasting This Weekend
Following on from our flit in New Zealand last weekend we are staying firmly in the southern hemisphere. South Africa is where the grapes grow this week, we’ll be starting off in Walker Bay with Barton Vineyard’s Chenin Blanc (£9.79). A deliciously versatile white with pear fruit and a crisp dry finish. Whilst in the red corner we’re going with Graceland Vineyards Strawberry Fields (£21.99) a Stellenbosch stunner of Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon. If Elvis was in the building he’d be having a glass of this!


Wayne & Alex

Wine Tastings, Dodd’s Gin & Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Today we’ve decided to start with some numbers for you, wee brainteasers for while you’re eating your sandwich at your desk and pretending to work – answers at the end….

16 ½ – 11 ½

42,000 bottles (or was it pints?)

253mm in 3 hours

12.3 billion vs 11 billion

1.95m and 34 years old

So now you’ve had a think about that, back to the news.

We’ve a natural aversion to NIMBY-ism so are finding it a bit tricky how to phrase this next bit. I suppose the simplest way of putting it is this: a planning application has been submitted to develop the Butcher’s shop – the reference is 14/P3288 on the Planning department bit of the website – have a look and see what you think.

So it’s October now and the Chile September has drawn to a close, hopefully you all enjoyed your forays to Limari and Elqui and ideally you have tried some wines that you wouldn’t normally have selected. Anyone who has been past the shop recently will notice that where the window once was festooned with all things South American it now contains a solitary bottle of Dodd’s Gin and a glass. This is Wayne’s art installation entitled ‘Ode to Autumn’. He is hoping to encapsulate the passing of the seasons, the sense of desolation that comes with the falling of the leaves and the shortening of the days. Much like Tilda Swinton sleeping in a glass box, the artist himself can regularly be seen lying in the window, nursing a gin and wailing.

When he’s not prone in the window he has been extremely busy organising our tasting calendar for the coming months. All the tastings below still have tickets available (apart from the private events of course) so if any of them tweak your interest phone us 02089445224 or email us or come in for a gin.

Thursday 16th October – Wine & Cheese – £20

Wednesday 19th November – Private Tasting

Thursday 20th November – Christmas Wine & Cheese – £20

Wednesday 26th November – Winemaker tasting with Jonathan Hesford from Domaine Treloar £20

Jonathan and Rachel Treloar own and run this small, highly-regarded vineyard and winery in the Roussillon, France’s most exciting wine region.
Their path was rather unusual. They lived and worked within 500m of the Twin Towers on September 11 2001 and witnessing that event made them rethink their life and provided the catalyst to make their dream a reality. On the 10 hectare estate they do all the work in the vineyards and winery themselves. Describing it a labour of love to make the best wine possible at an accessible price, even if the quantities are very limited.

Thursday 27th November – Private Tasting

Wednesday 3rd December – Sparkling & Champagne Tasting £25

Thursday 4th December – Private Tasting

Wednesday 10th December – Clive Ashby from Mentzendorff £25

Our chum Clive will be pouring (and talking about) a selection of delights from the Mentzendorff magic box. We’ll kick off with some Bollinger, have a splash of white, a drizzle of red and send you all home with a lingering sweetness from one of the world’s top stickies!

And while we’re discussing tastings, how about having a slurp this weekend.

We’ll be opening the Free Sauvignon Blanc (£9.99 or 6 bottles for the price of 5) and Templars Hill Pinot Noir (£19.99) I had to open a wine named after a temperance society that used to meet in a local inn- you couldn’t make it up!

Back to the top now – and the answers – did anyone get them all correct.

16 ½ – 11 ½ – the Ryder Cup score of course – another epic effort and one that would have definitely worth trying to get a ticket for.

42,000 bottles (or was it pints?) – Winston Churchill’s lifetime consumption of Pol Roger – the story goes that he had specially made pint sized bottles but either way it’s evidence that wartime rationing didn’t necessarily effect the top in the same way as the bottom.

253mm in 3 hours – the amount of rain that fell in Montpellier in the Languedoc last Sunday which is quite a lot. Especially mid harvest. Bugger.

12.3 billion vs 11 billion – according to the Office of National Statistics, in 2013 £12.3 billion was spent on drugs and prostitutes in the UK whereas only £11 billion was spent on booze. Not sure how they got their stats but frankly we can see a new tax revenue stream here.

1.95m and 34 years old – Andrew Sheridan, the newly retired prop forward who has stated that he will be now seeking a career in the wine trade – pity the fool who pays late….

Finally an unashamed sales plug…

We have managed to lay our hands on a small parcel of Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (£35) (you know the one with the chairs on the label!).

We’ve never managed to get an allocation before and this time was pure luck so please form an orderly queue!

Have a lovely weekend

Alex & Wayne