Archive for December, 2014

Predictions are a mugs game – discuss

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,
And so we bid a fond farewell to 2014. Some people take this is a time of reflection, a mental checklist of success and failure over the last 8760 hours if you will. However many of us, blinded by the post-Christmas haze, find it difficult to recall what happened before the 22nd December with any real clarity. For us reflection doesn’t take nearly so long and is easily measured in success levels first established by Oliver Reed, Georgie Best and Man Against Food. Oh, and the bathroom scales.
So with all this in mind, we are going to look ahead to 2015 and assess what the year may have in store…
• Temperatures soar in Park Vintners as we discover hidden vents in the wall between us and the dry cleaners
• Wayne & Alex both carry on running but delight in the fact that they’re not doing the marathon, so don’t have to run in the snow
• Did we mention snow? Arthur Road will experience delays similar to those in the Alps this week. Mulled Wine sales will quadruple. (Note to self – buy mulling spices…)
• Torrential rain makes Andy Murray feel very at home in the Australian Open, before exiting in the second round
• Park Vintners offer their, now world famous, 6 for 5 deal throughout the month
• Park Vintners Wine School starts its 6 week semester 28th January – spaces still available
• Secret admirers will express their admiration secretly on the 14th
• Also on the 14th Italy beat England for the first time ever, at HQ and dreams of a World Cup lie flaccid in the Twickenham mud. (Italy will go on to beat New Zealand in the quarter finals before losing to eventual winners Argentina in the semis)
• Cricket World Cup starts – spot betting scandals ensue
• Lent takes hold – abstinence is King, boredom is Queen and grumpiness is the Crown Prince
• April 5th is egg-stremely egg-citing
• London Marathon – watch it on telly with a glass of Champagne
• Cheltenham Festival – Guinness sales in the Cotswolds hit new highs
• ‘Margate hotter than Malaga’ headlines hit the newsstands as floods develop in Ottery St Mary
• Giro d’Italia helps those chubby cyclists shed a few pounds
• NZ are here to play some crucket whilst we nip to Holland to catch up on the Beach Volleyball World Cup
• Tennis and cricket – Wimbledon & The Ashes – what could go wrong here?
• Wimbledon Park empties as summer officially opens in Devon & Cornwall
• Wayne sweeps the shop a lot and, in a fit of boredom, goes the ‘full paleo’ and eats his wife
• Everybody back, tanned and lovely, ready to pile the pounds back on whilst at the pub watching the Rugby World Cup
• Wayne finally gets the chance to go on holiday now that the school holidays are over
• People start talking about Christmas
• Wayne makes bail in time for Christmas (see August) and is told to stick to Brussels Sprouts and to avoid all other Belgian dishes
• For the millionth year in a row we try to find a Red Burgundy for Christmas consumption that costs less than a house on the Grid
• We fail
• PV celebrates its 5th Birthday – a frenzy of bubbles and biltong ensue and much fun is had
• And now here we are at New Years Eve – I wonder what will happen next year?!
So, plenty to look forward to over the next 12 months. However if you’re looking for more immediate gratification why not pop in today and taste a couple of treats with us – we’ve opened the Neudorf Chardonnay Nelson 2011 (£24.99) from the legendary New Zealand estate and from across the ditch, another legend of a wine – Geoff Merrill McLaren Vale Shiraz 2006 (£29.99) both because we fancied finishing the year up with some nice wine!
Only a few more hours to go before Jools grinds through the gears and brings 2014 to a close – boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing, boing – HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Reindeer Powered Spacecraft, Speedy Santa, Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,
We’ve found ourselves wondering this week if the dramatic fall in the oil price was due to persistent rumours that Google is secretly developing a reindeer powered spacecraft. The rumours arrived in our in-box after discovering that, to visit all the children in the world tonight, Santa and his reindeer-powered sleigh will be travelling at an average speed of 4,680,000 mph. Clearly to achieve that speed with only carrots, mince pies and sherry is some feat and we can understand Googles interest.
To be honest we’re amazed Santa’s beard is so presentable in his photographs, we would have thought those kind of speeds would guarantee a more backcombed/beehive look!
We have been unable to ascertain if that speed allows for toilet stops or if there is some onboard arrangement, we do hope so!
We would also like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.
We’re here until 5pm today and then back again at 11am on the Monday 29th for the final push towards January.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
Wayne & Alex

Saturday 20th December would be a great day to wear Christmas Jumpers…

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Those of you with a memory profile more akin to an elephant than a goldfish may recall that at this time last year we spoke about the origins of Christmas Crackers. Well we thought this year we might cast a glance over some other Christmas traditions.

Christmas Cards were a Victorian invention, the first card was made in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole (coincidently of the British Postal Service) and depicted a picture by artist John Horsley and wording that may be familiar “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”. The idea to send cards to family, friends and business associates caught on quickly, no doubt aided by the enthusiasm of the British Postal Service!

The use of Holly and Mistletoe were both fully entrenched long before we began celebrating Christmas. Druids regarded Mistletoe as sacred and dedicated it to the Goddess of Love, whilst in British folklore Holly has long been considered a protector against evil, and leaves from a female holly bush under the pillow would allow the future to be foreseen in dreams.

The Queen’s Speech was first given by George V (things were different in the ‘30’s) but was first televised in 1957 on the 25th anniversary of her Grandfathers inaugural radio speech.

Tins of Quality Street were first available in 1936, five years after the first Chocolate Orange.

Opening Hours

Sunday 21st December 11am – 3pm
Monday 22nd December 11am – 8pm
Tuesday 23rd December 11am – 8pm
Wednesday 24th December 10am – 5pm
Thursday 25th – Sunday 28th December Closed
Monday 29th December 11am – 8pm
Tuesday 30th December 11am – 8pm
Wednesday 31st December 11am – 6pm
Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th January Closed
Monday 5th January Back to Normal

It’s never too late…

You still can’t find that perfect present and time is a ticking by – fear not help is at hand. Our 6 week Wine School makes a perfect gift at £150 and it’s not just a gift but an educashun too, win double, as they say. We’ve attached details – all it takes is a phone call and a credit card and the gift is yours, how easy is that! Our number is 020 8944 5224 or of course you could pop in and enjoy some wines tomorrow such as….

Tasting This Weekend

All sorts of fun to be had with us this weekend: we’ll be splashing the bubbly as a livener with newbie from New Zealand Leveret IQ3 (£19.99), followed by Kevin Judd’s Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (£17.99) also from NZ and firmly in the white corner. On the red front, Alex is threatening a guzzle on Henri Prudhon’s St Aubin 1er Cr ‘Les Frionnes’ 2009 (£23.99) a bit of a bobby dazzler from the Cotes De Beaune, which he thinks is bang on with his turkey. Wayne meantime, a bit of a Port monster truth be known, has been wittering on all week about the Krohn LBV 2007 (£17.99) which he thinks is a bit of a snip for a traditional styled LBV. We might even have a mince pie handy to go with that!

Christmas Jumpers

You know how it is, you’re in the pub, talk is cheap, anything and everything is possible. Last week Wayne’s wife very, very, very kindly gave us both a seasonal sweater to wear. Awesome, thank you very much, we chorused in unison. As we were in the pub and also in our cups, we boldly proclaimed that Saturday 20th December would be a great day to wear them. So we will be sporting our Christmas attire all day tomorrow – come and join in, just for a laugh!

If we don’t see you, do have yourselves a Joyeux Noel and a Bonne Année!

Bollinger, Hambledon and Wombles

Friday, December 12th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,
This week has been a bit hectic if we’re honest, it took us ages to find the bulb that wasn’t working in the lights, Wayne was a bit wobbly on the ladder with the tinsel, and we haven’t even stuck the star together yet.
Elsewhere we saw Yodel wave the white flag really early (10th Dec is surely some record), Fidel Castro won a peace award, and Heineken has been struck off of the JD Wetherspoon’s Christmas Card list.
In wine news we discovered that Jose Mourinho’s price per play is a “nice bottle of red” if you’re a rookie, and two ladies in Abruzzo have been fined, and imprisoned, for stealing two bottles of wine from a church.
Tastings done
All our closed shop evening tastings for this year are now done, rest assured we’ll be back with some more in the New Year.
We finished on a bit of a high though with some stunning wines on Wednesday night, the Bollinger Grand Année 2004 (£70) was particularly fine, and, with a slice or two of smoked salmon, might just make the perfect Christmas morning breakfast.
Presents Wrapped
We have a perfectly shaped gift that keeps on giving. £150 will buy a place at the table on our six week wine course. We’ll talk about sniffing, slurping, swirling and of course wine. Wine is the entire point really, you’ll taste around 60 different ones including sweet and bubbly styles. It’s very easy to wrap up and full details are attached…
Stories Told
Those of you with a better memory than Wayne will recall us mentioning our new English bubbly Hambledon Classic Cuvée (£29.99). What we never got round to talking about was the history behind the wine. It seems that Hambledon was in fact the old name for Wimbledon which for many centuries was known as Hambledon on the Hill. It was only when Elisabeth Beresford wrote her thesis on a rare pointy nosed beast that inhabited the common at the top of the hill, that the area was re-named. So there you go folks, a fizz from Hampshire with a name uncannily like the ancient name for our area.
One for the Road
This week we will be pulling a cork, shooting the breeze and with a bit of luck selling a bottle of wine or two. To help us get through the day we will open…
Lunetta Prosecco Brut NV, Veneto £10.49 to help Alex celebrate a new grey hair in his beard (Italian at Uni blah blah)
Pulenta Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza £12.99 a lovely creamy Chardonnay from Argentina
Chateau Durandeau 2006, Bordeaux £9.99 absolutely delicious mature Bordeaux for a tenner!
Domaine de la Pointe 2010, Pomerol £34.99 because it’s Pomerol and our friend Mark used to go dancing with the lady who does the winemaking!
I would just mention our deal on Bollinger a six box for £198 makes it just £33 a bottle, at some point we will run out, you’ve been warned!
Ding dong
Wayne & Alex

Chocolate Block, The King’s Ginger & Macon Uchizy

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Nine quintillion, two hundred and twenty-three quadrillion, three hundred and seventy-two trillion, thirty-six billion, eight hundred and fifty-four million, seven hundred and seventy-five thousand, eight hundred and eight – 9,223,372,036,854,775,808.

That’s a mighty big number and is in no way linked to the fact that it was Wayne’s birthday earlier this week as that would just be a cheap joke.
Nor is it the scientifically predicted age that Madonna will stop making boobs to attract attention.

And it isn’t even the odds of Mario Balotelli re-reading and vetting a tweet before he sends it.

No, it’s a number invented by You Tube as a maximum for viewings of a single clip. They had to do this because a certain clip had exceeded their previous limit and so it had to be re-pegged. Any ideas on the clip in question? Kim Kardashian and her attempt to break the internet? Cats being cute? The naked man climbing through a baler and emerging as a hay bale with arms and legs? No, none of these I’m afraid. It was in fact Gangnam Style. Yep, a song with a strange fetish dance involving galloping. Are we really in a better place now than we were pre-world wide web?

Gone in 60 Seconds
Can’t stop the Block, you can’t stop the Block, Can’t stop the Block, you can’t stop the Block, Can’t stop the Block, you can’t stop the Block, Can’t stop the Block, you can’t stop…

By skilfully remixing cheeky, ambient-techno-rock beat combo, Apollo 440’s well known 1999 #10 hit Stop the Rock, I hope to have come up with a good enough strapline to remind you that you really can’t stop the Block. It may go out of commission for a while as stocks run low and vintages finish but it has its own potent life force that overcomes all adversity and allows it to return harder, better, faster and stronger than before. I am of course referring to the South African legend in its own lunchtime, THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK. (Cue applause)

Now the cheering has subsided I can confirm that we have indeed lassoed ourselves a reasonable chunk of the 2013 vintage. For those of you as yet unversed in this wine, here are a few bullet points:

• Produced by Boekenhoutskloof which, in their own words, ‘is the magical little wine farm where we raise the bar (and some of our more conventional neighbour’s eyebrows) when it comes to creating some of the country’s finest wines.’
• They are based in Franschhoek, South Africa, a wine travellers dream destination.
• It’s a blend, perhaps not for the faint-hearted, this vintage is 71% Syrah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Grenache, 5% Cinsault, 1% Viognier. Wumf!
• Not only does it come in normal bottle size but we also have a limited quantity of magnums should there be requirement to share.
• It’s £23.99 per bottle and £50 for the oh-so-sexy magnum.
• We also offer 6 bottles for £120, which is the same deal we have done for the last two years and is still set up on the till so we might as well stick with it!
• There is no chocolate in it because that would be just weird.
• And wrong.

It won’t all be gone in 60 seconds but it is a popular wine, so don’t be backward in coming forward!

It’s a Wonderful Life
As it’s now December and we are all gearing up for the frenzy of festivities, we like to do our bit to oil the ‘wheels’ and ensure they are all kept well oiled – so it’s a great excuse for us to open a few more wines over the weekend to help this.
So what are we going to open?

M B Talmard Macon Uchizy 2013, Burgundy, France (£14.99)
Mallory and Benjamin produce just one cuvée of Macon each year from their 20 hectares just north of the Macon hills. Richer and riper than many, it has a generous weight, subtle, almost tropical fruit with aromas of melon, ripe pear, lemon oil and almonds and rich, bready character on the palate from extended lees aging and a long fresh, finish with hints of apple. A good all-rounder, from start to finish.

Mentoste Rioja Reserva 2004, Rioja, Spain (£17.49)
We first came across this wine in its 2001 incarnation and were smitten. This follow on vintage we loved too. Partly for only making it again in another stonkingly good vintage, but also because it was so delicious again. The plummy, cherry fruits are nicely accented by the wood spicing, and the tannins fruit and acidity are all really well integrated. A glassful of joy!

Pauletts Trillians Sparkling Red NV, Clare Valley (£14.49)
76% Shiraz, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. Pauletts have been known for producing wines of finesse and elegance since their first vintage in 1983 (Neil had spent 10 odd years at Penfold’s before buying this property) This extraordinary speciality red sparkling wine is a cool climate blend from vines situated on the Trillians Hills in Clare Valley. It is a deep ruby colour with a lively mousse yet the savoury and plum aromas and subtle tannins give a lasting impression of elegance and well balanced restraint.

Soave Capitel Tenda Tedeschi 2013, Veneto, Italy (£12.99)
Ricardo Tedeschi is a man who takes his wines very seriously. His vineyards are all on slopes, aiding the ripeness of his grapes. He even leaves a few bunches to be a little overripe – adding them to the main blend improves the texture and complexity, he tells me. Whatever he does, it works for me – this is richer than many, with some orchard fruit notes and a creamy touch of almond alongside the minerality one expects from a decent example.

High School Musical
If you’re still struggling to find the perfect gift for your perfect person then perhaps we might be able to help. We’ve all been there with this marvellous person who is witty, engaging, caring and considerate but frankly useless when it comes to the wine list. ‘I’m sure the house white will be fine’ is a well used mantra but it does somewhat limit the excitement your tastebuds get.

So, solve the problem – send them to our wine school! After six weeks they will emerge blearily, having tasted about 60 wines and exercised their palate to its extremes. Rush them to the nearest restaurant and they will now confidently order the Gruner Veltiner or the Nebbiolo and know why they’re doing it. Everyone wins.

If you’d like to know more we have attached details or pop in and have a chat with us and we can show you how it works.

The Old Curiosity Shop
This Saturday is small business Saturday where small businesses around the country will be doing something special to attract your custom (Alex has even had a haircut!).
So please do shop at your local small shops, you’ll find them welcoming and friendly.

Devils Playground

Last up, it’s the Wimbledon Park Primary School Christmas shindig on Sunday from 12 until 3pm.
Alex will be performing his civic duty and serving mulled wine again but he is also threatening to bring some spirits down with him to sample. So if anyone wants to find out why we’re making such a fuss about our new Amaretto then Sunday might be just the time.

What colour’s the King, Alex? The King’s Ginger, Wayne…