Archive for April, 2019

Provence lands in Wimbledon Park

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Chapeau! To the French firefighters who have managed to save far more of the Notre Dame than looked likely when the pictures first came through. Not only is it an integral part of the Paris skyline, it is almost part of the very essence of French-ness, appearing so prominently in both France’s history and literature. Victor Hugo will be coming to a best-seller list on Amazon very soon I suspect.

Chapeau!  Also to Victor Campenaerts who has beaten Bradley Wiggins Hour Record. He managed to ride a massive 55.089 km at the Bicentenario Velodrome in Mexico with a perfectly controlled ride. That’s just over half a kilometre further than Sir Wiggo. I’m not sure I’ve ever reached that speed on the flat, let alone for an hour!

If the Met office is to be believed you’ll be needing your sunhats this weekend if you’re still in Wimbledon Park, we’re expecting 20˚C and sunshine, that’s on a par with Barcelona and better than Thessaloniki!

Following on from our golf chat last week we couldn’t help but notice Tiger Woods was the man who gets to borrow the green jacket for a year.  Some of the sports commentators got a little over excited with this news and seemed to think it was the “Greatest Comeback Ever”. I don’t wish to take away from his win, but I would just point out that two of Greg Lemond’s   three Tour de France victories came after being shot in a hunting accident.

In booze news Asda has had an oops on the translation front offering it’s Welsh speakers ‘Free Alcohol’ rather than ‘Alcohol Free’ . It would appear that HMRC is also at risk of booze jokes as it appears to be losing entire or large parts of applications for new distilleries or excise warehouses!

Happy birthday to The Queen, 93 years young on Sunday! Happy Birthday your Maj! The official hoe down will be in June as usual.

Easter Opening Hours – it being a Bank Holiday weekend we have some funny hours!

Today 18th April  – 11AM – 8PM

Good Friday 19th April – Funny Hours – 11AM – 3PM

Saturday 20th April – Funny Hours- 1OAM – 4PM

Sunday 21st April – CLOSED

Monday 22nd April – CLOSED

Tuesday 23rd April – Back to Normal

Anyway as it’s going to be nice this weekend we are very happy to announce (Drum roll please)

Chateau de L’Aumerade ‘Cuvée Marie-Christine’ 2018 our Cru Classé Côtes du Provence Rosé is in stock, and we’ve managed to keep it at the same price as last year!

£14.99 per bottle or 6 bottles for £78

Tasting This Weekend

Given we’re doing it all a day early we’ll open these wines this evening around 5-ish. Your weekend starts here!

Where would we be without an open bottle at the weekend? I can’t help but think it might be nice to show some solidarity with the French, so in the white corner we’ll start off with Domaine Alexandre Chablis 2017 (£19.99) a classic crisp mineral white that we managed to grab a small parcel of.

On the red front I can’t help but think that if we’re eating spring lamb we might want to have a glass of red burgundy with it. On that basis I’m pouring the Domaine Fournillon Epineuil Bourgogne Rouge (£14.99) which will be just fabulous with that lamb.

That’s about it for us this week, but if anyone knows what glue the climate protesters are using give us the nod, we’ve some things up for repair. s”).w

Great with water nymph or dolphin…

Friday, April 12th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I have to confess, I do love the school holidays, the Easter ones in particular.  The sun often shines, the roads are empty and you can get a seat on the tube.  Plus we have the four day weekend that encapsulates Easter Sunday.  Plus plus, our own bearded asylum seeker, Alex, gets dragged kicking and screaming from his priest hole in the cellar and taken to far flung exotic climes (Warwick and Dorset this year, I believe) and I have the place to myself.  And I get to write the email, uninterrupted.

And, as I get to write the email without any ‘helpful’ insertions, I get to write about whatever I want.  If you’ve read any of my previous pieces then you will be aware that I have a passing affection for bikes and cycling; what you won’t know, I suspect, is that my actual true passion is for the little dimpled ball.  Yep, I’m a golf nut.  There you go, it’s out in the world now, it’s in print, it’s on Facebook and our website and my goodness, I feel a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Whilst I do enjoy going out cycling on a misty Sunday morning swaddled in luminescent lycra and feeling like a million lira, the opportunity to stroll around a large country estate swinging clubs (less than 80 times ideally) dressed in plus fours and Pringle knitwear is what I really want to be doing.  I’m not the best player I know, but then I’m also not the worst.  I’m certainly in the top 10 of people I play with and that is all I need really – Strava rarely has such nice things to say to me.

However, there is one way that cycling surpasses golf.  When I watch the Tour de France, the Giro or La Vuelta I see narrow mountain roads being gobbled up by the superfit masochists, I see swooping descents that make roller coasters feel pedestrian and I know that, should I have the desire, I could jump on my bike and attempt my own heroics on these exact roads, any time I wanted. 

Golf however isn’t quite like that, particularly the golf that’s going on right now. 

For those of you less fanatical, the US Masters started yesterday.  This is arguably the biggest week in golf each year as it heralds the start of ‘the season’, is the first major, the winner gets a natty green jacket to wear (but not keep) and it always takes place at Augusta National in Georgia.  You know Augusta, that truly cosmopolitan and inclusive club without a whiff of racism and sexism, always a club to open its doors willingly to all comers.  There is no members’ waiting list because you have to be invited to join, it only has a few hundred members, the majority of whom are men and captains of industry and you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than get a chance to play it. 

So, unlike the Col du Tourmalet, Augusta will never open its arms to me – perhaps I am better off on the bike…

Elsewhere, it seems that we are still in Europe, Tottenham and Liverpool are still in Europe, Julian Assange has left South America and is now in Europe and Omar al-Bashir isn’t in Europe, yet, but he is to be expected at ICC at some point.

But what has any of this got to do with wine I hear you ask?  Nothing at all, is the honest answer but now I will remedy that.

UPCOMING TASTINGS – DATES FOR YOUR DIARIES

Our Cheese and Wine tasting evenings have been as over-subscribed as ever and as of now we have 2 spaces available on Thursday 20th June and then plenty of spaces on Thursday 18th July – should you wish to join us then it costs £20 per person and it all starts at 8pm.

You may have noticed us rattling on about Domaine Treloar over the last few weeks.  One of the reasons is that we think the wines are ace and should be in everyone’s shopping basket.  Another good reason is that Jonathan and Rachel, the owners, are thoroughly good eggs – so good in fact that they have agreed to visit us not once but twice this year!

Thursday 27th June at 8pm – Domaine Treloar Wine tasting with Jonathan Hesford – £20 per person

Thursday 17th October at 8pm – Domaine Treloar Wine tasting with Rachel Treloar – £20 per person

I appreciate that the October date feels a little in advance but when they offered to come and do this we thought we’d get the dates in the diary as soon as possible so they can book their flights – we expect both tastings to be very popular so do book early to avoid disappointment!

OTHER WINE NEWS

After a brief hiatus, I can confirm that we have Chocolate Block back in stock – and we have it in magnums too, for £50, which just has to be a better Easter gift than any overpriced oval confection…

TASTING THIS WEEKEND

Often when Alex is given the reins he thinks he’s being super smart and tries to link the tasting wines to events of the week ‘don’t you think it segues rather nicely’  he might be heard to say, whilst I’m thinking ‘segue’, really, did you really just say that?  Anyway, there will be none of that nonsense this week, just fine wines that need to be tasted by you fine folk.

Naia Verdejo 2017 – £14.99 – this is a new listing for us since the previous inhabitant of the posh Verdejo throne became just too expensive and the Naia had always been in our sights as the pretender and now it has found its seat.  Produced in Rueda, the Verdejo heartland, the grapes come from 98 acres of vineyards, the majority of which are 26 years old (and 5 acres of which are ungrafted 90 year old Verdejo vines) all located in La Seca.  The wine has ripe stone fruit aromas with lightly savoury, herbal notes that persist on the palate and then leads onto a bright and long finish.  Great with shellfish and perhaps with water nymph (Greek translation) or dolphin (Hawaiian translation) but I’m not sure that’s allowed any more….

The Pilot by Alpha Domus 2014 – £13.99/6 for £72 – this is the exact opposite of a new listing – it’s a bin end, once it’s gone, it’s scone!  From Hawkes Bay in New Zealand this is a stonking Bordeaux blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  On the nose it’s busy with berry fruits, plums and spicy herbs.  The palate is again filled with plum and blackberry fruit, some clove spice and a silky, savoury finish – a perfect partner to Sunday’s roast lamb.

That’s it for now – enjoy your hols whilst I enjoy the tranquillity and the golf!

The very fetching yellow beret she sports in the video was her only payment….

Friday, April 5th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Alex has been out and about this week, putting his sniff, swirl and spit skills to good use in the judging of the early rounds of the International Wine Challenge. His teeth have now returned to their original colour, he has caught up with a fair few old chums and also discovered some of the latest buzzwords in the land of winemakers and consultants. Because such things are as strict as Official Secrets Act we can’t say much more than that but there was talk of a game changing tooth product that should help those of us that continually subject their enamel to a short intensive acid bath. We’ll trial it and let you know.

An enormously heart-warming piece of news we saw was that, at the age of 85, Madhur Jaffrey has still got it. She’s recruiting a new generation of fans as a guest star as a Grandma MC in NY hip hop artist Mr. Cardamom’s new track “Nani”. The very fetching yellow beret she sports in the video was her only payment.

News reaches us that Ukraine may be in line to get a comedian as President. Leading the race in first round of Presidential elections is popular TV comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. I see no problem with it at all; we have 649 jokers in our parliament, whilst the US has a TV star in the top role who definitely knows his oranges, what could possibly go wrong.

Meanwhile, at the European Parliament, MEP’s have made some revisions to the food-labelling regulations by this week approving a ban on the producers of vegetarian food from using nomenclature usually deployed to describe meat. French socialist MEP Éric Andrieu, overseeing the debate, said: “We felt that steak should be kept for real steak with meat and come up with a new moniker for all these new products.”

So, goodbye to the veggie burger, welcome to the veggie disc. We wondered what happens to fish cutlets or chicken fillet, is only beef allowed to have fillet? What about beef tomatoes and lambs lettuce? Where does that leave crab apples?

We’re not entirely sure all MEP’s understood the debate, with Molly Scott Cato, MEP for South West of England and Gibraltar (?), stating “I think this could unlock a lot of creativity. My personal favourite is nomato soup, which is a tomato-tasting soup made of peppers.”

This Saturday sees the annual visit of the Grand National at 17.15. It seems to us to be getting later and later, time was you could pop out for a pint and lunch, put a bet on, go home watch the race with Gran, then pop back to the bookies to pick up Gran’s winnings for her before they shut. These they days they’re on the point of introducing floodlights! Anyway, we’ve had a look at the runners if you’re interested? Wayne has had a flutter on Vintage Clouds as that’s where he keeps his head most of the time.

Alex meanwhile has been much more studious on the form and chosen Jury Duty and Valseur Lido, though possibly the latter just because he has the hots for Rachael Blackmore after she won him some money at 50-1 at Cheltenham!

You may recall a few weeks ago we mentioned in passing that Constellation was looking to offload some of its lower valued brands to concentrate on the more premium end of its portfolio. E J Gallo has spent $1.7 billion on a chunk of them (including Paul Masson!). You heard it here first.

Tasting This Weekend

Continuing or record of tasting recent listings the white this week will be Tenute Pieralisi Villaia Verdicchio Classico 2017 (£19.99).  This is the flagship wine from this producer.  The grapes are sourced from their most prized vineyard of Colle del Sole – situated right next to the winery. It has an open and expressive nose with aromas of apricot, orchard fruit, white flower and citrus. The palate has minerality and texture with ripe tropical notes of pineapple and stone fruit, underpinned by racy acidity and a touch of salinity.  Oh, and guess what, it’s vegan too, so it is a natural bedfellow for the veggie burger, whilst it still exists!

The red wine is less controversial, or perhaps more – they use egg whites in the fining process, the scoundrels. However don’t let that put you off the majesty of Bodegas Roda Sela 2015 (£22.49). 2015 was an almost perfect Mediterranean vintage here in Rioja and the blend has a bit more Garnacha than the previous vintage which gives us a lovely and juicy drop with fine tannins and an almost balsamic note from the French oak ageing.  It’s a serious wine for serious wine lovers or is it a fun drop for the jokers amongst us?  Probably both – come and decide for yourself!