Archive for March, 2017

The Times Are A Changin’

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Is it me or was that just a bit of a damp squib? I can’t but help feel a little deflated, if I’m honest. All the talking, the hot air generated, endless column inches and handwringing. Angry people, happy people, playing-my-cards-close-to-my-chest people, and that’s not evening mentioning the ‘not-in-my-name’ people.

But there it is folks, Things Have Changed; we’ll be wearing no more Boots of Spanish Leather, there’s talk that A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall and we’ll all end up on Desolation Row. Those of us who thought we’d be Forever Young on the Costa Blanca till we were Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door have seen our dreams Blowin’ in the Wind.

In case you haven’t worked it out yet, Bob Dylan has finally decided to accept his Nobel Prize. Like a Rollin’ Stone he will be pitching up in Sweden and playing a couple of concerts in Stockholm over the weekend when he collects it.

In other news, something called Article 50 has been triggered and created a bit of a hoo-haa. We’re not entirely sure what it’s about, or what the effect of article 48 or 49 may have been.

Just when you thought politics couldn’t get any odder, in France it seems many of Francois Hollande’s team appear to have backed an independent candidate for President, rather than their own Socialist Party candidate!

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, trading standards officers have destroyed a selection of Easter eggs after the Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey complained about them. A local off licence had designed their own ‘Buckfast Tonic Easter Egg’ which cost £9.99 and contained a chocolate egg, a miniature bottle of Bucky, a fridge magnet and a cigarette lighter (?) – £2000 worth of orders are now being refunded!

Congratulations to Jo Pavey who was awarded the bronze medal for the 10,000m World Championships of 2007. That’s a long wait for a medal, but we’ve always known success is a mix of patience and perseverance!

As cyclists across London have been calling out for more cycle lanes, the professionals have been fined for using them. In the Three Days of De Panne, 15 riders, including the winner, were fined 200 Swiss Francs for using a cycle lane that allowed them to miss the cobbles on a hilly section, causing spectators to scatter and a near miss with a parked car!

Brexit Brevity is the watch word this week, what with a selection of deliveries, the year-end stock count and a cheese and wine tasting too. we have a general sense of wonder as to who scheduled it all in the last few days of March!

Tasting this weekend

Assuming we find any in the stock count, we’ll be opening one of our newbies, Arena Negra Chardonnay (£7.49). A cracking drop from Chile, named after the black volcanic shores of the Pacific. Clean and fresh, with a lovely fruity zing.

As we’ve made the journey that far south, we’ll just hop over the Andes and try Lazos Trio Malbec (£16.49). With fruit from La Consulta at an altitude of around 1100m, this is a Malbec with a real touch of elegance and a touch of spice and roundness from 6 months in oak barrels.


Monday 3rd April we’ll be opening later as we have to attend a tasting searching out new wines for your delectation. We’ll be back in the shop by 4pm though.

That’s it from us folks, come and taste the wines and be very alert tomorrow morning…


Wayne & Alex

Mother’s Day

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Six nations is over, England won, though not prettily and by no means easily. It seems to this correspondent though, that Mr Jones has the makings of a good team there, tidy up some of the errors and we can look forward to the 2019 World Cup in Japan with some excitement. Lions tour next!

Formula I season starts this weekend down in Melbourne, with new owners, new rules and talk of a Ferrari revival. We’ll see how it unfolds, but in off-season testing they have suffered no engine failures, compared to McLaren having seven and just the one for Mercedes: Let the tournament begin.

Yesterday’s Stage 4 of the Volte a Catalunya was shortened by 60km due to snowfall (or as the UCI states, Extreme Weather Protocol!). To be fair, it’s never any fun to cycle in the snow but one can’t help but wonder if Eddy Merckx would have just put a sweater on? For the record, Nacer Bouhanni won the stage for Cofidis.

With the dawning realisation that the day was creeping up on us, we couldn’t help but wonder the origins of Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday as my Nan called it!) After we’d both made a quick dash to the post office, we looked it up!

Well, it seems in the 16th century there was a tradition for people to return to the church of their baptism on the 4th Sunday of Lent. Those that did were said to have been a-mothering. As time went on this started to die out and by the early 1920’s the tradition in much of Europe was lapsing.

Undeterred by European fashions, the Americans kept it and it was the influence of American and Canadian soldiers during World War II that triggered a revival. The canniness  of UK retailers in the early 1950’s is not to be underestimated either; the chance to sell a card and a box of Milk Tray seemed too good to miss and so the tradition of giving mum a card and a gift stems from there and is celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent.

As to returning to the church of baptism, Wayne reckons the last time he did that was as a teenager for a disco. I didn’t realise they had churches that far back!

So, don’t forget Mother’s Day folks, a box of Milk Tray and a glass of something suitable.

Tasting this weekend…

Meanwhile, in Arthur Road, we’ll be opening some wine, it seems rude not to what with the weekend being here and it threatening to be dry too, if a little breezy (the weather, not sure we have any breezy wine).

White wise we shall sniff, swirl and slurp Crowded House Sauvignon Blanc (£13.99). A new listing, we tasted it for the first time just a few weeks ago. We were at a tasting, chatting to our chum the Viking and saw it on the list. After suggesting all the “Take the Weather With You” and “Four Seasons in One Day” jokes we can categorically state this wine has nothing to do with the band of the same name from the late 80’s. As fresh and zesty as you’d expect, and we thought, really rather good value.

In the red corner, we’ll toddle over to France for a splash of Bordeaux. Another new listing, Rives de Loudenne 2010 (£18.99), is the second wine of Chateau Loudenne. The wine is a cracking drop of Medoc, from a stunner of a vintage and is just slipping into its stride. Rich, of fruit and sunshine, maturing with a gently rounded tannin structure and a great finish. Lovely with Sunday lunch, methinks.

That’s about it from us for this week, don’t forget when you go to bed on Saturday it’s already an hour later than you think!

Let’s be careful out there,

Alex & Wayne

What can I suggest for those of you wanting something vinous, that is nebulously Hibernian?

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

For us it’s all about Ireland this week – Cheltenham, St Patrick’s Day, and the Ireland v England rugby on Saturday.

But our Irish week actually started last Saturday, when one of our customers popped in with a ‘strange request’.  We get a lot of strange requests, I think it’s something to do with being open in the evening once the hairdressers are shut, but most requests are nowhere near as strange as the quester believes, so eyelids, usually, remain unbatted.

This was different.  Jennifer, whose name I may or may not have changed to protect her anonymity, informed me that she was going to be celebrating St Patrick’s day with some pals this week and thus, what Irish Wines did I have?  Irish Wine?  Not so sure Ireland’s the place I’d go looking for wine.  In fact, we’ve just recently had it confirmed by our Irish representatives in the Northern reaches of London that, after a tasting at the Irish Embassy, we’re not missing much or indeed anything at all.

So I said to Jennifer, because that’s definitely not her name, that I had a fabulous bottle of Jack Ryan Beggars Bush 12 Year Old Single Malt Whiskey for £51.99 but if she wanted wine, I couldn’t help.  I think she had suspected this might be the case so she said that she was happy to take something else vinous, providing it had a loose connection to the Emerald Isle – and that she would pop back in a few days to see if I had had any thoughts.

I like a challenge, particularly one involving slightly tenuous wordplay, so I set about my task with gusto.


I can report that there are not enough wines out there (or at least in here) that fit within any of these criteria:

  • Made by someone called Patrick
  • With Celtic crosses on their labels
  • Or Harps or Shamrocks
  • With Emerald mentioned in their title
  • Or Serpents
  • Or March 17th
  • Or a Leprechaun, God be thanked
  • Associated to U2, Boyzone or B*Witched, again, God be thanked

So what can I suggest for those of you wanting something vinous that is nebulously Hibernian?

Any wine from Galicia – there is plenty of evidence or myth, depending on your viewpoint, that there is a shared genealogy between Ireland and Galicia – I won’t get into a debate here but suffice to say there are Celtic crosses galore in Northwest Spain.

If you cross the border into Portugal, you’ll encounter the zesty, clean wines of Minho –  Vinho Verde to be exact, which  I suspect we can all Google translate as ‘green wine’.

There’ll be others I’m sure but a here’s a selection of what I have on the shelf:

Leira Seca 2016 – £11.49 – Vinh O’Verde, Minho

Val do Xuliana Albariño 2015 – £12.49 – Rías Baixas, Galicia

Bioca Godello 2016 – £13.49 – Valdeorras, Galicia

Sameirás Blanco 2015 – £16.49 – Ribeiro, Galicia

Alodio 2015 – £12.99 – Ribeira Sacra, Galicia

Casal de Paula 2015 – £14.79 – Ribeira, Galicia

And here is the even more tenuous selection, which arguably we had more fun with:

Pouilly Fume ‘La Charnoie’ 2014 – £18.99 – made by a gent named Patrick

Puligny-Montrachet 2014 – £35.99 – made by a gent named Patrick but a different one

Powers Merlot 2012 – £13.29 – from Washington State in the USA but surely there’s a certain Irish Whiskey by this name…

Emili O’Moro 2014 – £17.99 – from Ribera del Duero, really called Emilio Moro but it’s the first wine I have sold this week with an ‘Irish’ connection

Riecine 2011 – £48 – because it’s made by Sean O’Callaghan.  And it’s delicious.  Even if he is actually an Englishman…

Hopefully that helps a little or a lot, depending on your requirements.  For those of you ambivalent towards these events, perhaps I can entice you to pop in for a taste anyway?

We’re going to open two wines from Galicia, mentioned above:

Bioca Godello – £13.49 – Godello is the grape here, grown at high altitude which helps give it real purity of flavour.  Lifted orange character on the nose and a vibrant, crisp, citrus focused palate with some background smatterings of minerals.  A very decent length finish and unerringly more-ish – if you want more though, you’ll have to buy a bottle!

Casal de Paula – £14.79 – A pimentón spiciness on the nose with some savoury red and black fruits in there too leading onto a delicious palate of sour cherries and tart red fruits.  Fine tannins with great freshness, typical of the region, and a real delicious drop.

So I think that’s about it from us – last day of Cheltenham today with Ireland leading 14 – 7, having had six winners yesterday but I think we’ll let them have the bragging rights providing we do the reversal on them in Dublin at the Aviva tomorrow!

As someone notably said back in 1996:  Good things come to those who wait! (anyone remember who?)


All about eto…

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This time last year we wrote that stage 3 of the “Race to the Sun” (Paris-Nice) had been cancelled due to snow; this year we’ve had no white outs and Julian Alaphilippe is currently in the yellow jumper after five stages.

A gentleman, much wiser than me I’m sure, once described football as “a game of two halves”. I’m not sure we will witness a better manifestation of that than what we saw in the Champions League this week.

In case you missed it Arsenal demonstrated that a 5-1 drubbing is awful away, it’s even worse when repeated at home. Barcelona were busy rejecting the Arsenal game plan entirely, with a fight back against Paris St. Germain that will be talked about for years.

Some clever video chappy, I’m sure, will be able to splice the two halves together to make a motivational video.

We’ve not managed to get any comment on stories that Arsene Wenger has joined the Government’s Brexit team.

With Six Nations action as well this weekend, control of the remote is going to be key.

We’ve had a Budget putting booze up again but the biggest surprise was Spreadsheet Phil cracking jokes!

In other news, Resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, was found to slow the aging process in mice. Before we all get carried away, you would have to drink around 2000 litres of red wine to get enough to replicate the enriched diet the mice had. That is something we would counsel against even if we can be Dorian Gray!

Cheese & Wine for Thursday 30th March has two places left at £20 per head – We start at 8pm, are you coming?

New Stuff
You may have noticed we’ve been opening the shop a little late on, or possibly greeted you with a rather purpled smile. That’s because it’s been prime tasting season and we’ve been out hunting and gathering.

Keep an eye on the shelves, some new wines are showing up already, some more to come too. There’s an awesome new Chardonnay from South Africa, a few Sicilians, and we’ve even listed our first alcohol free bubbly!

Tasting with Tom
Those of you with long memories will recall that Tom Cotton is the designer behind eto.

Eto is of course the innovative wine decanter that allows you to decant, serve, and preserve your wine’s full flavour we were telling you about last week.

Tom is all fired up and ready demonstrate in the blind taste test comparing freshly opened wine with its eto 7 day preserved equivalent. This will take place this evening in the shop from around 5.30pm. We’d love for you all to come down and taste the difference.

As we mentioned last week, Tom is local, a dad at Wimbledon Park Primary School, and is a proud Welshman – “eto” is Welsh for “again” as the decanter allows you to enjoy your wine again and again… and we’re very excited to get the chance to be involved in the taste test. So come on down, have a chat with Tom, taste some wine and you’ll be home in time for the Wales Ireland game at 8.05. Who knows it may even kick-start the Wales Six Nations campaign! is the website or follow their news on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

So eto has the red accounted for, I’m not giving away any secrets when I tell you we’ll be tasting The Long Barn Pinot Noir (£12.99), from California.
The white corner, meanwhile, will be hosting Luis Pato Maria Gomes (£11.99) which rather splendidly says on the back label to drink as a welcome drink. I can’t help but think that on Friday night a glass of wine is always a welcome drink, so this seems perfect!

See you all at 5.30pm then….

Spring Sprung, eto, Rueda

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Hooray, hooray, Spring is in on its way!  According to our correspondent at Metro (the paper of choice if travelling between Earlsfield and Waterloo for a tasting), Wednesday was the first day of the meteorological spring this year, while March 20 is the first day of the astronomical spring.

What does that mean really?  It means lighter mornings, lighter evenings, lighter moods and, I suspect, light rain in places.  It means daffodils and leaves on the trees and lamb in the fields and the oven.  It means Wayne going on holiday, impromptu 20 degree days and Rosé back in the fridge, with a vengeance.  Oh, and it means the last Spring Budget is in the offing – next Wednesday, 8th March – a time when we all wait with crossed fingers and unrealistic dreams of cheaper fuel and, ideally, wine.  This won’t happen of course so we need to remember that Spring is on its way we have lighter mornings and warmer evenings….

Fearful of currency fluctuation, poor vintages and duty increases, we have been spending an awful lot of our time of late staring through the bottom of wine glasses.  Plus ça change, you might say, but actually this has been in the name of finding new wines.  Often we get asked if we get to travel to exotic climes to try wines and we can now confirm that we do – we’ve been to Victoria Street, Southwark Bridge and the Pimlico borders, and that’s just this week, last week we were more Soho focused… Anyway the good news is we have, we think, found some new gems and some replacements for delisted wines and are hoping the Chablis crisis might be resolved but, with a 60% drop in yields in some cases, this doesn’t look too hopeful.

So, if wine is to become a more valuable asset whether we like it or not, then we need to make sure we don’t waste any – Did you know that every year in the UK alone, almost 50 million litres of wine are poured down the plughole – a massive £470 million down the drain!

That fact came from Tom Cotton  a Product Designer with nearly 20 years experience of bringing designs from concept to market, for global companies including Bacardi, InBev, Diageo and P&G, to name but a few.

But now he is the man behind eto – and here are his words and musings:

So what’s the Problem?

You know how it is; you crack open that one last bottle with friends at the weekend and then the rest ends up on your kitchen counter for 3 days, exposed to oxygen, and your vino can taste more like vinegar.  Sure, there are wine preservation devices out there but they’re either ineffective as the wine is still in contact with some air, or expensive, and you’re tied into pricey refills.  I thought there had to be a better way, and so came up with ‘eto’ – an innovative wine decanter that allows you to decant, serve, and preserve your wine’s full flavour.

How does eto work?

Decant your whole bottle into eto … this ‘opens up’ the wine and brings out its character. Pour yourself a glass – the sharp lip gives drip-free pouring.  But then, at the end of the evening, you push down on the neck and the unique, patented design forms a complete seal preventing any further contact with oxygen.

OK sure, but how do we know it works?

Science: Independent tests conducted at the laboratories of Bangor University show that eto far out-performs the more conventional wine-preservation methods on the market today.

Taste: This is where you come in… At Park Vintners we’re carrying out a blind taste test comparing freshly opened wine with its eto 7 day preserved equivalent.  This will take place on the evening Friday 10th March in the shop and we’d love for you all to come down and taste the difference.

Tom is based on the Wimbledon Park grid, is a dad at Wimbledon Park Primary School, and   is a proud Welshman  – “eto” is Welsh for “again” as the decanter allows you to enjoy your wine again and again… and  we’re very excited to get the chance to be involved in the taste test is the website or follow their news on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram

So that’s tasting next week, what about this week?

This week we’ll open Nisia ‘Old Vines’ Verdejo 2015, Rueda, Spain (£17.99) it is from really old vines in Rueda, the youngest were planted in 1942, and went down a storm at a recent private tasting we did.  A crackingly complex white wine with a flavour profile that is similar to Sauvignon Blanc, but a softer finish.

Red wine drinkers will swirl, slurp and swoosh with Malbrontes Malbec Torrontes 2015, Mendoza, Argentina (£12.79) where the Malbec is blended with a splash of Torrontes just to give the fruit profile a bit of a lift. Deliciously dark fruited red that we think is perfect for a sirloin Saturday supper.