Archive for January, 2018

Haggis, Cheese & Wine, Dolly the Sheep – it’s that Friday feeling!

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We have to confess we’re a little puzzled. We thought we’d read that the President wasn’t coming to London. Suddenly, without warning an entire club arrives, and in one evening manages to unleash front page Fire and Fury from the FT no less.

As we read the story, we found ourselves wondering if all these important people shouldn’t be in Davos rather than The Dorchester, and then it dawned on us that it could be some weird publicity stunt for the new Aardman Animations film “Early Man”. Settled on this explanation, we wondered about some Wensleydale for lunch…

Elsewhere, we learn that Chinese scientists have successfully cloned macaque monkeys using the same technology that produced Dolly the sheep. Fifteen of the UKIP senior team have resigned over differences with their leader (the fourth in 12 months!) – let’s hope there are no scientists working on Dolly designs in the Farage garage!

Otherwise, whilst the world is still turning, a distillery in South Carolina has released a vodka made from cloud vapour. Now, I’ll confess to be being somewhat less than on message when it comes to modern terms, but I’m fairly sure I spent most of my day off on Wednesday in ‘cloud vapour’. Indeed, I might go as far as suggesting that I was taught at school that the water we drink actually comes from cloud vapour. Maybe I wasn’t listening… probably had my head in the clouds!

Cheese and Wine Tastings

Cheese and wine have been rumoured to be nearly as tasty a combination as wine and cheese and over the years you have been in to help us along with our research into which is best. We chat to our chums at Beillevaire who suggest some cheeses, from which we choose four. Then we choose some wines to go with them, taste them with you and discuss the success of the choice.

One of the side effects of our research has been to discover just how many cheeses there are, hundreds of the blighters. You seem undaunted by the maths though, and have demanded more dates for cheese and wine tasting evenings.

So, if four cheeses tasted with half a dozen or so wines over a couple of hours sounds like fun, these are the dates to check in your diary!

Thursday 8th February at 8pm

Thursday 15th March at 8pm

Thursday 19th April at 8pm

Thursday 17th May at 8pm

Thursday 21st June at 8pm

Thursday 19th July at 8pm

As usual, book tickets by popping in or else call us on 020 8944 5224. Prices held at £20 per person.

Tasting this Weekend

There’s been talk of haggis this week, something to do with Burns Night. Now, as someone that likes to eat haggis, I would argue that much like puppies and Christmas, a haggis is not just for Burns Night. We thought we’d suggest a couple of reds that might make rather tasty accompaniments to the beastie, so we’ll kick off in the red corner with a brace: Maggio Old Vine Zinfandel 2015 (£12.99), whose cherry fruit will slide along just nicely with the peppery savouriness, whilst the slightly darker brambly fruit of Domaine Coyeux Beaumes de Venise 2013 (£15.99), will bring its own slightly savoury note to the party.

The white corner will have Lazos Terra Chardonnay 2016 (£13.99), not because it goes with haggis but because it’ll be a wow with that smoked salmon starter!

We appreciate that every tradition has its traditionalists so, if it must be whisky, then why not Finlaggan (£32.99) for the Islay team, or Strathmill 2002 (£50) for the Speyside team.

Neither of us were invited to Davos this year, so we’ll be here to answer questions, shoot the breeze or take your cheese and wine bookings.

Lastly, if you have a spare couple of hours, Icarus is a cracking documentary worthy of a stream!


Wayne & Alex

PS:  Our 6 for 5 offer ends at close of play Wednesday 31st January and we will be out for most of Tuesday daytime for tastings – so, as I write, there are approximately 40 hours left to shop – you have been warned!

Dry…Gin, Vermouth and Roasted Nuts

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Our Dry January Menu: Dry White Wine, Dry Gin, Dry Vermouth… Dry Roasted Nuts?

Pat, one of our customers, saw this brilliant piece of graffiti on the ‘wall of truth’ in Daly’s Wine Bar on The Strand, and correctly surmised that it might strike a chord..

The beginning of 2017 was an arid wasteland for the alcohol purveyors amongst us; everybody seemed to get so caught up in the vortex of alcohol abstention that was #dryjanuary, that we spent most of the month reading the paper.  As a further consequence of temperance, many bold moves were made to discover new and interesting flavours, alcohol free cocktails and exotically sludgy smoothies – 2017 was to be the year that boozing died and, with it, so too perhaps fun.

But February rolled in on a wave of Six Nations Rugby, Valentine’s Day and half term and suddenly a glass of proper fizz on Friday garnered more appeal than San Pellegrino, who skulked back once more to the bottom shelf.  By the end of the summer we had sold pallets of rose and prosecco and sludgy smoothies were much forgotten, the wine status quo had been achieved.  Christmas arrived in all its splendour and with it the New Year and then another month of abstinence…

….Or so we thought.  It would appear that many people had such a miserable time last January that the idea of 31 days off the grog, ever again, seems cruel and unfair and certainly contrary to all the rules and conventions that keep society social.  Some extreme abstainers, perhaps giddied by how much fun avocado and kale smoothies were last year, have decided to adopt Veganuary as their test this year – but don’t get me started on that!

Anyway, whether you have given up or not, you should certainly take advantage of our January 6 for 5 offer.

If you’re still drinking then the prospect of 16.66% off your six pack is not to be sniffed at whilst, if you are on the wagon but still reading this, I am guessing you might be back in the throng sometime in early February, the 1st perhaps, and you’ll be wanting something nice to drink.  Fill your rack up now and avoid the disastrous double whammy of missing out on wine in January whilst also missing out on the big discount!


Now, one man who is definitely not a vegan is Nick Radclyffe from Foxdenton, our Sloe and Rhubarb Gin guru.  Now Nick seems to spend his time equally between creating delicious alcoholic tinctures, selling such tinctures and shooting things.  Hence not a vegan.  Anyway, Nick popped by on Tuesday to replenish our Rhubarb Gin stocks and, being both a gentleman and a salesman, he also brought us some of his other tipples with him.  He left us the bottles, with a view that we could try them out with you lot and see if any gained any traction!  The flavours we have to try are:

Damson, Golden Apricot, Raspberry, and Winslow Plum.  He also left some Christmas Liqueur and his 48% Gin, both of which pack a punch!

Anyway, they’re all here for tasting, we’ll set up a sheet for scoring anonymously so we can get an idea of which one we should stick on the shelf.


If you don’t fancy fruit based spirits this weekend then we will have a couple of rather nice wines open.  Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis 2016 – £20.99 will be delighting us in the white suit whilst Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2016 – £16.99 will be the rogue in red – we’ve got plenty of stock of both wines so plenty of opportunity to get a six box!

And with that I’m gone!

It’s very quiet Dad

Friday, January 12th, 2018

Fellow Wine Lovers,

It was a cold night, there was no doubt about it.  The wind was blowing from the east as it often has of late and the promise of little or no sun during the day had been delivered upon, in spades.  It was now 8pm and, in a bygone age, there would have been thick fog swirling about the entrance to Wimbledon Park Tube Station.  Certainly, the mismatched pair clambering up the stairs, were dressed for such weather, the taller in a large overcoat, a warm hat and gloves and with a scarf covering all but his eyes, whilst the smaller creature looked more suited to alpine pursuits than commuting.

‘It’s very quiet Dad’ said the amateur tobogganist, thus identifying their relationship, ‘where is everyone?’

‘It’s always like this at this time of night, Arthur Road is completely dead in the evening’, was the response.

A couple of people left Dalchini, filled with Hakka cuisine, and gingerly weaved through the three battered mopeds sprawled by the door by the over eager Deliveroo drivers.  Further down the street, the sign for Estella blinked, like a remote lighthouse warning people not to approach to closely.

‘The chemist is open late though, look at the light streaming from their windows’ observed the very well enunciated boy.

As they walked down road towards the glow, the sound of excited chatter and glasses accidentally clinking became louder – ‘that’s not the chemist, that’s the wine shop, I wonder what’s going on?’

Rubbing the condensation from the window, they pressed their noses to the glass as people only do in narrative, never in life, and observed a vinous paradise.  Inside the shop, bathed in gloriously warming light, were 10 people of different shapes and sizes seated around a table in the middle of the room whilst two people stood at the far end, seemingly running the show or at the very least talking a lot.

‘This must be that six week wine school that Mum was rattling on about all over December, saying how nice it would be for us to do it together, to taste about 60 wines over the period, to try some mainstream but also some esoteric styles, to learn about wine faults and sweet wine and rosé and then finish off with a week focusing on sparkling wine and champagne – I think they’ve even arranged for a week break for half term which seems very sensible.  I believe it’s aimed at people who are interested in wine but don’t know a lot and are looking to expand their horizons a bit’ murmured the suddenly remarkably well informed Dad.

‘But isn’t that mum over there at the end with Fiona from next door, and isn’t that Clive from your gym?’

‘I had no idea she knew Clive, in fact I had no idea she had signed up for this, why didn’t she tell me?  replied Dad, whilst thinking to himself that this wine tasting looked far more fun than wandering the streets with an 11 year old… why didn’t she tell me?

And with that, they unglued their noses from the windowpane and wandered towards the Coop – ‘beans on toast for supper whilst watching Kirstie and Phil’s Love It or List It , please Dad’

‘You are not my son’ was the absentminded utterance, as Dad wondered if he was still living the dream…





If you would like to book then please email us, phone us on 020 8944 5224, or pop in and sees us in person – for the course to run we need a minimum of 8 people and we currently are short of this number.  With this in mind we will be closing the bookings on Saturday 20th January – so if you think you’d like to come, carpe diem and don’t let Clive nick your place!

So caught up were our protagonists with the vinous paradise that greeted them, that they completely failed to notice the whacking great blackboard suggesting that if you bought 6 bottles during the month of January the you would actually only pay for 5 of them; or to put it another way, from February to December we offer a 5% discount on a case of 6 but in January we offer 16.666% discount on the same case. 

It can be a mixed case, it needs to be from stock we have in the shop and a couple of things at the top end and in the spirits section don’t qualify due to the fact that giving such a discount would lead to bankruptcy!  Still plenty to choose from here but of course, as every day passes, such choice gets smaller and we wouldn’t want you to miss out like our protagonist earlier – don’t let Clive beat you to it!

Our News

That title sounds extremely formal.  Anyway it’s not really news, more a diary note:

We are closed all day on Monday 15th January in order to attend to our tasting and supplier based responsibilities – we’ve swerved all the Burgundy tastings this year but Monday is showing us, oh, so much more than what Burgundy can offer that we have had to take the day – sorry, back on Tuesday, bright and breezy!

Their News

Too much, as ever.  Farage wants second referendum – or at the very least wants to be on the front pages again.  Snowfall in the alps, very heavy; bear sized Andrex found in woods; Catholics found in Vatican.  Every Premiership player linked with a move to Man City, every Premiership manager denies rumours.  A woman who walked into a police station saying she killed a man and buried him in the garden several years ago is in court accused of murdering a man 12 years ago after police found a body buried in a garden – impressive police work.  The NHS is creaking but sadly this isn’t news.  Theresa launches her 25 year plastic plan, very laudable – 5p bags here we come, recyclable glass bottles for fizzy water (with a deposit), loose fruit and veg – anyone get a sense of déjà vu?

That’s enough of their news – it’s the top of the year, it’s a time to feel positive and enlivened.  To help with such enlivening, we will have the following liveners open this weekend:

Southern Dawn Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – £10.79 – we last tasted this wine, but the 2016 vintage, this weekend last year so it seemed about due.  Classic Marlborough SB, a medley of herbs and grass pursued by a crisp fruit driven palate packed with gooseberry, lime and passion fruit and a lovely fresh finish.

Petit Pittacum 2016 – £12.89 – this is one of our best-selling Spanish wines which probably explains why we haven’t opened a bottle in the shop for over a year, it sells itself!  From Bierzo in the top left corner of the country, made from the lesser known Mencía grape, this has an extremely enticing nose filled with blackberry and elderberry fruits and a palate that reflects the self-same fruit characteristics and a touch of tannin to keep it honest.  Try it.

And with that we shall wish you well – don’t forget, if you have been considering wine school now is the time to strike, unless of course beans on toast with Kirstie and Phil is more your thing!

Alexa really does know too much….

Friday, January 5th, 2018

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Here we are again, the last of the turkey has been currified and frozen, we’ve caught up with Hootenanny on iPlayer and poked our nose in the gym – surprised at how quiet it was, we even worked out!

As appears to be the custom at this time of year we thought we might make a few suggestions of what may happen in 2018. We think that by the end of the year Alex will be wearing a beard and Wayne not. Money laundering and tax havens will crop up repeatedly in the news, and Trumpolena will still be twittering on, Theresa May will still be Prime Minister and Liverpool will, again, be the best team to win nothing.

At some point during the year you’ll receive an unexpected delivery of loo roll, toothpaste and a boxed set of Little House on the Prairie and realise that Alexa really does know too much.

Driverless cars will still not quite happen, and because of continual over crowded trains more people will cycle to work. Electric car charging points will be everywhere and still only one person on your street will have one.

Financially, the pound will end the year stronger than it started, FTSE 100 and the oil price will be about the same and the Nikkei 225 will be above 25000.

On the drinks front, there will be life beyond Prosecco, with other sparkling wines getting a look in and an English Sparkling wine being chosen for the Royal Wedding.

Sport wise we’re going with Antonio Conte to return home to Italy as manager, Rory McIlroy to win the Masters, and England to win the Six Nations Rugby, whilst in football exiting the World Cup at the quarter final stage.

Lastly, in a more believable prediction, we think Liver and Bacon will become popular again. Who knows, it might even get its own food truck in Haggerston!

Wine School

We put the dates out last month but to no reaction, we think that in the whirlwind of December they got missed.

We’ll start on Wednesday 31st January at 8pm here. It’s a six week course (that skips half term) and costs ₤150. During the six weeks you’ll taste in the region of 60 different wines. If that appeals, full details are attached.

The Famous Park Vintners January Sale

All we had to do was look at what we wrote in January 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 to find the appropriate words. Yes folks, as now seems traditional in this small corner of southwest London, everything on the shelves is for sale. To encourage you though, might we present to you the Park Vintners January 6 for 5 Offer.

Similar Identical to the ongoing Champagne and sparkling wine deal we offer all year, for January we will be extending this offer to wine and beer too. But not spirits I’m afraid, all the profit on those is reserved for HMRC, unfortunately it’s our Duty. Oh, and it’s only wines we have in stock currently.  And a couple of the wines and Champagnes aren’t in the deal either but let’s not get caught up in all the Ts & Cs, this is a glorious offer – 6 bottles for the price of 5, mixable, a ‘16.66% off’ straight-up deal, none of this ‘cheapest bottle free’ malarkey.  Does that sound like a deal or what?

That’s it from us for this week. Don’t be a stranger!