Archive for May, 2019

End Of May

Friday, May 31st, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

The writing was on the wall, it’s been a long time coming, still that doesn’t remove the element of surprise does it? Here we are at the end of May, and despite wanting to stay in place and get on with getting on, there is no longer any support for the position. Time to move on we cry, and have put in place a very convoluted selection progress to select the successor.  

We have had 11 applications for the position; we’ve also had to listen to all of their arguments. Between you and me, some of the arguments are very similar, and some are ridiculously far-fetched.  Nonetheless, we have written all their names on a piece of paper that we like to call a ballot.

The ballot paper has been circulated amongst all of the interested parties with the two most popular to go up in front of a very secretive committee. When the committee has decided the winner, our chum Malcolm who sits outside JJ Spoon in Tooting will light his clay pipe, and puff white smoke before declaring the winner.

Elsewhere, if proof were needed that you should resolutely ignore our sporting tips, the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey now looks like it’s for Richard Carapaz to lose, unless Vincenzo Nibali can “do a Froome” on Saturday’s  mahoosive day in the Dolomites. Our suggestion of Simon Yates looks unlikely to win, currently being 7 minutes off the pace. It’s been a brutal race and they all look a little tired if I’m honest.

The Cricket World Cup started yesterday at The Oval with England scoring first blood, defeating the South Africans by 104 runs, look out for Ben Stokes catch if you haven’t seen it. Today sees the West Indies and Pakistan putting willow to leather at Trent Bridge.

In other news Trumpolina is coming to visit next week. The Queen is super excited to be having him and his entire family round to Buck House for dinner. Can’t wait to hear how fabulous he is at building walls and where he is suddenly going to find all those rare earth minerals for next generation technology. She’s even got the builders in so he can’t stop over for breakfast!

Now I don’t know about you, but I saw him on TV yesterday and his hair looks yellower than ever. It has that weird fluorescence yellow colour that a glass of Red Bull has. Maybe he’s colouring it with Red Bull for a bit of extra lift?

Ooh hold on, we’ve just seen white smoke from Malcolm’s clay pipe…. June is to succeed May, as soon as tomorrow!

As it’s English Wine Week I thought I’d mention our two English Sparklers, we can offer them at 16.66% off 6 bottles. (That’s 6 for the price of 5 to you at the back)


Only released in November 2016 this blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir from Hampshire is truly delicious.  Rich strawberry notes wonderfully offset by some tart cranberry character.  Creamy texture and a clean crisp finish with some nice yeasty complexity too – really good!

Also it’s rather appropriate as it’s where the rules for the game of cricket as we know it were drawn up in the 18th century.


Handmade using organically grown grapes in Kent.  A crisp, fruit laden nose and a palate woven with finesse and elegance.  Hints of biscuitiness in the mid-palate are evidence of the length of time the wine sat on its lees.  A really well managed dash of acidity on the finish keeps the fruit and creaminess nicely balanced.

Cheese & Wine Tasting – Thursday 18th July at 8pm Still a few places for our last one before the autumn. As usual £20 saves your seat at the table.

Wine School – The next course is on Wednesday evenings (with a break between week 3 & 4 for half term) as follows:

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6
02/10/19 09/10/19 16/10/19 30/10/19 06/11/19 13/11/19

To book, call either Alex or Wayne on 020 8944 5224.

As usual £150 per person and payment reserves your place.

Tasting This Weekend

As I mentioned it’s English Wine Week this week, so we shall populate the white corner with New Hall Vineyard Bacchus 2018 – £14.49. A cracking, summery white with a lively elderflower character from some of the oldest Bacchus vines in the country, grown in an area originally planted by Romans’, not far from Chelmsford.

In the red corner, we’ll be aiming for some barbecuing given the weather I think, and what could be better with some barbecued lamb than a Rioja. We’ll go with Palacio Del Camino Real Crianza 2016 (£10.99) which we like with a butterflied leg, or else some koftes.

That’s it from us, drop in for a taste of Essex’s finest and have a great weekend!

I’ll drink to that!

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I’ll drink to that.  A sunny Thursday, just before the long weekend, can only make everybody happy and, by all accounts, thirsty.  Thirsty Thursday.   Whilst many of you enjoy Rosé all year round, for some of us it’s a seasonal treat and I think that yes, yesterday was the season opener!

I’ll drink to that.  Park Vintners voted best high street retailer, forever.  Ok, not entirely true, in fact not true at all but, with the persistent demise of ‘big’ high street names, never say never – give it a few years we might be the last men standing.   First up this week was the Jamie Oliver business.  In many respects not a great surprise, as the writing seems to have been on the wall for a couple of years now, quality of the food has slumped and if you ever get the chance to read Marina O’Loughlin’s review from September last year you’ll be amazed it lasted this long.  So that’s 22 empty sites on the street already.  And then we move onto Croydon’s favourite son, Philip Nigel Ross Green, who surely now must be stripped of his knighthood and who has had one hell of a good week.  He too is shutting stores and looking to re-negotiate rents on his current sites, never a good sign – that’ll be 200 of his stores closed in the last 3 years… Oh, and at the same time, judging from what Peter Hain revealed in the Lords yesterday, Mr Green’s £2 billion net worth might be taking a bit of a hit quite soon in the courts.  I’ll drink to that.

Oh, and whilst we’re drinking, is anyone else just a trifle bored of what’s going on in Westminster?  We’ve all been more engaged than ever with politics for the best part of the last three years, we’ve all learnt a lot more about the political machinations and taken a far more vested interest in what the politicians are doing ever since that vote.  Now, though, we (here at least) have had enough.  We are really struggling to keep our eyes open every time a new democratic procedure is suggested; struggling to like, or empathise with, any of the key protagonists and, ultimately, struggling to see anyone coming out as a winner in this process.  So Teresa is actually now going?  Has she mentally already left, do you think?  When she goes, is that the problem solved?  Who is that great white knight waiting in the wings – or is it just the same old overweight mop?  Oh, and seeing David Cameron sending supporting tweets just served as bitter reminder of where all this started.

Let’s all have a drink.

And yesterday, in a continuation of the bizarre times we live in, we voted in the European elections.  I don’t think I’ve ever been confronted with such a long list of options to vote for and certainly a lot of ‘independents’ who I had never, ever heard of and, I have to confess, didn’t get a second glance.  In the booths you could see people standing there with the paper trailing down to the floor, putting their ‘X’ nearer the top and ignoring the bottom half – where does all the lost deposit money go to we wonder?  Europe?  How does that fit with the current situation?

And there’s not even any sport really to distract us.  Wayne is on his bike to Baku with 6,000 spare tickets, should you wish to make him an offer.  The Cricket World Cup is yet to start and the kerfuffle over a man born abroad but with a British passport and an English parent being picked ahead of other players has died down – let’s face it Eoin Morgan is the simply the lead that Jofra is following.  The Giro d’Italia, with Simon Yates almost 8 minutes off the pace, has been less of a viewing fixture here this year and all that means really is that Alex has been doing far more work with less distraction – I’ll drink to that.

Upcoming tastings – update

It seems we caught you all in receptive mood last week as the Treloar tasting on 27th June is now completely sold out.

We still have 4 spaces left on the Rosé tasting on Thursday 13th June – £25 per person.

We have 8 spaces left on our 72nd Wine & Cheese tasting on 18th July – £20 per person.

Further ahead, we still have plenty of space on our next Domaine Treloar tasting on Thursday 17th October but that might be a bit far into the future for most of us.

Wine School

Whilst we are looking into the future though, it’s worth me pointing out that we now have the autumn dates for our wine course – full details are attached but, in a nutshell, this is a six week, tasting focused course, with the purpose of getting you to try new wines and revisit old wines that perhaps you’d given up on. 

We’ll open about 60 wines over the duration, so at the very least your tastebuds should be tantalised.  Plus, you’ll be all educated and suchlike just before the Christmas party season kicks in and you’ll be able to impress your boss when you explain exactly how Champagne is made and why it’s so much better than Prosecco – we should all drink to that!

Wine School

Wednesday 2nd October – Wednesday 13th November (no class on 23rd October due to half term)

£150 per person – first come, first served!

Weekend wine drinking

As ever, we’ll endeavour to put something tasty in your glass this weekend and as a result we will be opening:

Sameirás Blanco 2017 – £17.49 – which is made from 5 grapes that just trip off the tongue – Treixadura, Albariño, Godello, Lado, Loureiro – but that are all indigenous to the Northwest of the Iberian peninsula.  A really quite exotic pineapple and nectarine nose with touches of mandarin and similar orange fruits on the palate followed by a beautiful dry/savoury finish with hints of pithy acidity as it fades – monkfish tail sautéed in butter with some steamed green leaves would rock here!

Domaine des Mailloches Bourgueil 2017 – £13.49 – which is a light red made from Cabernet Franc in the Loire valley.  This style of wine is one of life’s great joys and we have doubtlessly bored you all rigid about this before so no need to bore you again.  Lovely, juicy fruit and fine tannins, could be chilled if the weather suits, I’ll drink to that!

And with that we’re gone – in fact, it’s worth noting that as of 6pm tomorrow we will be gone until Tuesday morning, so, if we don’t see you, have a bonne weekend and stay hydrated, as I think I might have suggested more than once…..


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!


‘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.


‘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”.


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 –


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.


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!