Archive for November, 2014

Why would anyone give, or want to receive, Nylon as a present?

Friday, November 28th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Yesterday, whilst Alex was out picking up his daughter from school, he left his Amazon Wish list page open:

Fruit or Flowers
Linen, Silk or Nylon
Blue Topaz

It’s fascinating what can be learnt about one’s business partner or is it perhaps worrying. Aware that it’s our Christmas Party coming up, I hadn’t expected to make a costume quite as elaborate as that which he seemed to be planning; maybe I hadn’t read the invitation closely enough?

On his return, I decided to confront him, or ‘out’ him, as I believe the vernacular goes…

Once his spluttering indignation had subsided and I had reminded him that if he is going to leave his computer open in a shop then people might well read it, he took great pleasure in reminding me that next Wednesday is our 4th Birthday as Park Vintners and that whilst trying to find an appropriate gift for the occasion, a website in the US had made these suggestions for fourth wedding anniversary gifts, which is kind of like a birthday but not really.

We did agree that we still need an explanation as to why anyone would give, or want to receive Nylon as a present?

Anyway, the point of this entire preamble is that we are about to be FOUR! We’ve come a long way baby since those frozen, snowy days in 2010. We’ve seen Yummy Lounge, Wine Rack and Bunting come and go; we await eagerly the arrival of Saucer & Cup (which is currently trading at the same level as Estella); we are still wowed on a daily basis by the range in the Co-op; and we are, as yet, unclear as to what the formula is for hairdresser super-saturation. Best coffee on the street – Cake Parlour. Best Source of local gossip – George from Strands. Best Wine Merchant – we do hope so!

So I told Alex, ‘the only way to celebrate such milestones is not with topaz, nylon or appliances but with bubbles and Bollinger bubbles to be precise’ and I continued ‘they’re turning on the Christmas lights and doing carols at the church on Saturday so, in essence, this is what we should do: have Bollinger open for tasting all day and also open some of the delicious wines from Domaine Treloar that were showing so fabulously on Wednesday evening. You choose a white to sample and we’ll be on for a good, fun day. Now shut your computer down and starting stocking my shelves please.’

He chose to follow my advice, put his laptop away and selected Tamboerskloof Viognier 2013 – £17.99 from Stellenbosch and a wine that really floats both our boats. If we add the Bollinger NV – £45 (or £33 per bottle if you buy six) we have whites covered.

The reds from Domaine Treloar that we will be opening are as follows:

Le Ciel Vide 2011, Côtes du Roussillon – £10.49 an unoaked red made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan. It is the most approachable of their red wines with crunchy forest fruits and an earthy, smoky character that’d be great with a sausage casserole.

One Block Grenache 2011, Côtes Catalanes – £11.99. Since we listed this it has rapidly become a firm favourite. Mostly Grenache but with a small splash of Lledoner Pelut (not permitted in the AOC hence the Côtes Catalanes tag) this has lovely dark brambly fruit. Wayne loved it with some Merguez sausages and it would appear the team at are regular guzzlers too; Richard Hemming certainly seemed to like it: “Dark chocolate – much blacker fruit than expected. Furry tannin, really aromatic and scented. Much more nuance than the typical voluminous Grenaches.”

Three Peaks 2011, Côtes du Roussillon – £12.99
“50% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre. Rich aniseed and liquorice character on the nose, with a really charming violet scent. Very fine tannins, fresh acid. Chocolate and spice. Dry tannins that would support ten years of bottle ageing easily.”
Richard Hemming, 17+ Drink 2013-2023

Motus 2011, Côtes du Roussillon – £16.99
“Based on Mourvèdre. Wow – creamy and sweet and soft, with gorgeous fruit purity. American oak aged (preferred to French to give a sweeter element and preserve the fruit). Long and fine. Smooth and succulent texture. Lovely tension between the tannin and acid.”
Richard Hemming, 17.5 Drink 2014-2016

Definitely worth giving us a visit this weekend!

Other news

A number of you have signed up for, or signed up other people for our Wine School in January. We have attached details to this email but suffice to say if you want to learn how to survive the wine list/supermarket aisle/dinner with your boss scenario then this is the course for you. Six weeks of sniffing, swirling, supping and possibly even spitting 60 different wines will give you a fantastic grounding in all things vinous. It costs £150 per person and will definitely make the opening months of the New Year far more palatable!

It’s the time of year when we are welcoming new wines into the shop on a fairly regular basis – recent arrivals from Burgundy include whites from Domaine Jacques Prieur Meursault ‘Clos de Mazeray’ 2010 – £49.00, Etienne Sauzet Chassagne Montrachet ‘Les Encégnières 2011 – £52.00 and a red from Domaine J. Cacheux & Fils Nuits-Saint-Georges ‘Au Bas de Combe’ 2009 – £36.99.

Oh, and another we received, just in time for Thanksgiving, is Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – £13.99 from Livermore, California a fabulous stablemate to the ever popular Morning Fog Chardonnay.


Regular readers will be used to us trawling through the newspapers looking for quirky items at which to point our derision. This week we refrained – there is so much sadness, death, murder and unpleasantness in the news, and even in sport right now, that I don’t think any of us need further reminders.

Hope to see you tomorrow for a glass of bubbles and a discussion of the gifting merits of Nylon!

Guess what happened when things got quiet for the Eagles and Van Halen in the 90’s?

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been a long week already and, according to Alex, it’s still only Friday morning.

It began slowly on Monday as we cleared away all the tickertape, bunting and crushed flags left by the ecstatic England Rugby and Football fans after Saturdays International Double Header. Fans young and old had thronged the streets until the early hours, singing and dancing good naturedly whilst celebrating our nations sporting prowess – not a bad thing was said about either team, not a single word of advice or criticism and certainly no one had an opinion on the innovative use of the up-and-under that goes backwards….

Tuesday saw Alex turning his teeth into tannin strainers as he put his palate on the line helping to judge at the International Wine Challenge. If you buy a wine at Christmas that has a Gold Medal on it and you don’t like it, he’s the one to blame! Apparently he tasted and wrote notes on 106 wines over the day and still managed to hop on the bus home without losing his footing, so perhaps he is the one deserving a medal.

Wednesday saw us split up, unable to confer but both able to use quality material from Wayne’s Joke Book as we ran tastings on opposite sides of Wimbledon. Hopefully the good people at Wimbledon High School were as happy with their evening as the fine folk from Wimbledon Park Primary School. Were they laughing with us or at us?

Thursday, perhaps as a result of Wednesday, saw sore heads in a number of school playgrounds and the first proper cold day in the shop. Brilliant. It did help to ensure that the Christmas Cheese and Wine tasting we held here last night was suitably festive and that everybody left with a nose like Rudolph’s! Can thoroughly recommend the Krohn’s Colheita 1995 – keeps the cold out and matched all the cheeses beautifully.

And now we bump into Friday and recognise him for what he is – the end of the week. Write an email, sell some wine, look forward to another barnstorming performance at Twickenham on Saturday and perhaps more excitingly, anticipate the Women’s football at Wembley on Sunday, England v Germany , should be a stonker! Shame there’s no public transport working…

Oh and we’re off to the Sloaney Pony tonight to taste the launch of a new Sambrook’s beer – how cool are we?!

So tell me, what did you get up to??


As mentioned before, these are all sold out until Christmas. In the New Year we take a few weeks off before we jump back in at the end of January with our six week wine course. If you have someone in your household who keeps on saying

‘you know what, I wish I knew more about wine because every time I go out to dinner I find myself ordering the same thing and I’m getting REALLY BORED of it!!!!!’

Then stick our flier under their nose and riposte:

‘look, here’s your chance to swim with the big fish, to explore your potential, expand your horizons and also learn the difference between Shiraz and Syrah! Plus you get the chance to go out on a Wednesday night, have a couple of glasses of wine and mark it down as education – who ever thought you could do lessons in drinking like an expert! If you don’t do it, I will and you can look after the kids….’

So toss a coin, have an arm wrestle, run a race – do whatever it is you do in your household to win arguments and then sign up for the course. Alternatively hire a babysitter and both come.

Flier is attached with more substance and detail; suffice to say it is quite a popular Christmas gift…

Introducing Wasmund’s

Whilst we are talking of Christmas presents, these are awesome:

Wasmund’s Barrel Kit™ provides a uniquely creative opportunity for the casual or professional mixologist, the creative aspiring chef, or the true whisky connoisseur. Read more…
The kits include: Two-liter charred American White Oak mini-barrel and two 700ml bottles of Wasmund’s Single Malt Spirit.

These lines are lifted from their website but to put it in our words, how do you fancy making your own Whisky? You get a little wooden barrel to age it in and the raw spirit to make it and the rest is up to you. You probably might want to season the barrel first, I know Wayne is muttering about buying some Pedro Ximenez sherry to give it some character and then you stick the spirit in and age away.

£120 buys you the kit and sets you well on the way to becoming the next Glen Morangie!

Other Spirits

If life is too short for DIY then we do of course have pre-made Whisky too, nestled between the Amaretto, Gin and Vodka, just above the Kummel.

Black Ship 5 year Old £22.49 – distilled, blended and bottled in Scotland this is delicious. A blend of sweeter grain whisky and heavier pungent malts gives it some proper gravitas. The Malts hail from the Highlands and the Islands and are all a bit older than stated, giving it a really satisfying rounded character.
Actually we’re sure it’s the booty from a sunken ghost ship that washed ashore in Ullapool but surprisingly have no supporting evidence.

Old Reserve Finlaggan Islay Single Malt £29.99 – the best sales tool we have for this is the quote from Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2007:
‘BRILLIANT,…. this is simply awesome. If you don’t get a bottle of this, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life!’

Ardbeg ‘Uigeadail’ £60 – Smoky, brooding and unique. Silky and complex with smoked winter spices, coffee, warm cake and a touch of Montecristo Cigar. Christmas afternoon, bottled. The name is specifically formulated combination of letters designed to make English people feel stupid when they try to pronounce it and is in fact the local term for bampot.
Or perhaps it’s named after the Loch that provides the peaty water that brings the classic Ardbeg character but that sounds completely outlandish to me.

The Coopers Choice Glenrothes 1997 £69.69– bottled in 2014, 16 years old, from Speyside and from a batch of just 300 bottles, this is all a bit special. Lovely dollops of cream on the nose, an appealing smooth sweetness and some delicious dark fruits on the palate. When things got quiet for the Eagles and Van Halen in the 90’s, Glenn Frey and Dave Lee Roth decided that whisky could perhaps provide the financial security they were seeking and this beauty was born.

The Coopers Choice Port Charlotte 2002 £62.49 – bottled in 2014, 9 years old, from Islay and from a batch of just 330 bottles. A heavy peated Bruichladdich with tones of butterscotch, cream and violets in the background, some medicinal TCP, a really nice mouthfeel with some sweetness in there that makes it really, really attractive – clean, rounded edges and a lingering finish. You can thank the warbling, Welsh wonder-woman, Charlotte Church, for this one!

So, that’s about it from us this week except to mention that this evening Alex will be opening the Reyneke Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2013 £13.89 a tasty organic blend from South Africa chased up by Moulin des Chenes 2012 £13.99 from Lirac which is just to the west of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, a classic Rhone blend which in essence means it’s delicious.

A number of people are starting their Thanksgiving celebrations this weekend so stock up on Californian Pinot Noir I say, and give thanks that Prohibition is over!

Slàinte mhor a h-uile là a chi ‘s nach fhaic!

But why would you? Chambolle-Musigny, Meursault and Rully

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It gives me great pleasure to introduce a new, occasional feature under the working title
‘Things we didn’t know we needed until someone far cooler than us told us!’

This feature struggled to life when we came across Moet Ice in the summer and has since been followed up by Guinness flavoured coffee from Starbucks and now we have a new contender for the ‘But why would you?’ Cup – 2014.

Let me introduce you to Olives Et Al, a specialist in things that kids tend to scrape off and leave on the side of their plates, based in Sturminster Newton in Dorset. Now, I have friends that used to live the life down in Stur and they always spoke highly of the local food opportunities and I am sure I have eaten more than one olive from Et Al.

But now they’ve blown it with the introduction of the ‘world’s first’ Alcoholic Olives. Because for me that is the one thing that has always been missing. When I have a bowl of olives in front of me the first thing that springs to mind is ‘wow, these look great but how much better it would be if they tasted of vodka.’

End of rant.

Another tail (you’ll see what I did here in a minute) that I read, once I had recovered from my olive induced hangover, was of a German Shepherd dog in Folkestone that had to be rushed to the vet having drunk a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream. The story could have been tragic since the dog was found slumped unconscious, having chewed off the lid and consumed the sickly sweet contents leading to it having to be put under anaesthetic to prevent seizures.

The dog is very lucky to be alive and the vet warned pet owners to be extremely vigilant at this time of year.
We would like to add our own message to keep everyone safe – Bailey’s is awful for all breeds of dogs, cats, and quite probably hamsters too!

Forty one

Fab number this, very important in many ways, not least because it’s the age of a number of our friends.

It’s also a prime number, the atomic number of the element Niobium and also the lowest ground temperature, in Fahrenheit, at which snow will not form. Colder than that and we’ve got snow, kids.

Most importantly though, it’s the number of days left until Christmas. To celebrate this milestone we have been busy shopping this week. In typical festive fashion we have been chasing this season’s must haves, spending more money than we’ve got and waiting for courier deliveries that never turn up when they’re supposed to.

However the good news is that we are slowly building stock for the big day and some new wines are strolling into the limelight.

Hambledon Classic Cuvee £29.99 – the fizz we tasted last week and very much enjoyed. Significantly it has its own character and poise rather than trying to be a Champagne, which is refreshing.

From Burgundy, we have a small parcel of Remoissenet Chambolle-Musigny 2010 – £34.99, a brand new Meursault – ‘Les Chevalières’ 2010 from Domaine Coche-Bizoud – £31.99 and a wine that we sold for ages when we were plying our trade up the hill in Clapham – Rully ‘La Chaume’ 2012, Domaine Jacques Dury – £16.99.

South Africa sees the arrival of Klein Constantia Estate Red 2012 – £19.99 which we forgot to buy when we bought their white and their Vin de Constance!

11 bottles of Monte Real Gran Reserva Rioja 2004 – £26.99, an extremely tasty St Emilion from Chateau Jacques Noir 2010 – £20.99, and hopefully by the time you read this we’ll have some new whiskies on the shelf too.

This is just a snapshot of what is in stock, so how about we invite you over and you can see for yourself? This weekend we’ll taste a splash of Champagne – the Beaumet 2004 has now become Beaumet 2006 so we thought we should open it up. It would seem sensible, as the rugby is on, to taste the Klein Constantia Red but if you fancy some white, we’ll open up the Rully from Dury and then, to finish you off, we still have a load of sherries open from Fernando de Castilla.

Oh, and there’s always some spirits to try too…

Up ‘n’ at ‘em, I say,

Wayne & Alex

Wines of Chile Independent Wine Merchant Awards, Cahors and a drop of English

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

A quick trawl around this week finds Tower Hamlets council so firmly on the naughty step that Eric Pickles has taken over.
Police in Sussex clearly have no work to do as reports come in they are investigating after ONE complaint that an effigy of Alex Salmond replaced Guy Fawkes on a bonfire in Lewes. Can nobody laugh at themselves anymore?

Whilst more locally, police probably should be investigating former transport minister Sadiq Khan, who was allegedly photographed talking on his phone whilst driving. Apparently, said mobile phone has been persistently going to voicemail ever since.

In wine news, the wine trade is abuzz with furious reports of outrage as Majestic Wine is charging its suppliers 4p per bottle sold from now until April to fund moving to a new warehouse. I may be a bit naïve but is it not the owners of the business who should invest in the infrastructure for growth?

Whilst we’re on the subject of wine news we’ll take this opportunity for a quick fanfare on our own trumpet. We were runners up (for the third time) in the Wines of Chile Independent Wine Merchant Awards. Sadly no wine-buying trip to Chile but it’s very nice to be in the top 10!

End of an Era 1
A lot of you have been sharing the binend delight that is Chateau Durandeau 2006 (£9.99) but now it is sadly nearly at an end. We think there should be enough to get us to Santa O’clock but we’re making no promises. We have just taken delivery of 20 boxes and there is one more lot to come, so if it is your favourite you have been warned!

End of an Era 2
Chateau Paillas 2002 (£12.59) is also coming to an end as the vintage has finally run out and we have just a few bottles left. But fear not, this is no Cahors calamity, as it will be moving on to 2005 later this month.

Tastings update
Just to keep everyone up to speed.

We have four spaces left on the Christmas Wine & Cheese Evening – Thursday 20th November – £20 per person.

We have two spaces left on the Fabulous Festive Fine Wines Tasting – Wednesday 10th December – £25 per person.
All the other tastings are sold out I’m afraid.

If however you fancy learning more about wine in the New Year then our wine school restarts on Wednesday 28th January – full details attached. Makes a fab Christmas present for those ‘impossible to buy for’ family members!

What’s in the Glass this Weekend?

We thought we’d take you all on a virtual trip to the Loire Valley. So picture if you will the two tone turrets of Angers, the beauty of Chateau Chenonceau spanning the river Cher, and perhaps the chalk caves where they grow mushrooms. Ok, so now you’re with us we’ll open with Val de Loire Sauvignon Blanc 2013(£9.99) a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Valencay.

We’ll follow up with Terra Ligeria Gamay (£10.99) a crunchy red fruited little number that we’re hoping is going to tantalise those taste buds!

Friday, it’s the Fizz of the Week

In our quest to fill your glasses with deliciousness we taste lots of wines, discard the nasties and list the tasty ones as new wines. We thought you might like to join in the fun. So, as a Brucie bonus on a Friday evening, we thought we’d steal a feature from our friends in the north. We’re going to taste a new fizz Hambledon Vineyard Classic Cuvée which will be £29.99 (assuming we like it). It’s from near Waterlooville in Hampshire, which according to Uncle Google is 186 miles from Norwich.

Pop in for a drop of English!