Archive for November, 2015

Park Brewery, Bollinger and Black Fridays

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Black Friday.  36 ‘unmissable deals’ in my inbox before I had even got up this morning…

‘Why is it called Black Friday – black doesn’t sound very nice?’ my daughter asked yesterday ‘And the day after Thanksgiving too, which does sound much nicer….’

‘Because black is the colour of the bruises, because that’s the mood it puts you in, because that’s the karate belt you need – oh, I don’t know sweetheart, ask Wal-Mart’ was all I could respond, befuddled by the fact that a nine year old from Wimbledon could be so in tune with life in America – thanks iCarly.

In order to avoid violent queues, people competing with each other for parking spaces on The Crescent and unseemly grappling over the last bottle of Hepple Gin, we will not be involving ourselves in any deep discounting today, sorry.  It means there are no winning bargain hunters but equally there are no losers either.  Everyone gets to pay the same price here and no one gets to gloat.

Significantly, as it is Black Friday, that means that Thanksgiving is now behind us – and we can now fix our sights firmly on the next major event in the calendar.

No, I’m not talking about Wayne’s birthday next week – although judging by his comment just now, in his best Fast Show accent, ‘This week I ‘ave mostly been freezing in the shop’, he might be grateful to receive a sweater or two…

But no, not that.  The next major event is the ‘Lighting up of the Christmas Tree and Carol Singing’ which will take place outside Christ The King Church tomorrow, Saturday 28th November at 4.15pm. 

I am informed, to add to the excitement, that a local personality will perform the ceremony – no coincidence that Wayne has taken that day off I’m sure…

Anyway, once you’ve sung your socks off in the cold early evening, I suggest you pop up the road and come and see us – we’ll have wine open, which I’ll get to later, but also we’ll have The King’s Ginger (£23.99) and Foxdenton Sloe Gin (£22.99) open and ready to taste, sip and gargle – a perfect salve for those fatigued vocal chords!


We’ve had a few enquiries regarding our Christmas fizz offering this year, so here’s the not-so-big reveal…

Like last year, we will be leading with Bollinger Special Cuvee Brut NV £45.00 for a bottle but down to a mere £33.33 per bottle when you buy half a dozen.

For all our other fizz our usual 6 for 5 deal applies, or 16.66% discount off a half dozen if you will.

As a timely reminder of what we are stocking currently, here’s the list:


Champagne Moutard Grand Cuvee NV (half bottle) £15.99

Champagne Moutard Prestige Rose NV (half bottle) £16.99

Goutorbe-Bouillot Champagne Carte D’Or Brut NV £27.99

Champagne Moutard Grand Cuvee NV £28.99

Champagne Moutard Prestige Rose NV £31.99

Champagne Thienot Brut NV £32.99

This is a new listing – Alex visited them in September largely as a result of Wayne having been very impressed when he tasted it previously.  Suffice to say, Wayne was absolutely right and now it’s on the shelf!

Champagne Beaumet Brut Vintage 2006 £35.99

Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve NV £39.99

Champagne Moutard ‘6 Cepages’ 2007 £44.99

Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut NV £50.00

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV £60.00

Champagne Moutard Grande Cuvee NV (Magnum) £60.00

Champagne Moutard Prestige Rose NV (Magnum) £62.00

Billecart Salmon Rose NV £62.00

Krug Grand Cuvee NV (half bottle) £70.00

Bollinger Grand Annee 2004 £80.00

Bollinger James Bond 2009 (Limited Edition Gift Box) £125

Moutard Brut Grande Cuvee NV (Jeroboam) £130

Billecart Salmon Cuvee Nicolas-Francois 2002 £130

Louis Roederer Cristal 2006 £150

Sparkling wines that aren’t allowed to call themselves Champagne and probably don’t want to anyway

Lunetta Prosecco NV £10.49

Mas Macia Cava Brut NV £10.99

Mimi Pink Sparkling NV £12.99

Mimi Sparkling NV £12.99

Pauletts Trillians Sparkling Red NV £14.49

Leveret IQ Brut NV £14.99

Leveret IQ3 NV £20.99

Hoffman and Rathbone Classic Cuvee 2010 £36.00

Hoffman and Rathbone Rose Reserve 2011 £38.00

Hoffman and Rathbone Blanc de Blancs 2010 £40.00


After much froing and toing, our new beer listing has finally arrived.  We were first approached by The Park Brewery, based in Kingston, in April this year.  However, life took over and so did the summer, holidays, and other stuff.   Anyway, it’s here now.  They make a range of beers named after various parts of Richmond Park – perfect bidon top ups for those cyclists amongst you – and for the rest of us, nice beer to drink.

We have three of their beers in stock:

Killcat Pale (3.9%) £2.59 – a refreshing pale ale, with the hoppiness and punch of an IPA but without the high ABV.

Gallows Gold (5%) £2.79 – their version of an American Pale Ale – fruity and sweet with a fine aroma.

Dark Hill (6.2%) £3.19 – their version of a black IPA.  Not too malty on the palate which allows the hoppy flavours to come through.


What are we going to taste this weekend?

We know we’re going to taste Bordeaux next weekend, Burgundy the week after and then Italian wines the weekend before Christmas (yes chaps, it really is that soon) but have not thought about the here and now.  But as the theme seems to be Thanksgiving I suppose it would be pleasurable to taste a couple of wines from across the pond.

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2013 £13.99 – this is a delicious Chardonnay from San Francisco Bay.  Fermented half in barrel and half in stainless steel we have green apples with hints of tropical fruit on the nose and in addition some subtle vanilla notes on the palate.  Fabulous balance and a really nice texture – a real all-rounder.

Marimar Estate Don Miguel Vineyard Cristina Pinot Noir 2009 £24.99 – coming from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma this is the absolute mutts.  It was offered to us at a very good price last week so we bought as much of it as our little hands could carry.  A blend of the best Pinot Noir on the estate makes an extremely elegant, soft and complex wine.  We tasted it last night on our Wine & Cheese tasting and it was definitely the wine of the night.  And if you were thinking of roasting a duck…

Marimar Estate Don Miguel Vineyard Cristina Pinot Noir 2009

£24.99/bottle or 6 for £120.

Breaking News

Important news on a global scale.

It has been revealed that Gwyneth Paltrow penned a line on Coldplay’s new song Everglow : “How come things move on/How come cars don’t slow”.

“She came up with the idea so I said, ‘Is there any chance you’d sing that line cos it’s your idea’ Like any human, she was like, ‘I can’t do that! I’m not a professional!'” Martin explained.

Loving the lyric, gloriously inspirational and thought provoking and profoundly poignant; also loving the fact that Chris Martin, with no humour intended, uses the phrase ‘like any human’ in reference to his ex.

Like I said, important news on a global scale.

Time Out #LoveLondon Awards Winner Dinner

Friday, November 20th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

“Smart Casual” it said on the invitation. So there we were sitting on the tube, smart jackets on, cycling jackets left at home, as we eagerly anticipated a glass of something suitable on a Monday evening. Now, as many of you know, Wayne regards Monday night as ‘professionals’ night in terms of a glass of wine or two; sadly, we felt anything other than professionals when we realised our tube had been rerouted, just as the doors shut.

A quick study of the map found us choosing the Piccadilly line as a suitable alternative, only to hear the dreaded words “severe delays on the Piccadilly line” as we went to alight. Rerouted again, we discovered Victoria to be a busy place at 7pm on a Monday evening (we don’t get out much!). Finally, we arrived in Bloomsbury Square, our tunnel tour finished and only the guest list to negotiate.

We entered the 1920’s ballroom, a glass of bubbly thrust into our hands, and discover a Gypsy Jazz band playing on stage belting out a distinctly Charleston styled number. Looking around us we also discovered “Smart casual” means many things to many people. What do the lady in the tutu and her friend in the velvet jacket wear if they need to dress up we wondered, or that chap with the tweed suit we thought, suddenly feeling a little underdressed.

We needn’t have worried though, we definitely had an invite and weren’t sporting double denim. It turned out we weren’t the best shop in London (which didn’t surprise us) but that the voters seem to think we were the best shop in Wimbledon (which did surprise us).

So flushed with success (or was that the wine?-Ed) we left the party in full flow, surprised to have won anything, puzzled as to how Time Out found us, and with a certificate that is now proudly sharing the window with Hepple Gin.

Talking of Glamour, Glitz & Parties

Two of our neighbours on Arthur Road – vintage fashion shop Fraubraun and Thom Kirby Hair – are organising a festive event on Wednesday 2 December.

A selection of timeless and elegant Fraubraun dresses from the 1930s – 1980s will be on display in the salon and the team at Thom Kirby are offering hair-styling advice to complete your look. There will also be a raffle which gives you the chance to win one of three bottles of our fabulous Mimi Sparkling Rose. So do stop by for a glass of Prosecco and the chance to discover the ultimate Christmas outfit! We’ve taken the liberty of attaching their invite.

Tasting This Weekend

Given that Movember is in full flow, Thanksgiving is on the horizon, and more importantly, we fancy a drop, we shall open Cabaret Frank (£9.79). It is a delicious Cabernet Franc (see what they did there?) from California, with nice ripe fruit and a satisfying finish. The importers are making a donation to Movember for every bottle they sold during the month too.  In the white corner, we’ll splash a drop of Seifried Riesling (£13.99) into your glass, a delicious mouthful from Nelson in New Zealand.

Lastly, we were much amused to read about a chap called Mike Bloomfield (no relation, Wayne swears, not even distant). He has named his baby son, without consulting his wife, with the un-arguable logic “If Beckham can call his son Brooklyn!”

What his wife commented on discovering their son had been named Bermondsey Millwall Den is unclear at this stage.

Lovely weekend folks, get the furry ear-warmers out!

Finally, proof that polar bears don’t like Twiglets…

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

So it seems Stuart Lancaster has bombed out, athletics is on a fast track to rehab and the cricket is, well, only cricket.

We’re hoping that Sebastian Coe is feeling discomfort for blaming the media when the story first broke some months ago. We’re definitely in Daley Thomson’s camp with the “Stand up and show some leadership” quote, but sadly expect it’ll all just fall on the desk of yet more lawyers!

One of the International Athletics Federations key objectives is “To spread the universal message of the purest of humankind’s sports, regardless of race, religion, colour or country of origin.” So let’s deal with the cheats, sort out independent testing, and get everyone on a passport system! RANT OVER…

In wine news this week, the BBC team filming ‘The Hunt’ up in the Arctic Circle has had problems with their wine stash. A polar bear broke into the cabin and rifled through their food supplies, only to be scared away by the crew banging on the walls. Down, but not out however, the bear returned whilst the crew were away filming and drank deeply of their box of red wine.

Upon their return they found the polar bear asleep with red wine around its mouth, and had to set off flares to scare it away.  All the wine had been drunk and all the food eaten except, tellingly, the Marmite.  It’s the unexpected things we learn that are often the most exciting!!

Early Close Monday

We will have to close at 6pm on Monday as we have been invited to the Time Out Awards Dinner, so fingers crossed!

Where’s Alex?

This year’s world tour kicks off this Saturday…full dates below

Saturday 14th November –  St Matthew’s Church Winter FairDurham Road SW20 0DE 11.30am – 2pm.

Wednesday 18th November – The Wimbledon Rugby Club Christmas Bazaar. – Barham Road SW20 0ET 6.30pm – 10pm.

Sunday 6th December – Wimbledon Park Primary School Christmas FairHavana Road, pouring the mulled wine – one for you, one for him, one for you, one for him… and repeat!

Wine School

Wednesday 27th January at 8pm, for six weeks, skipping the 10th February as it’s half term and all good schools need a half term.

A number of you asked about gift vouchers for this as a present, so pop in and see us or give us a call on 020 8944 5224. Full details attached.

Tasting This Weekend

Always keen to make new discoveries, we made two this week.  Firstly we discovered that Italy makes wine, and quite well to boot.  Ok, we knew that but what we hadn’t realised is that we haven’t opened some of them for a while.  For example, Sarotto Tenuta Manenti Gavi di Gavi 2014 (£12.99) hasn’t been opened for weekend tasting since 6th December 2013 which means many of you have been missing out on the ripe, rich white peach flavours, stony minerality and long fresh finish emanating from the 50 year-old Cortese vines, grown at altitude in the Maddalena vineyard by Roberto Sarotto.  This will be resolved today.

More worryingly, Monte del Frá Tenuta Lena di Mezzo Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2012 has never been opened.  Never. This is properly rubbish on our part, so we’ll get one open immediately. 

For those who don’t know about the wine, the skins of the grapes that have been pressed to make Amarone (and Recioto sometimes) are added to this Valpol towards the end of winter, which allows the fermentation to continue for longer (the yeast now has more food) resulting in a stronger, more complex wine.  To add to this complexity the wine is then aged in 30-hectolitre French oak casks for at least 18 months before bottling.  The result is a mouthful of cherries, plums and liquorice, pepper and cinnamon and even hints of the forest floor.  The palate is dry, fruity and very well-balanced.  You won’t like it…

I suspect Alex will return with some open bottles on Saturday afternoon too, so if you time your visit well, it could be a very nice start to the evening!