Archive for October, 2016

Ostrich biltong has arrived – now, what shall we drink with it?

Friday, October 28th, 2016

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week a couple of internet pranksters spent the night fooling around, sliding down bannisters and having a picnic in M&M’s World, pointing out to everyone the lack of an alarm system. No chocolate was harmed in the encounter.

Some West Ham fans demonstrated what fine upstanding people they are by ripping up seats and throwing coins at an 8 year old girl, in celebration of their victory over Chelsea. When did we travel back to the 70’s?

A poor, hapless waiter at the British Museum, last December knocked the thumb off of a priceless 2000 year old statue of Venus. The digit has since been restored but the news has only just come to light, with the British Museum assuring us that “all concerned individuals have been retrained”. We’re not entirely sure how you retrain a marble statue but there you are.

We also had the finale of Bake Off this week, there was the distinct smell of cake in the air as we headed home after the shop closed and apparently 15 million people were watching the final episode. I suspect the big winners are the sugar manufacturers…all that icing!

Poor old Jose Mourinho says he is leading a sad and lonely life in a hotel suite in Manchester and can’t even go out for a walk without the paparazzi following him. We couldn’t help wondering if a Mickey Mouse mask would help!

Someone has taken a sledgehammer to Donald Trump’s Star on Hollywood Boulevard. Apparently, previously somebody had built a small wall around it – sometimes you just can’t make it up, eh?

In wine related news, 2016 is globally one of the worst harvests in 20 years, with poor weather affecting mostly Europe but also South America. The shortfall is 15 million hectolitres or 1,950,000,000 bottles on 2015! That said, the guys in Bordeaux seem pretty pleased with the quality at harvest, particularly on the Left bank with the Cabernet. We’ll see as it unfolds, for the moment they’re still just being squished.

Wine School

Many of you have been asking when we’d start the new term of Wine School in the New Year.

New Term starts on Wednesday 25th January and continues for 6 weeks over a seven week period as we’ll take a break for half term (Wednesday 15th Feb).

Price remains at a pre-Brexit level of £150.

Full details are attached and we think it’ll make a fantastic Chrimble pressy.

New Stuff

Last week we mentioned a few Magnums, and the return of our Sloe Gin but completely forgot to mention our new Biltong. We’ve managed to get a small amount of something a little bit special from our usual supplier m-eat: Ostrich Biltong – 100g – £6.50.

Are We Your Favourite Shop In Wimbledon?

Voting closes this weekend so it’s the last chance saloon to vote for us, on this link…

Now we appreciate this is a difficult decision to make so we’ve come up with a handy helper:

Is it owned by Alex & Wayne?

Does it sell Wine?

Is it called Park Vintners?

Should I vote for them then?

The answer to all the above questions is yes – ignore all other options on the ballot sheet!

Tasting this weekend

We’ll be rounding up our Rioja feature this weekend, it’s been fun and we’ve tasted some fantastic wines together. This weekend we’ll be featuring Lopez de Haro Crianza 2013 (£10.99) a cracking every day drop and Viña Arana Reserva 2008 (£23.59) which is our favourite from the talented crew at La Rioja Alta.

That’s about it from us for this week, don’t forget to vote!


Magnums, Claret and Donald

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Some questions and thoughts for you to ponder that have arisen around the Park Vintners water-cooler/spirits tray this week…


  • If the US Presidential election has been ‘rigged’ in the way ‘The Donald’ seems certain of, then what is he going to do if he wins in November – call for a re-election, surely?


  • Is it possible to bet the double on Leicester winning the Champions League whilst being relegated from the Premiership?


  • Does Chris Froome believe in Bradley Wiggins?


  • If the pound reaches parity with the currency used over the channel, does that mean we have effectively joined the Euro? Certainly not a Brexit side-effect that was voted for…


  • Whatever happened to the bear in the porkpie hat? Hofmeister (low alcohol, low flavour, low cost) was put out to pasture in 2003 but apparently is about to be re-launched as a 5% abv Helles lager, made in Bavaria.  Was Kumbuka, the roving silverback gorilla who made a bid for freedom last week at London zoo, making an early audition for the adverts, which included necking a 5 litre cask of squash?


  • Wine is going to get more expensive – all our suppliers are telling us this and we understand. However, will it get cheaper if the pound strengthens?  We suspect not…


  • Did anyone know who ‘that chap in Manchester’ that Wayne referred to last week in relation to Bob Dylan was? Puzzled looks everywhere, here.


  • How do you solve a squeeze on finances? Buy lots of wine – which is what we did this week.


Every now and then we receive a catalogue from Forman & Field (strapline: Restaurant quality food direct to your door), which is the mail order side of H. Forman & Son, purveyors of quality smoked salmon and, we later learnt, £1,000 Christmas Hampers.  Anyway, we looked through the catalogue before lunch the other day, salivating gently and realising that the offering from Coop was not going to be able to match what we were seeing on the page.  We also observed, scattered through the catalogue, various bon mots to encourage you to buy – “The Queen said our brownies were the best she had ever tasted”,  “Oh my word! The best pudding ever. (Mr & Mrs Slater, East Dulwich)”, or “See page 88 for more gifts and gourmet hampers”. 


Our favourite, however, was: “Our advice: Order more than you think you’ll need!”


Brilliant.  So we did.  Not smoked salmon from them, mind, but Claret from other people.  Oh, and magnums.



2011     Chateau La Providence         Bordeaux Supérieur                          £12.49

2012    Chateau Deville                     Cotes de Bordeaux                            £11.89

2010    Diane de Belgrave                 Haut Medoc                                       £22.99

2006   Chateau Fourcas-Dupré       Listrac-Medoc                                    £23.99

2010    Chateau Fourcas-Dupré       Listrac-Medoc                                    £20.99

2010    Chateau des Cabans                         Medoc                                     £17.49

2005    Chateau Beau-Site                St Estèphe                                          £28.99

2009   Chateau Le Boscq                 St Estèphe                                          £40.99

2010    Chateau Brown                      Pessac Léognan                                 £36.99

2004   Clos Sainte Anne                   Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux         £16.99

2010    Jean-Pierre Moueix             Lussac Saint Emilion                        £15.99

2011     Chateau Chereau                  Lussac Saint Emilion                        £16.99

2010    Chateau Roudier                   Montagne Saint-Emilion                  £18.99

2009   Chateau Grand Barrail

Lamarzelle Figeac                 St Emilion Grand Cru                       £31.99

2010    Chateau Grand Barrail

Lamarzelle Figeac                 St Emilion Grand Cru                       £31.99

2006   Chateau Chantalouette         Pomerol                                              £33.99



NV       Moutard Grande Cuvee        Champagne                                        £60.00

NV       Moutard Prestige Rose         Champagne                                        £62.00

2009   Chateau Le Crock                  Saint-Estèphe                                    £70.00

2005    Chateau Liversan                  Haut-Medoc                                       £46.99

2010    St Emilion JP Moueix           St Emilion                                          £38.99

2005    Vieux Chateau Gaubert        Graves                                                £46.99

2000   Vieux Chateau Gaubert

DOUBLE MAGNUM              Graves                                                £125.00

2012    La Cote Sauvage

Cairanne                                 Rhone                                                 £29.99

2014    Meerlust Red                         Stellenbosch                                       £26.99

2012    Meerlust Rubicon                  Stellenbosch                                       £52.00

2012    Ramon Bilbao

Edition Limitada                    Rioja                                                   £31.99

2014    Talmard Macon Uchizy         Maconnais                                          £29.99


Rigged voting


By my reckoning, the best and most honest way to get votes rigged in your own favour, Mr Trump, is to appeal to the voting on a platform of honesty, integrity and personality and thus just get more people to vote for you.  Simple.

With this in mind, if you think we are displaying suitable levels of honesty, integrity and personality and, dare I say it, you think we are your favourite shop in Wimbledon and ‘should have gotten it!’, then please vote for us in the Time Out #LoveLondonAwards


Rioja’n roll


If it’s October then it must be time for Rioja.  For the last three weeks, with your help, we have been sipping and slurping our way through the shop’s stocks of the finest wines from this gastronomic heartland, all in the name of #ShopRioja.  Long may this continue we say, and it will for this weekend and next certainly.


For this weekend we will be sampling two reds – it is definitely Autumn now – in two different styles.


Ramón Bilbao Edición Limitada 2o13 – £14.99. 

Rodolfo Bastida, winemaker since 1999 has a philosophy: ‘Winemaking can be like painting. You can use a big brush and a big pot of one colour to obtain something that’s pretty bland and uninteresting… Or you can use a small brush, with lots of small pots of different colours to give character and complexity.’  The wines have received much acclaim in the press and they were voted Winery of the Year in 2009 and again in 2014.


Made in the Crianza style, it is fermented in large oak barrel and then aged in French oak barrique for 14 months and then 9 months in bottle before release.  100% Tempranillo, 100% vegetarian, 100% vegan, 100% delicious.


Bodegas Ontañón Gran Reserva 2005 – £25.99.

Raquel, Ruben, Leticia and Maria Pérez Cuevas are part of the 5th generation of the Cuevas family to make wine in Rioja Baja -their father, Gabriel, inherited parcels of vineyards just outside the town of Quel on the higher slopes of the Sierra de Yerga mountain range.


A classic blend of Tempranillo with a splash of Graciano the wine spends 36 months in a mixture of American and French oak, and then 24 months in bottle prior to release.  We had this on our most recent wine and cheese tasting and it went down a storm – we have limited stocks currently and if you taste it I suspect you’ll work out why!


That’s it from us this week – come and taste some fab wines over the weekend and have a natter by the spirits tray – try some of our  back-in-stock Foxdenton Sloe Gin – £23.99 and put the world to rights.  Last words today will go to Mr Trump, good advice that we all should heed, particularly The Donald himself:


“Watch, listen, and learn.  You can’t know it all yourself.  Anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.”

Democracy in Action: We won last year, we’d dearly love to win again this year – it’s time to vote in the Time Out #LoveLondonAwards!

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Fellow Wine Lovers,

How the devil are you? I can’t believe it’s almost a week since we spoke last. Lots has happened, both Alex and Wayne have managed to duck the double input of numbers required for the VAT return but with the deadline looming they’re going to have to pull their fingers out.

Wayne snuck off to swan around the West End for a lunch with a Champagne producer that held some unexpected lessons for him (more below).

We watched the England match, that’s 90 minutes we’re not getting back.

Jessica Ennis-Hill has announced she’s hanging up her boots (and javelin and shot) to retire at the top. We can’t help but wonder if it’s worth a friendly fiver on her being the next Bond?

Elsewhere… Donald Trump!!!

Bob Dylan has won the Noble Prize for Literature for creating “new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”  I wonder how that chap in Manchester feels now?

Unexpected Lessons

I went to a Champagne tasting on Tuesday, Alex had tried some but not all of the wines before and I had tasted none of them until now.  Champagne Tarlant was the producer, a small grower Champagne with a long history, who are doing some really interesting things. I tried 8 wines in all (I know, we call it work!) but what really surprised me was the vintage wine. It was from 2003 and had spent 12 years aging on its lees.

So, 2003 was a really hot summer, certainly not ideal for the production of Champagne. I looked up some notes, and most of the Champagnes I have tasted from that year seem to have the word weird in the note somewhere.  This one too, but only because it was so different from any others I’d tried. So wonderfully fresh and alive, yet with a wonderful richness from the ageing. I really did get taught a lesson about generalising about vintages, I will definitely try and avoid such sweeping statements in the future. Vintage champagne 2003 weird…

Word to the Wise

Straight from the horse’s mouth…Pintia 2011 (£38) is drinking really nicely currently. A bottle made a guest appearance at a recent BYO evening and went down a storm. We have a small amount left.

Democracy in Action

We won last year, we’d dearly love to win again this year – it’s time to vote in the Time Out #LoveLondonAwards

There is only until the end of the month to tell the world we are your favourite shop in Wimbledon, assuming we are of course!

Please do follow this link and click on the box beside Park Vintners.

Thank you very much.

Tastings up until Christmas

All tastings are now fully sold out for this year – sorry if you missed out, hooray if you didn’t!

Tasting This Weekend

Well, I’m not sure we’ll be able to top last week, it was probably our most successful tasting yet, with both wines going down a storm, and the Torres Altos Ibericos Parcelas de Graciano 2011, Rioja, Spain (£14.99)selling out completely (more on its way, don’t worry!) Alex seemed to think that just about every dinner party locally was tucking into something tasty from Rioja.

We’re staying with a winning theme and this week we will put Valenciso Reserva 2009 (£23.99) in the red corner. This is one of Alex’s favourites (he’s even been to visit!) and is certainly a style we both really enjoy.

White wise we’ll have Bodegas Ontanon’s Vetiver Rioja Blanco 2013 (£10.79) a wine lighter in style than last week’s offering, being made from 100% Viura.

Well, I think we’ll leave the last word to Mr Zimmerman:

How many roads must a man walk down

Before you call him a man?

Yes, ‘n’ how many seas must a white dove sail

Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly

Before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

— Blowin’ In The Wind, Bob Dylan 1962

#ShopRioja and talking cod

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Fellow Wine Lovers,

What a week, eh? Conservative party conference whizzed by with all the hot air providing temporary localised warming over Birmingham.

UKIP’s new leader lasted a record breaking 18 days which suggests they could be the most difficult employer, even with strong challenges from both the Aston Villa and England football teams.

The real news this week though features a bit of most of the above. It seems that Cod speak with regional accents. On top of this, it seems that scientists at the University of Exeter are concerned for the future of the species. As global warming makes Cod head further north, there is confusion amongst cod, with males unable to ‘chat up’ females because of regional dialect.

The soft burr of Norfolk cod is almost unintelligible to those cod from Sunderland, whilst the fun loving cod from the Irish Sea are really struggling to understand the dark sense of humour of the Icelandic cod.

Full story here:

Shop Rioja

This month we’ve had a chat with the lovely folk from Rioja Wine UK to join in with their “ShopRioja” campaign.

Vines have been grown here in the Cantabrian mountains forever it seems, with documentary records going back as far as 873 AD. Rioja was first legally recognised for wine production by the King of Navarra and Aragon in the 12th Century and documents indicate exports in the 13th century. Everyone got on with it, exporting, drinking, improving their lot, and then in 1926 the Consejo Regulador was founded to limit the production area, control the quality, and use of the name Rioja, a fine job that they do to this day.

Being as on the ball and newsworthy as ever, we thought we should investigate what all the fuss was about. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll taste and talk about the wines from Spain’s Rioja region. So come in and join us, we have some freebies and all sorts of stuff going on!

Time Out #LoveLondonAwards

You’ve all been lovely nominating us, we’ve made the shortlist, and now we’d really like to win. If you could take a second or two out of your schedule before the 31st October and vote for us we’d be eternally grateful. To make it even easier here is the link:

I know we sound a bit needy, but thanks very much indeed!

Tasting this weekend

Well having banged on about ShopRioja we feel duty obliged to open some.

We shall populate the white corner with: Valenciso Blanco 2014, Rioja, Spain (£19.99) – A blend of 70% Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca fermented and then aged for 9 months in Russian oak barrels.  Complex aromas combining pretty, floral characters with preserved lemon, truffle and smoky notes.  The palate is broad and well integrated with nuts and stone fruit characters.  Fresh candied peel, minerality and crisp citrus acidity on the finish.

Whilst wearing the red trousers will be Torres Altos Ibericos Parcelas de Graciano 2011, Rioja, Spain (£14.99) a relatively rare beast of a Rioja being made from just the Graciano grape variety. Dark coloured and rounded on the palate with blackberry fruit character and a balsamic note that’ll be marvellous with some lamb.

It’s a grape variety we are both really rather fond of so come in have a taste and see what’s washing down our Sunday lunch!

I think that’ll be us this week.