Archive for September, 2019

Sitting on the truth/lie fence

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

As a knock on effect of the Queen’s decision to prorogue, the Friday email will be suspended for the next 5 weeks – there will be no debate on this and Wayne has already left for Europe.

Actually no.  That was a lie.  Or was it?  I’m not really sure what lying is now as the media seem to have a variety of definitions depending on political bent, the Scottish judges another definition, definitely not political, and your man Boris, well he has spent most of his career and personal life on the truth/lie fence.  So I will take the advice Wayne left in his note for me before he left with his one way ticket to Greece and what looked like the contents of the safe – trust nobody, Alex….

Anyway, in a fit of preparedness I am one of the people who has actually read the Yellowhammer document and, greatly enlivened by that experience and in a boxset frame of mind, went on to read about Operation Brock (currently suspended) and am awaiting my clearance to read Operation Redfold. Having read the synopsis and seen the trailer, I do hope we avoid Redfold.  Suffice to say, I am now an expert on base scenarios and remain unsurprised by the warnings that Yellowhammer contained since they are all topics that have been well discussed over time – slow border crossings, the new east Kent lorry park, delays, delays, delays – in truth, things that we are all very accustomed to dealing with!

But we’ve not left yet, the sun is shining and promises to do so over the weekend and the cricket no longer matters.  We ventured up to the Oval on Tuesday for a wine tasting and the pitch looked in tip top condition and frankly would have been amazing as a grand finale but the cricket no longer matters.  If we hadn’t concentrated on the World Cup, if Anderson hadn’t got injured, if Smith had stayed injured, if we’d been able to build unbeatable totals but no, Alex, the cricket no longer matters.

Because what matters now is the Rugby.  Thus time next week the first game (Japan v Russia I believe) of the 2019 World Cup will be coming to a conclusion and the fun will have begun.  Saturday will bring big victories for Fiji, Argentina and, for the first time ever, an incredible 0-0 tie in the last game of the day that sees both teams removed from the tournament…

Looking back, in 2011 we tipped France as potential finalists, in 2015 we thought England would beat Wales so frankly we are not really rugby tipsters.  New Zealand maybe?  There you go, that’s sunk their ship… and left it wide open for the surprise package of 2015 and the hospitable hosts – Japan, 80-1 to reach the final!

Before we get there though we must finish this week first and that always coincides with us opening a couple of bottles of wine.  As a gentlemanly salute to the Aussies, we’ll be opening some of their fine wines today.

In the cricket whites we find Flametree Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2017 – £16.99, a cracking drop made by our chum Cliff Royle, we’ve not discussed cricket with Cliff, but do know that he makes awesome wines –  this blend of 80% Sauvignon and 20% Semillon has cracking lychee, lime and stone fruit character and a real elegance to it.

And in the red lifeguard shorts Flametree Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2017 – £19.99, the first vintage in 2007 won the Jimmy Watson Trophy, and frankly the winery hasn’t looked back since! This is classically aromatic, showing cassis, violets and blackberry, balanced with notes of freshly dusted cocoa and dark chocolate; fresh in the mouth and, packed with dark fruits, bitter chocolate and subtle spicy French oak characters. Rumour has it there might be some barbecueing at the weekend. Brisket or burgers would be awesome!

Park Vintners Autumn Wine School is surreptitiously creeping up on us. Just about 3 weeks to go and there are a couple of places left if you fancy joining in the fun and improving your wine smarts!

6 Week Wine School – Wednesday 2nd October – Wednesday 13th November (half term 23rd October) – £150 per person

And with that we’re gone!


Back in the Game

Friday, September 6th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Finally they’ve gone back and that almost endless break is over. The seemingly continual fight over whose turn it was on the lilo, whose fault it was that the beach ball blew away and the almost magical way an ice-cream slides off the cone and onto your t-shirt  is but a memory.  Life can get back to normal with Mum and Dad cabs in action most weekends.

In the playground there has been a renewal of acquaintances, some teams have new captains but the game and its goals remain the same. The blue shirted team have a new Captain in Boris, who has been marching round the playground trying to get everyone to join in his game of British Bulldog whilst the previous Captain, Theresa, has been spotted giggling in the background. Several of his team including Stephen, Nicolas and Clarkey aren’t allowed to play any longer, so they have started a book club in the history room that already has 21 members.  His brother Jo is another non-player and has decided to leave school altogether.

The orange team have a new Captain too, confusingly also Jo, who seems to be rather good at recruiting people from other teams. The oranges are currently playing petanque over in the square and, although other games have not been ruled out, they’re not at all keen on Boris’s game of British Bulldog.

Despite many rumblings, the red team have stayed with their Captain Jeremy. He’s been keen the last few terms to ask all the kids what game they should play, but now Boris has said Bulldog will be much more fun if everyone does join in, he doesn’t seem so keen to do the canvassing. It seems the reds are just hanging around by the fence waiting for something else to happen.

The short, shouty chap from the other school is still keen for everyone to join his game of British Bulldog in the park, but so far everyone is keeping him at arm’s length.

Sajid has been made tuck shop monitor and is giving Haribo out everywhere, especially to friends of the oranges and reds and we think he might be trying to bribe them into playing British Bulldog with Boris and the rough boys. Never take sweeties from strangers kids!

Anyway enough talk about children, there is sport to discuss.  In the cricket The Ashes contest is well into the fourth test with Steve Smith still proving to be a thorn in the side of the England team at Old Trafford, not often I hope for rain but this is one occasion.

On the football front we have an international break for the European Qualifiers, but AFC will be in action away in Milton Keynes for the grudge match.

On the cycling front La Vuelta is living up to its slightly crazy race reputation. Helicopters covering the race have uncovered a rooftop marijuana plantation, the gravel section inserted for extra spectacle was lost to TV coverage because of a rain storm, and following Quintana winning a stage,  Roglic rode into the red jersey on the individual time trial.

Lastly, good luck to all the runners on the Bacchus Marathon at Denbies this Sunday. Sadly this year there will be no Park Vintners representative, but we know that everyone running will have a good time and the weather looks perfect.

Wine School  

We’ve just a couple of spaces now, so if you’re thinking about joining the fun do give us a shout.

Six Week Wine School –

Wednesday 2nd October – Wednesday 13th November (half term 23rd October) – £150 per person


Thursday 10th October at 8pm – WINE & CHEESE TASTING – £20

Thursday 17th October at 8pm –


Jonathan and Rachel Treloar own and run this small, highly-regarded vineyard and winery in the Roussillon, France’s most exciting wine region.

Thursday 7th November at 8pm – WINE & CHEESE TASTING – £20

Thursday 28th November at 8pm – WINE & CHEESE TASTING – £20

The greatest hits from all the tastings over 2019, just in time for Christmas!

Thursday 5th December at 8pm – CHRISTMAS BUBBLES TASTING  SOLD OUT

Tasting This Weekend

The Argentinians seem to have had a tough week or two at the office so we thought we’d taste some of their wines.

Pulenta Estate Chardonnay 2016, Mendoza, Argentina – £14.99

Pulenta Estate is located in Alto Agrelo, Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, one of the most prestigious winemaking areas in Argentina.  Its high altitude, at 980m, ensures a wide temperature range and a slow ripening of the grapes.  This Chardonnay has citrus and tropical fruit notes, gently underlined with vanilla from the oak, which is delicately balanced with both fruit and freshness.

Los Pueblos Classic Blend 2017, Mendoza, Argentina – £11.99

This is from Don Cristobel’s Finca Santa Maria, located at 935m altitude in Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo. A cracking blend of 50% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, this wine offers a fresh,  medium bodied loveliness with red and dark fruits and a soft juicy finish.

When I looked up my most recent tasting note it said “YES REMEMBER THIS!! WE MEANT TO ORDER” So now we have…

That’s us for this week, swing by for a taster, and take the opportunity to stock up the wine rack!