Archive for August, 2015

Wine O’clock and Pooh Sticks

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

The big news this week is that a super smart engineer has come up with a formula to help you decide on the best stick to choose to ensure success at Pooh sticks.

PP                   = A x I            x Cd

(perfect stick)= (cross sectional area) x (density) x (drag coefficient of the stick)

Seeing it written down it makes perfect sense (except for using I to represent density!), so choose a weighty, stubby stick with lots of bark. I suspect Morden Hall will have a rush on such sticks this weekend, and that the bridge will be especially crowded!

It’s not entirely clear if it was this news that has prompted the merger talks between Betfair and Paddy Power.

In the athletics, it seems cheats never prosper whether they speak to the press or not!

In proper sport, today sees the first proper climber’s day in the Vuelta with an 18km climb to the mountain top finish at La Alpujarra. In this heat I’m not sure I fancy it myself but am certain this is where the race will light up!

He’s back folks, but did you see the weather he brought back with him?

In other news both ‘Awesomesauce’ and ‘Wine O’Clock’ were added to the latest edition of The Oxford Dictionary, along with ‘Grexit’ ‘Brexit’ and, of course, ‘Hangry’.

Wine School

We’d love to tell you more about a subject we love…Wednesday 16th September at 8pm. £150 each, taste 60 wines. What else would you do on a Wednesday?


Wayne managed to sneak in that other cracking white while Alex’s back was turned. Gerard Tremblay’s Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir 2012 (£35.99). Vaudesir is one of the seven Grand Cru’s and sits atop the hill overlooking Chablis Town. Wines from here are usually softer and more elegant in style than the other Grand Cru’s without losing any of the stunning minerality.

Tasting this weekend

Awesomesauce in your glass this weekend will be represented by Beyra Branco 2013(£10.99). A crisp citrusy, mineral laden white from 700m altitude at the top of the Douro near the Spanish border.

Sporting the red velvet jacket in the corner we’ll have Tufarello 2012 (£12.99). Hailing from Puglia in Italy’s sunny heel, this delicious Nero di Troia has a soft palate of ripe dark fruits with touches of herbs and sandalwood.

Drop by and say hi, there’s wine open to try.

La Vuelta, Spa Francorchamps and Maisons des Bulliats Regnie

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I must start the email with an apology, having been taken to task for mentioning the birthday for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. How could I possibly neglect to mention one of the greatest happenings of all time? Ladies and gentleman, I prostrate myself before you, apologise profusely, and would like to wish belated birthday felicitations to Woodstock; 46 years old on 15th August.

Meanwhile back in the present day (with apologies to the many for who Woodstock is still the present day!) the Barmy Army’s UK tour draws to a close with some good solid partying in South London as the final game of The Ashes takes place at The Oval.

Saturday is when the real fun starts though. After one of the most thrilling Tour de France races in years all the main protagonists line up on the start line of the Vuelta a España. The first stage is a short (7.4k) but rather technical Team Time Trial from Puerto Banús to Marbella, usually a strip more equated with Ferrari’s and holidaymakers. The race looks like it could be a thriller with eight new mountain top finishes (Ochos Picos!) and a time trial in week three.

Grand Prix action is in Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium this weekend. Certainly the most beautiful of circuits on the F1 calendar, yet also one of the most challenging, hilly and twisty with a long fast straight. It’s not unknown for the circuit to have rain on part, but not all, of the course. In purely unrelated information, Belgium produces 220,000 tons of chocolate a year!

Elsewhere in wine stuff, waiting patiently at the door for me on Monday morning was our first shipment of Maison des Bulliats Regnie 2014 (£10.99). Always nice to get stock of a new wine in, especially when the winemaker thinks it’s the best the estate has produced. Made from vines almost as old as Wayne, this is top quality Gamay, with crisp raspberry and blackberry fruit and a soft fresh finish. Coincidentally we tasted a bottle of 2009 recently which was delicious too, in a much more mature way!

Wine school places are filling up too, did you check the diary yet? 16th September start.

We also now sell ice, a bit of infrastructure investment on our part and we’re all over those bags of cubes like a rash! Ice 2kg bag – £1.50

Tasting this weekend

The white corner will be represented by Hungary this week, a deliciously zippy fresh white with some spicy peach fruit in the shape of Tournai Zenit 2013 (£10.99), whilst the red corner will be amply represented by the Maison des Bulliats Regnie 2014 (£10.99) as above!

Nice weekend people!

Rocky Horror, Pinot Noir and Riesling

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Welcome to your Friday update.

This week finds us still rather puzzled that the football season has started so soon, the Ashes may be won, but by no stretch is the cricket season over! It’s only August 14th surely any football games should involve only bare feet and beaches.

Talking of beaches, we were all glad to hear it wasn’t Alex who left his children at the service station earlier in the week!

Still talking of beaches, the two bobbies sent to Magaluf have been criticised for scheduling the patrols between 7am and 10pm when most revellers are sleeping or ‘chillin’. Don’t want to miss out on all the fun eh?

We were more than a little down heartened this week when we saw the IAAF had suspended 28 athletes that competed in the 2005 & 2007 World Championships after “adverse findings” on retested samples.  It does make the Sunday Times story involving 5000 athletes rather more credible despite the IAAF’s assertion that it was “sensationalist and confusing”.

I’m sure they are falling over themselves to explain it though, especially with the news that the £1.3 million the Athletics governing body spends on testing is less than a quarter of the £6 million that is spent in cyclists testing.

What about football or tennis we wondered?

Science Fiction/Double Feature

We suspect there are a lot of themed parties happening up and down the land this weekend. We’d like to wish a very happy  40th birthday to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Difficult to believe that Brad, Janet and Frank’n’furter are that age already.

Just a jump to the left…

Is it only me, or does everyone find the Labour leadership election worthy of its own TV show?

…and a step to the right

The stars and stripes will be flown over the Malecón in Havana for the first time in a generation today, as Cuba and the US celebrate the re-opening of the US embassy.

With your hands on your hips…

It’s quiet out their people, virtually nothing in wine news but, with just a few weeks to go till harvest, it is looking like a good vintage across France at the moment. Crucial few weeks though…

Elsewhere, spam is down to a minimum in the inbox, and the nice folk that ring us every day to lower our business rates and cheapen our electricity seem to be on holiday too!

Even Tooting Bec Lido only had 6 swimmers on Tuesday morning, I felt like a millionaire with all that pool space to myself.


It seems like only yesterday I was choosing what we’d tantalise the weekend tasters with. This week the red corner will be all silky with Southern Dawn Pinot Noir 2013 (£13.99) a tasty little number from Marlborough.

The white will be the zesty and fresh Max Ferd. Richter Riesling 2013 (£14.99) a classic, crisp and delicate summery wine from the Mosel.

That’s it from us this week, if you’re in a bar with lots of people in fancy dress look out for the toast!


Bruno Giacosa’s Roero Arneis, Le Serre Nuove dell’ Ornellaia, Wine for Sri Lankan food

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

If you don’t mind, a word in your shell-like….

What an earth has been going on? I leave you all in charge of the shop for one week and all hell breaks loose. I thought it was safe to pop down to Devon to learn how to put up umbrellas in horizontal gales whilst unpacking wetsuits filled with cold children onto carparks filled with thistles but no, clearly I was mistaken. Whilst I was gaining further parenting skills and willing the downing of the sun to be earlier each day, you were all up here, egging him on:

  • Alex is away for a few days, so I was thinking about buying some posh kit to put on the shelf to see if he notices, could be a nice little earner
  • That sounds like a great idea Wayne, why don’t you see how many you can get in whilst he’s not here, that‘ll teach him to go on holiday so often!
  • I was thinking it should be Italian and Spanish because he’s so boring – if I were to order this Aussie stuff he’s bound to have a wobbler
  • Do it, just do it – nothing he can say from Plymouth and there’s no phone reception or email west of Exeter
  • I’m going to place the order now…


So I arrive back in the greenhouse on Monday morning and who is here to greet me? Only Feldmarschall von Fenner zu Fennberg , the 2012 Müller Thurgau made in the Sud Tirol – Alto Adige by Tiefenbrunner (£26.99) and probably the best expression of this grape variety you’ll find anywhere. Beside him, looking slightly nervous next to such military might, was Bruno Giacosa presenting his Roero Arneis 2014 (£21.99) about whom I do remember writing a tasting note that started with the word ‘WOW!’.

Next in line, standing to attention as they all were, as if on parade, was another new boy, Le Serre Nuove dell’ Ornellaia 2012 (£44.00) a generous and smooth super-tuscan from Bolgheri. I know Ornellaia, his father, well, of course, so was pleased to see him following in the family footsteps.

And finally, standing close together, were two proud chaps from Spain who I hadn’t seen in the shop for ages. Both from La Rioja Alta, it is a pleasure to welcome back Viña Arana Reserva 2006 (£22.99) and his elder sibling Gran Reserva 904 2005 (£35.00) both good, solid, trustworthy wines.

And I hear there is talk of a Chablis Grand Cru in the offing too, I should go away more often, perhaps the New World will get some attention!

Here Terry, have a word…

It also seems that he’s been mucking about with the TV whilst I’ve not been looking; certainly something very strange seems to be going on with the cricket. If only those kind and charming gents dressed in yellow, drinking wine from the bottle, that I sat next to on that Sunday at Lord’s could be found, I’d love to remind them of a couple of suggestions they made to the England team – seems to have worked!

Oh, and Arsenal beat Chelsea in the Community Cup – surely that would never happen?

‘er indoors

We had a rare chance to pop out to dinner this week with our lovely, lovely lady wives. The intention was to visit Holy Smoke on Leopold Road, a new locale that has been well reviewed, but were sadly disappointed to discover they were fully booked, on a Tuesday night. Fabulous news for them, less so for us. Plan B arrived in the shape of Sri Lankan BYO Apollo Banana Leaf on Tooting High Street. This was delicious as ever and was helped us come to a number of crucial conclusions:

  • German Riesling is delicious and, when its only 8%, extremely easy to drink
  • Mas de Daumas Gassac Blanc and Frog’s Leap Zinfandel are superb matches to the spiciness of Sri Lankan cuisine
  • Wayne has a capacity for mutton with a two chilli rating previously unshown but definitely worth utilising in some sort of eating competition
  • My wife, in spite of months in India, still insists on drinking water when something is too spicy for her…

The world is my lobster

And it could be yours too… Wine School will give you all the skills required to do this and at £150 for 6 weeks and 60-odd wines, is a far better use of time and money than a mis-spent night down the Winchester Club. Just about half-full at the moment so don’t be backward about coming forward.

I’ve got a good idea, just you keep me near, I could be so good for you

Which is what all the wine sings to us each morning when we open up. However, we can’t keep all the wines near and we shouldn’t keep them all to ourselves, as that would no doubt not be so good for us, so as ever we’ll open a couple up this weekend, every one a go-er.

As it’s a white with the Wow factor, I think it would be appropriate to let you all enjoy the Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis(£21.99) that I mentioned earlier, whilst the red will be Quinta da Falorca 2010 (£13.99) a delicious red from the Dâo in Portugal, one that we have enjoyed immensely in the past and which has just moved onto the 2010 vintage.

That’s about it from us – for those who like to guess who writes the email each week this should be an easy one (or is it?)

Stick it on the slate, Dave!