Archive for January, 2015

Dippy the Dinosaur

Friday, January 30th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,
We heard surprising, nay shocking, news this week, and it is with very mixed emotions that we report it. “Dippy”, the resin boned Diplodocus skeleton that has welcomed visitors to the Natural History Museum for the best part of 40 years, is to be given his marching orders. As part of a big shake up, poor old Dippy has become a victim of the search for authenticity.
“Everyone loves ‘Dippy’, but it’s just a copy,” commented Sir Michael Dixon, the NHM’s director, “and what makes this museum special is that we have real objects from the natural world – over 80 million of them – and they enable our scientists and thousands like them from around the world to do real research.”
It’s unlikely it’ll be put out to grass though; there is talk of Dippy going on the road touring regional museums. Currently, it’s not clear if The Science Museum’s robotics division will be involved in this!
The museum will be replacing him with the blue whale skeleton that currently lurks in the mammal room. “Bluey”, who came to the museum in 1891, will be disassembled, scanned and reassembled in Hintze Hall in Dippy’s place. Positioned in a diving pose hanging from the ceiling, I’m sure Bluey will be very impressive.
Also, the scanning process will allow those lucky people with a 3D printer to print their very own whalebones. How cool would a whalebone bench be on the garden terrace, eh?
Who knows we may even be able to get a crystal company to sponsor the exhibit and have the world’s largest, most bling chandelier!
So, whilst we have a great fondness for dinosaurs (just look at Wayne!), we’re looking forward to a change of scene, but will of course raise a glass to Dippy and thank him for all the memories.
Elsewhere, Andy Murray reached the final of the Australian Open which I’m sure has changed the nature of a few peoples plans for Sunday morning. Burns Night last week, Andy Murray this week, we’ve gone Scot-tastic – we’ll be selling whisky next! Finlaggan £29.99 single Islay malt from a secret distillery.
January Sale – 6 bottles for the price of 5
January ends on Saturday, and so does our fabulous offer.
Once 8pm arrives on Saturday we’re done, no more 16.66 % discount, you have been warned!
Thursday 12th February – 8pm – Wine and Cheese Tasting £20 per person
Thursday 12th March – 8pm – Wine and Cheese Tasting £20 per person
Wednesday 25th March 2015 – 8pm – The ‘Definitely No Sauvignon’ Tasting (Wayne’s Weird Grapes) £20 per person SOLD OUT
Thursday 16th April – 8pm – Wine and Cheese Tasting £20 per person
This Weekends Garglers
Tickling your tonsils this weekend we’re going to start off with a museum release Riesling from Clare Valley. Pauletts Aged Release Riesling 2008 (£18.99) is from the Polish Hill River vineyards and has aged gracefully, picking up some honeyed notes along the way. We reckon its bang on with a spot of Korean barbecue.
In the red corner, we’re heading to another country enjoying their summer. South Africa’s Stellenbosch is the stomping ground for the Helderburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (£13.49). A lovely rich red we’re thinking it will be the ideal partner to all those casseroles we’re contemplating.
Last word this week we will leave the final words to Sir Michael Dixon: “We’re not just nerdy guys who can identify every species of butterfly.”
Wayne & Alex

Prohibition lasted 5,072 days – makes a 31 day detox in January seem trifling!

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

If you think it’s glum now, imagine how you might have felt 96 years ago in the US?

On January 16th 1919 the 18th Amendment to the US constitution was ratified which, a year later, resulted in the nationwide ban on alcohol, more normally known as Prohibition. This lasted almost 14 years, which is 5,072 days or 724 weeks and 4 days in common parlance.

Makes a 31 day detox in January seem trifling.

And then we read, slightly after the event admittedly, an article that in April last year appeared in a number of newspapers: A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims was The Independent’s take on it, whilst the Daily Mail led with: Bottle of wine a day ‘is not bad for you’: Leading scientist also claims those who exceed recommended dose could live longer than teetotallers. This sounded much, much more exciting than Prohibition (even if, on reading the article, the science was somewhat flawed) and certainly more in line with our business plan.

So we have struck a sensible balance here at Park Vintners – not a bottle a day but also not 5,000 days without a bottle!

Although, saying that, we have actually tasted a reasonable amount since last week. The sparkling wines we opened last Saturday from Hoffmann & Rathbone went down an absolute storm with masses of positive feedback – I have to say the last bit of the Blanc de Blancs was a treat with some oysters on Saturday night!

Sunday was freestyle wine drinking in the comfort of our own homes but once we were back in the saddle on Monday, we very soon found ourselves on a DLR to Shadwell. Wapping, previously known as the wrong end of nowhere, is now firmly on the map for tastings, courtesy of the recently re-launched exhibition space that is Tobacco Dock. Here we found ourselves fully immersed in Gallic charm and culture as we tasted our way through a large spread of wines from the Loire Valley – we thoroughly enjoyed them and, if everything goes according to plan, you will also get to sample them in the not too distant future, watch this space.

The rest of the week has been very dry, so as we approach the weekend we really need to get some wine open for tasting in the shop, as I’m sure you’ll agree. In June last year we tasted these two wines on the same weekend as Glastonbury and they injected some southern European sunshine into those stormy nights – hopefully that same sunshine will appear in our glasses tonight?!

Leira Seca Vinho Verde Alvarinho e Trajadura 2013, Minho, Portugal – £10.49
From the sloping banks of the Minho River, which is the natural border of Spain and Portugal. Ripe, soft, stonefruits on the nose which continue onto the palate, where they are joined by deliciously crisp lemon and lime citrus notes. These characteristics are then tied together in a lingering fruit zing finish with evidence of ripe apple and even some hints of minerality. We likey a loty.

Quinta do Correio Tinto 2011, Dão, Portugal – £10.49
Wayne first met Luis Lourenço at a talk on Portuguese wine. He is one of the Dão regions innovators, staying loyal to his regions grape varieties, but really shaking up how the wines are made. This wine has a large percentage of the Jaen grape variety, giving it a real crunchy juiciness. The Touriga Nacional brings a bit of grip and darkness whilst the Alfrocheiro adds some perfume to the blend. Just the ticket on a cold January evening!

Last but not least, we have made a resolution to be better organised this year. We all know resolutions are there to be broken but at least our hearts are in the right place. Putting the resolution into practice we have organised a schedule of tastings, which will be added to over time I’m sure, but in the meantime here are the first confirmed dates:

Cheese and Wine tastings – 8pm – £20 per person
Thursday 12th February, Thursday 12th March, and Thursday 16th April – usual rules we source fine cheese, match some wines and then you tell us how marvellous we are at choosing cheese but did we really think that wine would ever work well with it?

The ‘Definitely No Sauvignon’ Tasting – 8pm – £20 per person
Thursday 26th March – A few of you have asked us to put this tasting on, so we will. We will open some of our more esoteric wines for your delectation and have a jolly fun time doing so. Wayne has given this tasting a working title ‘Weird Grapes’ but don’t let that put you off!!

That’s it for now, if you want to join any of the above tastings then please just reply to this email, phone us on 020 8944 5224 or come and say hello in person.

Did we mention 16.6666% off six bottles until the end of the month – well now we have!

As our friends in Muswell Hill always say – Plead the 21st!!

We’ve not bought a lorry load of slightly iffy toasters or tellys, and we’ve not randomly increased the prices by 15%

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It being January, things have been a little quiet during the day here in Wimbledon Park. Wayne keyed the VAT return, whilst all the time quietly rueing the folly of letting Alex do the considerably smaller previous quarter, and Alex had his nose buried deep in some research. Reading aloud from the study, Alex stated that scientists had discovered that drinking sparkling wine gets the alcohol into your blood quicker than still wine – DUH!

They concluded that this faster action may increase the chance of a hangover.

As you can imagine we were impressed. Impressed that anybody had been persuaded to research something that for all our years in the trade we’d taken as a given. These researchers should be in sales not academia!

We further extrapolated the research and concluded that those of you detoxing this month with fizzy water might possibly be feeling worse than those slaking your thirst with still!

Sunblock Grapes

As Australia struggles through one of its hottest years on record we read, with a mixture of alarm and amusement, that winemakers in the Hunter Valley have been spraying their vineyards with sunblock! So, if in a year or two’s time you open a bottle that has a whiff of the Hawaiian Tropic about it, you’ll know what vintage it is and from what country.
Tasting tips as they happen folks, keeping you ahead of the curve!

Vote For Us, please

West London Mums have very kindly nominated our private tastings as one of the area’s top nights out. If you’d agree please do vote for us (voting closes on the 10th Jan) on the link below. We’re chuffed somebody mentioned us and always like something to brag about on a Saturday!

January Sale

Our super deal for January is Six For The Price Of Five. Rest assured it is not one of those big chain fake deals, we’ve not bought a lorry load of slightly iffy toasters or tellys, and we’ve not randomly increased the prices by 15% first.

Buy six bottles and you’ll get 16.66666% off. Simple, straightforward and helping us to pay the previously mentioned VAT!

Wine School

Term starts on Wednesday 28th January at 8pm. There are no exams, plenty of practical, and let’s face it, the TV is rubbish on a Wednesday.
So if you’d like to know more about wine, want to taste around 60 wines come join us, there are, as I write, four places left and it costs just £150 per person.

Phone us on 020 8944 5224 or email to join the throng.

Tasting This Weekend

We started with fizz and we’ll end with fizz. Having spoilt you all rotten with fine wines, spirits and sparklers throughout December, we’ve discovered a bit of a taste for the highlife.

We also like to use you as guinea pigs as much as we can when we are looking at new wines and the second Saturday in January seems like a good time to start.

A little while back, Alex met a winemaker at a tasting (imagine that) and he got chatting (ditto). Ulrich, the winemaker, explained that he had just made some English Sparkling Wine that he was rather pleased with. This was 2011, so the wine was still maturing.

Fast forward 3 ½ years and Alex bumps into Ulrich again and once more they chat. Ulrich mentions his wines had now been finished and had been released just recently. Being the gentleman and scholar that he is, Ulrich suggested it might be an idea to send us some bottles that we could try and then feedback on.

Fast forward to now. Tomorrow, we will taste three sparkling wines from the inaugural release of Hoffmann & Rathbone in West Sussex.

We have the Classic Cuvée 2010, Rosé Réserve 2010 and the Blanc de Blancs 2010.

These are rare beasts indeed, with a total production of only around 6,000 bottles so we’ll have to fight for an allocation. They look the business from a packaging point of view, so why don’t you come in and have a taste and let us know what you think?

I think that’s all for this week, one down, only three left until Feb!

Wayne & Alex