Archive for December, 2015

Auld Lang Syne – the annual report

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It’s the Thirty First day of December, the last day of 2015,the last day of the festive season. There’s plenty of news but we didn’t want to talk about Lemmy, Bill Cosby or flooding disasters.  We didn’t even want talk about the cricket, or Leicester City, or FIFA.  We wanted to try and keep sport and news out of our newsletter for once and as you can see, it’s worked a treat.

For many it is a time of reflection and review and this will include a number of high street wine merchants who will publish a splendid selection of spurious figures relating to double digit growth in wines beginning with the letter M, or some other such irrelevance.

This growth, we will read with tingles of excitement, comes from renewed emphasis on strengthening these wines position at the centre of the alphabet, the go-to letter, the letter of the MoMent. Hidden behind tales of this growth will be some trifling small print relating to a 17% decline in earnings and a subsequent share price drop blah, blah, blah – but that is not what the papers want to hear, not now, not at the end of the year, not on the last day of 2015, not with everybody in such a good Mood – with a capital M.

With review in mind I thought I might look at some of our stats for the year, with appropriate analysis.

Calendar performance

The Quietest day of the year was Monday 9th February, which should be noted, was Wayne’s day off.  Further poor performers that followed up were a couple of days in January and lots in August.  Alex was on holiday in August.

Busiest day – Saturday 19th December – we were both here…

Product performance

Top selling products was a disappointment in some respects. Sales of English sparkling wine, Romanian Pinot Noir and Rivaner from Luxembourg, whilst strong, were not enough to promote them to the top ten; however we did see 5 new entries this year, which is great news:

Lunetta Prosecco and Chateau de L’Aumerade Provence Rose took the top two spots, unsurprising considering their enduring popularity and the fact we have had some very pleasant weather this year.

Camden Town Brewery Hells Lager, Paulaner Munchner Hell Munich Lager and Sambrooks Wandle Ale took 3rd, 4th and 8th places – beer always ranks well as people usually buy numerous bottles and interestingly the appeal of lager still outweighs the rise of Pale Ale.

Leveret IQ Brut, Cuvee JP Jean Paul Rose, Gavi di Gavi Sarotto and Macon Charnay Reserve Personelle were all new entries and further bolster the supposition that the weather had a very positive impact.

The last member of our top ten is a perennial favourite, Champagne Moutard Grand Cuvee, our house Champagne and the one we’ll be opening today to help it push up the rankings even more.

Interestingly, we sold almost double the amount of red wine than white wine from a value point of view, yet not a single red wine appears in the top ten!

Staff performance

For the fifth year running Wayne was star performer, he now gets to keep the medal and his till number, #1, will be retired with him but not too soon we hope!

Alex claimed second position, again for the fifth year running. Could do better.

Mention must be made of Rufus, the downstairs-dwelling dog, who turned up for work everyday at 11am for 38 weeks of the year and still failed to sell a single product or catch a mouse.

Finally, this computer deserves a mention for sheer graft: for, when not being used for work it is either playing Spotify, Sky Sports or Channel 4 racing – making it undoubtedly our most valuable member of staff!


Thanks to much valued support over the years, we’ve now just completed our sixth Christmas on Arthur Road. We can’t thank everyone individually but you know who you are and we know who you are, and we also know what wines you like, what wines you don’t like and whether you’d like us to deliver – it’s a perfect relationship which we hope will see us well into next year and beyond!


We will have wine open today as is our custom – Moutard Grande Cuvee (£28.99) will do it’s best to compete with last week’s Bollinger, Pieropan Soave Calvarino (£20.99) will represent the delicious white wine side, whilst the red representative has to be the out-of-this-world, Joan Giné Priorat 2009 (£22.19).

And that’s it from us for 2015 – Ben Kingsley, Val Kilmer, Richie McCaw, Anthony Hopkins, Alex Ferguson and anyone else who is celebrating a birthday today – here’s looking at you, kid!

Twas the night before Christmas

Friday, December 18th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.


The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.


When out of the dawn there arose such a thought,

I’d left it to late and no wine had I bought.

Luckily for me twas just a bad dream,

And the Saturday before, to Park Vintners I’d been.


So with our apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, we’ll be pulling corks on…


Hoffman & Rathbone Rosé Reserve 2011 – £38.00

 Award winning English bubbles on a Saturday before Christmas – what’s not to like?

Stephane Aladame Montagny 1er Cru Selection Vieilles Vignes 2012 – £25.99

 Stéphane Aladame is one of the rising stars of the younger generation of French vignerons, already attracting a considerable amount of attention in France…

This wine is from his oldest vines, 50% fermented in oak barrels and 50% in stainless steel vats. Crisp, medium-bodied, with a vibrant, intense core of citrus and stone fruit alongside a firm mineral zip that continues through the long finish. Delicious for drinking now and over the next couple of years.

Fattoria Le Corti Principe Corsini Cortevecchia Chianti Classico 1996 Toscana – £30.99

 A fourteenth century estate, still in the hands of the original family, that produces critically acclaimed wine year in year out. Sometimes they keep some back and release it as a ‘museum’ release. This is one of those, lovely rounded and complex with that mixture of fruit and secondary characters, drinking beautifully!

Diane de Belgrave 2010 Haut-Médoc – £22.49

This is the very classy second wine of Chateau Belgrave, a fifth growth in Haut-Médoc. It’s 52% Merlot and 41% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance made up of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Rich with raspberry and blackberry notes, a touch of liquorice and some fine polished tannins. Good and long in the finish with a smattering of vanilla.


SUNDAY OPENING – This Sunday we’ll be open from 11am to 3pm.


That’s all from us folks, you know where to find us!!!

Macon, Meursault and Monthelie

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

No use crying over spilt milk. Actions speak louder than words.  Thank your lucky stars.  You can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs.  Blood is thicker than water.  Do as you would be done by.  Live and let live.  An eye for an eye.

All idioms that have crossed our mind this week, rightly or wrongly, although Blood is thicker than water could be regarded more as a cleaning tip, with the follow up, but comes off easily with a spot of bleach.

To elaborate, on Sunday morning, just a few days into our 6th year here, someone took particular offence to our shop window and manifested his ambivalence towards our display by firmly punching his way through the window.  Indeed, by firmly I mean really, really hard.

Glass was everywhere, blood everywhere – quite how the police missed the opportunity to use the slang ‘there’s claret all over the shop’ we will never know – and a number of hours were spent calling glaziers, sweeping up, thanking our lucky stars nothing was stolen and wondering how much it would all cost to repair.

We’re still not sure about the costs, about when it will be fixed or who it was that did it but we do know that it’s done, it can’t be changed, moaning won’t make anything better and whoever did do it has problems and issues far greater than any we might have.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

The idioms at the top can also be applied to the delightful trio of Oscar Pistorious, Donald Trump and Tyson Fury – charmers one and all – who could also take head from think before you speak, look before you leap, don’t believe your hype…

Anyway, enough of that, let’s move on to matters more festive. Less than two weeks to go.  Actually, less than four days to go for many of us, work and social being what they are at this time of year.

So let’s talk turkey. I know a significant number of you will not be partaking of the oversized chicken this year, and all power to you antiestablishmentarianists, the clarets we got you to taste last week will be glorious with your beef.  For the larger majority of you tucking into Mr Matthews finest Norfolk Bronze, the wines this weekend are more for you.

Having popped into Bordeaux last week, it seems sensible to shift over to Burgundy for our fun this weekend.

Both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay have a strong affinity with the classic British Christmas feast and indeed, it’s not just the French that do it well – New Zealand, South Africa, Australia and Chile even, offer some fabulous matches – but at this time of year it seems a good idea to go back to where all the fuss started and thus we will pull the corks on the following:


Mallory & Benjamin Talmard Mâcon-Uchizy 2014 – £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, this was our best selling white wine last Christmas, so we figure if it ain’t broke…


Domaine Génot-Boulanger Meursault Les Meix Chavaux 2012 – £40.99

This is tip-top Meursault from an estate that has been going gangbusters since 2008. Les Meix Chavaux is a good vineyard really starting to make a name for itself.  A cracking wine with a good, flinty minerality whilst not sacrificing any of that lush broadness you get with top notch Meursault.


Maison Ambroise Bourgogne Rouge “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes” 2007 – £20.99

Bertrand’s Bourgogne Rouge offer us sensational value, all organic grapes, handpicked from 50 year old vines with a south/south east exposure in Premeaux Prissy and Nuits-Saint-Georges.  Very classy and elegant, we consider this is absolutely bang on the button, having evolved very slowly under screw capsule and displaying a great balance between silky, pure red fruits and sous-bois notes.  Don’t ask me about sous-bois, Wayne’s the linguist.  A spot of declassified NSG with Christmas lunch?  Don’t mind if we do…

Domaine Coche-Bizouard Monthelie 1er Cru Les Duresses 2009 – £28.99

This family run domain, based in Meursault, was created by Julien Coche in 1940 as just one hectare of vines. His son Alain took over from him and built a strong reputation during the 1980’s and 1990’s.  What goes around comes around, and Alain’s own son Fabien has been involved since 1995 and oversees the day to day running of the domains 12 hectares.

This is absolutely spot on, with plenty of plum and berry fruit, silky tannins keeping it tidy and a lovely weight and length of finish. Our tasting note when we tried it said: ‘… and really extraordinatry at this price!’  We’ll let you be the judge of that.

PORT (clearly not from Burgundy)

Krohn Colheita 1995 – £32.99

This is just so darned tasty. Rich plum fruit combined nicely with dried fruits, spiced molasses and complex nutty flavours from its 18+ years in oak pipes.  A very good length finish and an obvious choice with your stilton.

Not much more to add really – Wine School is gently filling up, so if you were thinking of giving it to a loved one as a gift that keeps on giving, be careful not to miss the boat. 6 weeks, 60+ wines, Wayne’s witty insight – all for £150!

We’re off to a 21st Birthday party in Tooting tomorrow evening (many happy returns of the day young lady) so we will be very excitable all day – we don’t get out much you see – and certainly not in such glamorous company!

So it would seem that a week that started off looking pretty bleak is going to finish off with a bang – he who laughs last, laughs longest!!

Birthdays, Spirits and Tasting

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We have been investigating our options this week. Netmums suggested a football party, or maybe bowling, a customer’s son suggested a Star Wars party in the garden, and there was some talk about Winnie the Pooh till we discovered the real name of the book (When We Were Young-Ed).

What am I wittering on about? Park Vintners is now officially five years old and we were contemplating how best to celebrate the fact. We have decided to eschew both football and bowling, and having investigated our insurance for light sabre related incidents, had to park Star Wars ideas too. That left us with going with what we know best and pulling a cork or two on something delicious. Full details later on…


One or two of you have noticed Hepple Gin in our window, but we’re not just about Gin you know! Alex has gone Malt mad and listed an entire bevvy of beauties from North of the Border, as well as an old favourite Bourbon. Whisky as per our shelf, as follows:


Glenalmond Highland Blended Malt – £29.99 (Vatted)

Connoisseurs Choice Royal Brackla 1998 – £46.99


Highland Park 2006 Cask Strength 57.9% – £50


Finlaggan Old Reserve Islay – £30.99


Benromach 10 year old – £36.99

Speymalt Macallan 2006 – £37.99

Linkwood 15 year old – £46.99

Glenrothes 1997 (Coopers Choice Bottling) – £69.69

MacPhail’s 21 year old – £69.99


Heaven Hill Old Style Bourbon – £22.59

Blantons Original Single Barrel Bourbon – £44.99

Meanwhile Wayne has been busy exercising his sweet tooth in other areas…

Kummel Mentzendorff – £20.99

Limoncello – £21.99

Colazingari Sambuca Fina – £22.99

Foxdenton Sloe Gin – £22.99

The King’s Ginger – £23.99

Express Espresso Liqueur – £25.99

Saliza Amaretto Veneziano – £25.99

Doorly’s XO Barbados Rum – £32.49

Wine School

Do you have a chum that’s always really difficult to buy for? Why not try our wine school? A six week course that starts on 27th January at 8pm. Cost is £150 per person and full details are attached. The gift that keeps on giving!

Birthday Drinks Tasting this Weekend

 No jelly or ice-cream I’m afraid but how about we go with:

Champagne Thiénot (£32.99) one of the new kids on the block champagne wise, having been founded in 1985 but being owned by a former grape broker, they definitely get the pick of the bunch (sorry). Deliciously rounded and with a nice bready note.

Domaine Langlois-Chateau Saumur Blanc VV 2009 (£19.99) we discovered the previous vintage too late for Christmas last year, but this year we’re on it. Old vine Chenin Blanc with some nice gentle oaking giving us a lovely rounded white that can give a lot of white burgundy a run for its money. Turkey wine, perhaps?

Chateau Beauregard Ducourt 2010 (£11.99) we tasted this with our chum posh Jeremy back in September and it was just what we were looking for. Rich plummy fruit a good finish with some nice, fine tannins keeping it tidy.

Chateau Cabans 2010, Medoc (£17.49) this is a really good Cru Bourgeois Medoc from a stonking vintage. Opening up beautifully now, Stephen Spurrier raved about it in Decanter: “Solid, concentrated red, quite robust, concentration of berry fruit on the nose, quite open and oak already blended in while adding to structure, good broad flavoured wine, more earthy than elegant. 17/20”

Chateau Barrail Lamarzelle-Figeac 2009, St Emilion Grand Cru (£29.99) this’ll be a first taste for Wayne, as Alex came back from a trip saying “We had this great wine with lunch, it was absolutely bang on and we really must buy it!” and here it is!

We’ve also attached our Christmas opening hours.

That’s about it from us five year olds for this week. Do come in and have a taste, there is something for everyone we think.

Happy birthday to us, happy birthday to us…