Archive for May, 2019

Wallowing

Friday, May 17th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week finds us both wallowing in disappointment. As many of you know, we’re no strangers to a spot of nosebag and have been known, on occasion, to visit an establishment that might put a plate of something extremely tasty in front of us. But never, NEVER has anyone mistakenly given us a bottle of 2001 Le Pin. Neither of us has ever tasted any vintage of it, so that lucky diner at Hawksmoor in Manchester, who was the recipient of such a fortunate mix up, was lucky indeed.

Disappointment on hearing that an explorer breaking the record for the deepest ever sub dive down to 10,927 metres, in the Mariana Trench, found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers. He also found 4 new species of prawn – coming soon plastic wrapped to a supermarket fridge near you!

This Saturday sees Rugby League played at the Nou Camp in Barcelona for the first time, as Catalan Dragons host Wigan Warriors. Rumours that the expected crowd of 30 000 only warrants one turnstile being open, are possibly on the fake side of news.  Sadly for Wigan fans, The Boiler Club, Barcelona’s only Northern Soul night, seems to have closed down.

Thomas Cook seems to have had a bit of an oopsy daisy with £1.5 billion as Brexit curtails holiday plans, apparently. This commentator certainly has done no such thing and wonders if Airbnb and booking over the internet in general are not having a more disruptive effect than they’re getting credit for.

The Giro d’Italia is rolling on, nearly everyone has fallen off at least once and one of the favourites, Tom

Dumoulin, has headed home to recover from his injuries (in time for the Tour de France we suspect).  Mr Yates is still poised in the right place, we feel.

It would appear that Pret a Manger is proposing to take over fellow lunch chain Eat and turn them into vegetarian branches. We’ve already seen one headline suggesting “Eat to be gobbled up by Pret” and imagine it’s only a question of time before we see a headline suggesting they have “bitten off more than they could chew” or perhaps that the merger is a” bit hard to swallow”!

In Germany, a Munich based start-up, Lilium, has unveiled its prototype electric flying taxi. They claim it will be able to travel 186 miles in an hour and seat five people. They’ve successfully made the first flight and are now the first electronic jet to seek certification. Researching for this article revealed there are about 100 different electric aircraft projects on the go around the world, so watch this (air)space.

Winemaker Tasting – Domaine Treloar

Jonathan and Rachel Treloar own and run this small, vineyard and winery. Regarded by Jancis Robinson as the best in the Roussillon. They were also chosen as the Coup de Coeur (Favourite) Roussillon producer by La Revue du Vin de France, the country’s most influential wine magazine.

We’re really excited about this one, a couple of our most popular French wines come from this estate and we’re looking forward to welcoming Jonathan to the shop to meet you all.  So come along, taste his wine and ask those questions you’ve always wanted to ask a winemaker… here’s a list of the wines that we take from them – I suspect they will all be open to taste on the night!

WHITE

‘La Terre Promise’ 2016 – £18.49

This white is a lovely rich blend of Grenache Gris, Macabeu and Carignan Blanc. From 35-60 year old vines, it has a lovely quince and buttered toast character and is made with natural yeasts and minimal sulphur. Named after the Bruce Springsteen song ‘Promised Land’, this is a fine match for one of those Mediterranean fish dishes with garlic and tomato.

RED

‘Le Ciel Vide’ 2015 – £12.49

This unoaked red is made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan. It is the most approachable of their red wines with crunchy forest fruits and an earthy, smoky character that’d be great alongside a sausage, or three, with mash and onion gravy.

One Block Grenache 2015 – £13.99

Since we listed this it has rapidly become a firm favourite. Mostly Grenache (including the Catalan variant Lledoner Pelut) and a small splash of Carignan, this has lovely dark brambly fruit, a hint of cumin, leather and tobacco. Wayne loved it with some Merguez sausages and winemaker Jonathan suggest lamb chops.

Three Peaks 2016 – £14.99

Classy blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre and 20% Grenache.  A rich and spicy blend that spent 12 months in French barriques and shows lovely crushed forest fruit character, a touch of earthy minerality and maybe even a hint of leather.  Proper, old school Roussillon made by an Englishman, how good is that!

‘Le Secret’ 2013 – £17.99

This wine is nearly all Syrah, rich with lovely dark black fruits, quite blackcurranty even, and a lovely fresh elegance to it too.  Great with a smoky chargrilled steak, I reckon.  It’s not just us that rate them highly; previous vintages have featured in Decanter Magazine’s Best Syrah’s in the World under £25.

‘Motus’ 2015 – £18.49

80% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah 10% Grenache. A cracking wine this, a complex, almost autumnal aroma of stewed fruit, leather, roast coffee and mixed spice. The palate is an interesting combination of dark fruits, spicy tannins and an earthy minerality. A real wine-lovers wine, that Jonathan and Rachel suggest drinking with a duck breast in a wine and chocolate sauce.

‘Tahi’ 2011 – £25.99

Domaine Treloar’s icon wine. Tahi is the Maori word for “1”. It is made from the parcels of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre on Le Roubau, a rare limestone hillside, and aged for 12 months in French oak barriques. Then only the barrels which make the most harmonious combination are selected. There is toasty oak and roast coffee on the nose, perfectly balanced by the spicy fruit aromas. It is a very well balanced yet complex wine, which wine maker Jonathan suggests partner excellently with the steak recipes from Rick Stein’s “French Odyssey”.

SCHWEET

Muscat de Rivesaltes 2013 – £11.99

A Late-harvested, fortified sweet aperitif and/or dessert wine.  It has a beautiful floral aroma and a rich honeyed palate with dried fruits and nuts.  Treloar Muscat de Rivesaltes always aims to be less sugary and have more richness than others.

So, hopefully that has sufficiently tickled your tastebuds, just give us a call or email us and we’ll reserve you a space!

Thursday 27th June at 8pm –

DOMAINE TRELOAR WITH JONATHAN HESFORD – £20 per person

Wine School

A few of you have been asking us when we will next do our 6 week course.  The answer is after the summer holidays, most likely starting early October, on Wednesday evenings.  We expect to be able to confirm the dates very soon.

Late opening – Monday 20th May

We’ll be in town for a tasting on Monday but should be back by 4pm.

Tasting this Weekend

We thought we’d through you a curveball this week and open a brace of Malbec. Wearing the white hat will be Vicentin Blanc de Malbec 2017 (£22.50) from Lujan de Cuyo, a cracking white made from 100% Malbec grown at 1,000 metres highness, as some might say.

Sporting the red neckerchief will be Antonio Mas Single Vineyard Malbec 2016 (£16.49) from Tupungato. This is also 100% Malbec but grown at 1,300 metres.

That’s probably enough guff from us for this week, so sign up for Treloar, come taste a white Malbec and have a great weekend.

sebag and have been known, on occasion, to visit an establishment that might put a plate of something extremely tasty in front of us. But never, NEVER has anyone mistakenly given us a bottle of 2001 Le Pin. Neither of us has ever tasted any vintage of it, so that lucky diner at Hawksmoor in Manchester, who was the recipient of such a fortunate mix up, was lucky indeed.

Disappointment on hearing that an explorer breaking the record for the deepest ever sub dive down to 10,927 metres, in the Mariana Trench, found a plastic bag and sweet wrappers. He also found 4 new species of prawn – coming soon plastic wrapped to a supermarket fridge near you!

This Saturday sees Rugby League played at the Nou Camp in Barcelona for the first time, as Catalan Dragons host Wigan Warriors. Rumours that the expected crowd of 30 000 only warrants one turnstile being open, are possibly on the fake side of news.  Sadly for Wigan fans, The Boiler Club, Barcelona’s only Northern Soul night, seems to have closed down.

Thomas Cook seems to have had a bit of an oopsy daisy with £1.5 billion as Brexit curtails holiday plans, apparently. This commentator certainly has done no such thing and wonders if Airbnb and booking over the internet in general are not having a more disruptive effect than they’re getting credit for.

The Giro d’Italia is rolling on, nearly everyone has fallen off at least once and one of the favourites, Tom Dumoulin, has headed home to recover from his injuries (in time for the Tour de France we suspect).  Mr Yates is still poised in the right place, we feel.

It would appear that Pret a Manger is proposing to take over fellow lunch chain Eat and turn them into vegetarian branches. We’ve already seen one headline suggesting “Eat to be gobbled up by Pret” and imagine it’s only a question of time before we see a headline suggesting they have “bitten off more than they could chew” or perhaps that the merger is a” bit hard to swallow”!

In Germany, a Munich based start-up, Lilium, has unveiled its prototype electric flying taxi. They claim it will be able to travel 186 miles in an hour and seat five people. They’ve successfully made the first flight and are now the first electronic jet to seek certification. Researching for this article revealed there are about 100 different electric aircraft projects on the go around the world, so watch this (air)space.

Winemaker Tasting – Domaine Treloar

Jonathan and Rachel Treloar own and run this small, vineyard and winery. Regarded by Jancis Robinson as the best in the Roussillon. They were also chosen as the Coup de Coeur (Favourite) Roussillon producer by La Revue du Vin de France, the country’s most influential wine magazine.

We’re really excited about this one, a couple of our most popular French wines come from this estate and we’re looking forward to welcoming Jonathan to the shop to meet you all.  So come along, taste his wine and ask those questions you’ve always wanted to ask a winemaker… here’s a list of the wines that we take from them – I suspect they will all be open to taste on the night!

WHITE

‘La Terre Promise’ 2016 – £18.49

This white is a lovely rich blend of Grenache Gris, Macabeu and Carignan Blanc from our chums Jonathan and Rachel at Domaine Treloar. From 35-60 year old vines, it has a lovely quince and buttered toast character and is made with natural yeasts and minimal sulphur. Named after the Bruce Springsteen song ‘Promised Land’, this is a fine match for one of those Mediterranean fish dishes with garlic and tomato.

RED

‘Le Ciel Vide’ 2015 – £12.49

Domaine Treloar is a small, high-quality wine producing estate in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France, owned and operated by Englishman Jonathan Hesford and his Kiwi wife, Rachel Treloar.  This unoaked red is made from Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignan. It is the most approachable of their red wines with crunchy forest fruits and an earthy, smoky character that’d be great alongside a sausage, or three, with mash and onion gravy.

One Block Grenache 2015 – £13.99

Since we listed this it has rapidly become a firm favourite. Mostly Grenache (including the Catalan variant Lledoner Pelut) and a small splash of Carignan, this has lovely dark brambly fruit, a hint of cumin, leather and tobacco. Wayne loved it with some Merguez sausages and winemaker Jonathan suggest lamb chops.

Three Peaks 2016 – £14.99

Classy blend of 50% Syrah, 30% Mourvèdre and 20% Grenache from Englishman Jonathon Hesford’s Domaine Treloar.  A rich and spicy blend that spent 12 months in French barriques and shows lovely crushed forest fruit character, a touch of earthy minerality and maybe even a hint of leather.  Proper, old school Roussillon made by an Englishman, how good is that!

‘Le Secret’ 2013 – £17.99

This wine is nearly all Syrah, rich with lovely dark black fruits, quite blackcurranty even, and a lovely fresh elegance to it too.  Great with a smoky chargrilled steak, I reckon.  It’s not just us that rate them highly; previous vintages have featured in Decanter Magazine’s Best Syrah’s in the World under £25.

‘Motus’ 2015 – £18.49

80% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah 10% Grenache. A cracking wine this, a complex, almost autumnal aroma of stewed fruit, leather, roast coffee and mixed spice. The palate is an interesting combination of dark fruits, spicy tannins and an earthy minerality. A real wine-lovers wine, that Jonathan and Rachel suggest drinking with a duck breast in a wine and chocolate sauce.

‘Tahi’ 2011 – £25.99

Domaine Treloar’s icon wine. Tahi is the Maori word for “1”. It is made from the parcels of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre on Le Roubau, a rare limestone hillside, and aged for 12 months in French oak barriques. Then only the barrels which make the most harmonious combination are selected. There is toasty oak and roast coffee on the nose, perfectly balanced by the spicy fruit aromas. It is a very well balanced yet complex wine, which wine maker Jonathan suggests partner excellently with the steak recipes from Rick Stein’s “French Odyssey”.

SCHWEET

Muscat de Rivesaltes 2013 – £11.99

A Late-harvested, fortified sweet aperitif and/or dessert wine.  It has a beautiful floral aroma and a rich honeyed palate with dried fruits and nuts.  Treloar Muscat de Rivesaltes always aims to be less sugary and have more richness than others.

So, hopefully that has sufficiently tickled your tastebuds, just give us a call or email us and we’ll reserve you a space!

Thursday 27th June at 8pm –

DOMAINE TRELOAR WITH JONATHAN HESFORD – £20 per person

Wine School

A few of you have been asking us when we will next do our 6 week course.  The answer is after the summer holidays, most likely starting early October, on Wednesday evenings.  We expect to be able to confirm the dates very soon.

Late opening – Monday 20th May

We’ll be in town for a tasting on Monday but should be back by 4pm.

Tasting this Weekend

We thought we’d through you a curveball this week and open a brace of Malbec. Wearing the white hat will be Vicentin Blanc de Malbec 2017 (£22.50) from Lujan de Cuyo, a cracking white made from 100% Malbec grown at 1,000 metres highness, as some might say.

Sporting the red neckerchief will be Antonio Mas Single Vineyard Malbec 2016 (£16.49) from Tupungato. This is also 100% Malbec but grown at 1,300 metres.

That’s probably enough guff from us for this week, so sign up for Treloar, come taste a white Malbec and have a great weekend.

A week of firsts…

Friday, May 10th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

After last week’s email being all about learning life lessons, it seems this week has been all about firsts.

We have the Fresh Prince of Berkshire, the first royal to be named after the Queen’s favourite Beatle, or Charles’ favourite Star Wars actor, or William’s favourite agricultural machinery supplier in Cambridge, you choose.

We have two English teams in the Champions League Final, certainly not a first for Liverpool but definitely for Spurs – perhaps, in a few weeks, it’ll be the first time Liverpool lose to a debutant?!

We have two English teams in the Europa League Final too – the first time two English teams have faced each other in the Finals since Tottenham beat Wolves in 1972 – with these stats, I predict a London club lifting the trophy on 29th May….

It’s the first time the UK has gone more than a week without using any electricity produced by coal – no mean feat and quite exciting in fact.  Wind energy provided 10% of the power, anyone who ventured outside last weekend will not find that surprising, solar around about 5%, again no surprises.  The one potential parade raining moment might come from the 10% of ‘imported energy’.  Where does this come from and how is it produced?  A little research shows it to be from France, the Netherlands, Eire and NI.  France is largely nuclear but I fear that the other three have a heavier lean towards fossil fuels – let’s hope the bits we got were wind generated shall we.

The BBC achieved a first of some sort, not quite sure how to describe it beyond the fact that it just goes to show the state of the news arena nowadays.  Danny Baker tweeted that tweet.  The BBC reported his apology.  They then, more eagerly reported his sacking, from the BBC.  Since then, they have constantly had a Danny Baker story in their headlines.  I don’t know, for someone they sacked, they seem very keen to keep him on the front-page, far more so than many other new outlets.  As I said, a first of some sort not sure exactly what but not a good one.

Since our cycling correspondent is halfway through a beer/hillclimb in Mallorca right now, it seems it’s up to  me, for the first time, to remind you all that the Giro d’Italia starts tomorrow and pedals on until 2nd June.  It also means that, for the first time, I have to divine who might win without any help from Dr Dave, Will or Guy – who are all clad in Lycra somewhere too, no doubt.  Anyway, having consulted the pinstickers in the pub I’ve gone with Simon Yates, as my main man, and Robert Power at 2500/1 because I believe in nominative determinism…

Another, more local, first comes to mind.

ROSÉ WINE TASTING – £25 – THURSDAY 13TH JUNE AT 8PM

Picture the scene, a barmy evening in mid-June.  You’ve just googled ‘air conditioning’ because, perhaps, it might be worth investing this year if summers are going to continue to be so hot and standing by the open doored fridge is not the most sustainable method of keeping cool. 

‘Gosh, I fancy a glass of wine and I think this weather demands a nice glass of rosé…’

Well, how about going one better than that – how about coming to our rosé tasting?  We’ll be opening a Champagne, a Cremant, some Provence and others beside for your delectation and delight.

We last held an event like this in 2015 that sold out overnight so we thought it was high time we did another one. 

This one hasn’t sold out overnight though, in fact is largely unsold, which is a surprising first!

So, if you fancy getting some pals together it should be a fantastic evening!

On the tasting table this weekend

One old friend and one making a first appearance.

Barton Chenin Blanc 2015, Walker Bay, South Africa – £11.29 – Walker Bay is considered to be an area with exciting potential: the region has varying altitudes and ideal soils that help produce some world class, elegant wines.  This Chenin has a lean, green apple and white pear nose whilst the palate has a full, rounded mouth-feel, still with the apple and pear but also some hints of spice and lingering acidity.  Peri peri prawns and a cucumber salad, I reckon, if the weather is summery enough!

Sierra Grande Pinot Noir 2017, Valle Central, Chile – £8.99 – A delicate and elegant Pinot Noir showing ripe fruit flavours of plums and wild strawberries, balanced with subtle smoky notes and a deliciously lingering finish.  Very pleasurable on its own mainly due to the winemakers lightness of touch.

So, that’s it from us this week, do try and stay dry – on the outside at least!

Wayne & Alex d

Life Lessons

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This week has been all about learning life lessons.  

Jurgen Klopp discovered that playing attacking football against Barcelona has its risks. After only 18 years in the wine trade Wayne learnt that the bottle wrapping paper has a shiny side and a dull side! Alex has learnt that muscles pulled in the gym may affect the effectiveness of his golf swing.

Also, one of our number discovered that playing football in your long trousers can lead to separated seams. Apparently dark trousers and coloured underwear make for a slightly self-conscious train journey.  We’re not sure if the take home here is co-ordinate trousers and underwear colours, or wear suitable sporting equipment.

Despite local election drubbings, and with European elections in a couple of weeks, not much seems to have been learned on either side of the house in Westminster. The Cabinet appears to still be in fiascos of their own making, as does Jeremy Corbyn with all his Brexit and anti- Semitism contradictions. On the bright side, a YouGov/Cambridge Globalisation study found that British people are more persuaded of the benefits of immigration than any other major European nation.

We have some unexpected news from Suffolk too. Suffolk is a place close to our hearts, we both have chums who live or have lived in the county, and Wayne spent a good number of summers as a child fishing in the broads, or swimming in the Lido at Beccles. Imagine our surprise when reading a Kings College and University of Suffolk environmental study which found all the shrimps at 15 locations in Suffolk tested positive for cocaine and many for ketamine too! Has Suffolk become the centre of rave culture for sea life perhaps? Has there been some cricket pre-season training going on?  The report was described as “surprising”.

We’ve also heard from one of our roving correspondents, this time from Switzerland. It appears that bathing in champagne is really rather yesterday’s news in that locale, everyone is showering in Chardonnay these days. He wonders if we shouldn’t be starting a cosmetic arm to the business, perhaps we should investigate.

On the musical front, Wayne suggests that jazz fans may want to check out BBC4 tonight as they’ll be broadcasting an homage to Jazz 625. Shirley Tetteh, Joshua Redman, Gregory Porter and Charlie Watts are all lined up to appear in the programme shot in black and white.

On the wine front our fizzy pink has landed. Domaine de Landreau Cremant de Loire Rosé Brut NV (£15.99) is in the fridge, on the floor stack, and also in the 6 for the price of 5 fizz deal!

Beer drinkers might be interested in the arrival of Belleville Brewery Spring Break Sour (£2.50) which is a seasonal and frankly scrumptious Grapefruit Sour. Grab some while it lasts or else Wayne is threatening to drink it all.

Tasting This Weekend

A Bank Holiday weekend ahead of us might involve some barbecue, but again it might not. We have chosen a couple of South African wines for tasting, as they’ll certainly work if you do decide to cook outside.

Alex has put some Meerlust Red 2014 (£14.49) in the eto to see how it shapes up, so that’ll be sporting the red shorts. We certainly find these Bordeaux blends from sunnier climes are perfect with grilled meats, what do you think?

Wearing the white shorts will be De Wetshof Estate Bon Vallon Chardonnay 2017 (£13.49) revel in its unoaked charm, its balance of fruit and lees character, perfect with your Sunday roast or as an aperitif whilst the coals warm up on the barbie…

Lastly, as it’s a Bank Holiday Weekend we will close at 6pm on Saturday and be closed on Monday.

Chewie, may the 4th be with you!

Wayne & Alex