Archive for April, 2015

But now it’s Friday and we can think about far more exciting things than supermarkets and Wayne with red hair…

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Everyone recovered from the craziness that is April 23rd? I don’t know what those Irish think they’re up to, we’re definitely the ones who know how to throw a party, and how!

First up, I saw at least two cars sporting the St George’s Cross; a couple of scaffolders sang Jerusalem, and then I saw him.

Hair dyed bright red, red and white grease paint on his face, gambolling up and down Arthur Road tilting at invisible dragons with a plastic lance he had brought from home. Three times the police had to remove him from the tube station as he tried to lure the aforementioned dragons from the tunnel with Yorkshire Pudding and Apple Crumble. He was last seen cycling off into the sunset, pannier filled with a takeaway from the local Chinese (Dragon King FYI) muttering loudly about conspiracy theories and the Knights Templar.

So today he has the day off, bless him.

Me, I dressed up like Shakespeare, copied this blog from one Wayne had written earlier, and spent the day talking to a skull – no madness in this King George!

What else has happened this week? Tesco hit the headlines hard, so hard in fact that the news that Sainsbury’s is looking to shed around 800 jobs by stripping out a seam of middle management almost slipped under the radar. And at the start of the week Which? launched something called a ‘super-complaint’ to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), calling for an end to misleading and unclear pricing/sharp practices that serve to create a false illusion of savings. The culprits? Asda, Tesco, Ocado and Waitrose. Trust in the supermarkets must be at an all-time low.

But now it’s Friday and we can think about far more exciting things than supermarkets and Wayne with red hair…

Wine & Cheese Tasting – last two before summer

This is where we get four cheeses in from our chums at Norbiton Fine Cheese, partner them with six wines we think will do the business and then have a round table discussion on the merits of our choices.

We have two more slotted in before the summer Thursday 14th May, and Thursday 11th June. Both start at 8pm, will cost £20 for your place so if you’d like to come along give us a call as soon as possible on 020 8944 5224 to book yourself in.

Think Pink – A tour of Rosé

So there we were, standing in the shop, watching the world go by in the sunshine when before we knew it a plan had formulated for a tasting across a range of Rosé.  Some still, some sparkling, and certainly all very tasty.

Thursday 11th July at 8pm and £20 per place, so if you want to feel in the pink give us a call on 020 8944 5224 to book yourself in – we think this will sell out fast!

Wine School

Wednesday 3rd June sees us start the new term for wine school. You’ll be signing up for six Wednesday evenings where you’ll taste 60 wines, get to know your claret from your Beaujolais and possibly even discover a new favourite.

3rd June – 8th July inclusive, cost is £150 per person and we kick off each evening at 8pm.

This will be the last course before summer so if you want to have more of a clue when confronted by the winelist in that lovely bistro in the South of France, now’s your chance!


Last week we mentioned a couple of deals on the old bubbly stuff, both have been going well, so we thought we’d mention them again.

That way you don’t miss out and Alex may get a chance to wear his ‘Salesman of the Month’ tie-pin again. Leveret IQ Brut (£14.99) or 20% off 6 till the end of May. Bollinger Special Cuvée (£45) or £200 for 6 whilst stock last!

Tasting this Weekend

Many of you know (and indeed buy) our monthly mixed cases and we thought we’d show you a couple of the wines in this month’s box. We’ll start off with Vinhos de Altitude Beyra Branco 2013 (£10.99). The previous vintage was winner of the ‘Northern Portuguese White Under £15 Trophy’ and ‘Best in Show Trophy’ at the Decanter World Wine Awards, and we think this one is no less delicious.

In the red corner we’ll have Estate Manolesakis Exis red 2014 (£12.99) from Drama in northern Greece. A blend of Moschomavro and Limnio, it’s a lovely, juicy red that really captivated us when we tasted it.

So swing by for a gargle today or tomorrow – we’re here waiting!

Wayne & Alex

As it’s now easing into Friday afternoon, the sun is shining into the back garden and lunch is beckoning, I fear it is time to consider opening some wine for the weekend

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Congratulations to all of you who ignored Wayne’s sporting tips last weekend – you must have made a fortune – how about treating yourself to a bottle of wine. For us, money on Oxford in the boat race yielded little return, likewise Lewis Hamilton’s victory in China; Soll and Druid’s Nephew lost you your stake, and if you went with Lee Westwood or Bubba Watson in the Masters, well they finished tied 46 and tied 38 respectively.

Helpful suggestions from the West Country just helped to remind us that punditry is a skilled job. The recommendation was that we put good Park Vintners money on a horse named Al Co (not sure why that name struck a chord) at 25-1 last Saturday in the National. Now falling at the first hurdle is one thing, however, unseating the rider so that he goes over the first hurdle first is downright rude!

The silver lining here is that we can lose money on him again tomorrow as he is fit enough to be running (if he decides that’s what he fancies doing) in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr!

So we’re broke. Our side bet of Kevin Pietersen being the next England Test Captain still looks outrageous, but not that outrageous, whilst we try and work out whether they should risk sacrificing Joe Root’s form by burdening him with captaincy or give Stuart Broad the poisoned chalice for the summer with a view to appointing new blood post the Ashes thrashings.

There, that’s our blog for Racing Post done; time to get the wine email written.

What’s news in the world of wine?

The spraying of Mumm Champagne after the Grand Prix has filled more column inches this week than perhaps warranted; Bordeaux en-primeur continues to provide plenty of scope for fence sitting as the consensus seems to be that it’s not a poor vintage but not a great one. Its greatness will be decided by sensibly the Chateaux price the best vintage since 2010, which is damning it with faint praise considering how ordinary ‘11, ‘12 and ‘13 were.

Oh, and in the beer world, the founder of pioneering US craft brewer, Elysian, has quit 3 months after it was taken over by Anheuser-Busch which unsurprisingly removed some of its craft credentials, you thought he might have realised sooner! To recap, a quick look at the Anheuser-Busch website shows them to own: Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob ULTRA, Bass and Boddingtons, Beck’s, Bud Ice, Bud Light Lime Ritas, Busch, Chelada, Goose Island, Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider, Kirin, Landshark Lager, Malt Liquors, Michelob, Natural, O’Doul’s, Regional Beers, Rolling Rock, Select Family, Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe, Shock Top, Specialty Beers – artisan producers, man and boy…

So, it came to pass.

After centuries of selling Morton Estate Brut NV, it was re-branded late last year and became Leveret IQ, as I’m sure you all know. What you may not know is that we haven’t changed the price for Morton/Leveret, or indeed Mimi, since we first opened in 2010.

And so, it has come to pass.

Leveret IQ is now £14.99 per bottle and the two Mimi’s have become £12.99. In order to soften this blow a little, we have decided to offer all three of these wines at a better than normal price of 20% off 6 bottles until the end of May. Far better than the normal 6 for 5 deal, so we suggest you fill your boots asap (we can get 30 cases in the back of the Volvo as a guide!)

However, if your tastes are more Francophile, we are also doing a 6 bottles for £200 offer on Bollinger Special Cuvée, so if you’ve drunk all your Christmas stock, now would be the time to replenish!

This Weekend

As it’s now easing into Friday afternoon, the sun is shining into the back garden and lunch is beckoning, I fear it is time to consider opening some wine for the weekend. One of our suppliers kindly gave us a bottle of Sancerre La Clochette 2013 (£15.99) to open up, so we shall. Staying in France, we thought we would execute the classic Loire/Rhone pairing and open up Les Vignes de Prince Cotes du Rhone 2013 (£9.99) which in this vintage, unusually for them, is a blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Mourvedre due to the paucity of the Grenache crop.

Hopefully we’ll see you sometime over the weekend – we’ll be glued to the telly at 3.45 to watch Al Co go off at 14-1 but will be with you by 3.46, given current form.

Here’s Mumm in your eye!!

The Boat Race, The Grand National, US Masters and Paris Roubaix

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week we thought we should probably have a chat about the sport, there seems to be a lot on and some of it is interesting!
Started in 1829 and an annual feature since 1856, The Boat Race runs on Saturday. Currently Cambridge are in the lead with 81 wins to Oxford’s 78, with only one dead-heat (1877 and mired in controversy as it happens, as the race judge was over 70 and blind in one eye!). Looks to me like Oxford are favourites this year, but let’s see what happens.

In Shanghai we have the Chinese Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton favourite. He seems to be snivelling about having to read all 80 pages of his £21 million contract so I’m hoping his distraction means that Rosberg wins, just to light up the rest of the season a bit. Either way, the cooler weather should favour Mercedes.

Back to the UK Aintree hosts the most famous horse race on the calendar. The Grand National is on Saturday with AP McCoy favourite on Shutthefrontdoor, but personally I’m not convinced. Much as it’d be a lovely way to bow out, he’s the one with all the pressure. If he does win however, there’ll be a lot of bookmakers crying into their Rioja on Saturday night. Having had a quick squizz at the runners, I’m thinking an each way on either Soll or Druids Nephew might be in order.

Over the pond sees Augusta hosting the 79th US Masters. This is the competition where grown men swing sticks at small white balls for hours on end. The winner after four days gets a green anorak(and $1.6 million). Bookies favourite this year is Rory McIlroy, but again I think he’s got all the pressure, how about Lee Westwood or defending anorak Bubba Watson.

Meanwhile, in proper sport, Sunday sees Bradley Wiggins ride his last race for Sky in the Hell of the North that is the 113th Paris Roubaix. One of the oldest races in cycling, it has run since 1896 (skipping a couple of wars)and traditionally goes over a ridiculous amount of cobblestones. The winner of the race wins a cobblestone (and about €30000). I would love a first British winner but whether it’s Wiggins, Thomas, or Stannard is a tough call. Wiggo does have a history of doing the business when he’s had a singular focus, and this has been his focus all season.
Cheese and Wine
Come join us on Thursday 16th April. We are opening wine, partnering it with some delicious cheese and you’re all at a loss as to what to do after the Easter break. 8pm start £20 buys your seat at the table and there are still a few places left.
Think Pink!
The sun is shining and the new vintage of our favourite rose has arrived. Chateau de l’Aumérade Cuvée Marie Christine 2014 is, we think, even more tasty than last year. Its crisp, delicate red fruit characters are the perfect foil for something garlicky. £14.49 per bottle or £75 for six bottles!
Tasting This Weekend
The weekend is on the doorstep and we all have a whistle to whet. We thought we could get started with Bioca Godello (£12.99) a dangerously moreish white from Northwest Spain. Whilst in the red corner we thought we’d try something a bit more mainstream after Alex’s journey to Greece last week. We’ll crack open Campos de Luz Garnacha (£8.49) from Cariñena, a cracking example of old vine Grenache and just perfect should anyone be considering setting light to some sausages charcoal this weekend.
Lastly, a toast to Richie Benaud, just 16 short of a century!

60 different wines over a succession of 6 glorious Wednesday evenings

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s been a funny old week – less sleep, more sunlight and lots of wind. We’ve been stock counting for our year end (after a couple of hours you see bottles wherever you turn), we’ve seen the less practical of us (we’ll call him Wayne) put the A-board out, only to have it blow over and pop its hinges, which leaves the more practical (let’s call him Alex) to mend it.

He also got the short straw for the weekend, unaccustomed as I am to taking a few days off, I thought I’d take full advantage of the Easter break and go for a ride on my bike. As a result Alex will be holding the fort for the following opening hours…


    Wine & Cheese Tasting

Thursday 16th April at 8pm we will be sampling a selection of wines with some delicious cheeses from our chums at Norbiton. There are still a few spaces left, £20 per person, as you’d be able to read on our A-board if I hadn’t broken it!

    Wine School

On the other side of our A-board there is talk of tasting 60 different wines over a succession of 6 glorious Wednesday evenings that start on April 15th at 8pm. It costs £150 so go on, give Alex a call on 020 8944 5224 to book your place.

    Weekend Wine

There will definitely be some and Alex will choose them. I have a suspicion that anything I drink may have a Spanish flavour to it but not until I’ve locked the bike up!

Have a great long weekend everyone,

Wayne & Alex