Archive for October, 2019

A mullet as a mascot – have we just time-travelled?

Friday, October 25th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well, we’ve had quite a week haven’t we? Whilst some of us snuck off for some strolling in national parks, or sub-tropical swimming at Centre Parcs, our hardworking devoted MP’s not only worked on a Saturday but they also managed to pass a Brexit deal.  Incredible as that may sound, no timetable for the debate can be agreed upon, and so it is suspended.  The EU are suggesting a flextension till probably the end of January which we think will come in handy for plugging in the Christmas lights.

It looks like Boris has no confidence in himself and is angling for a General Election on December 12th. This is bound to interfere with not only the Departmental Christmas parties that the Ministry of Fun has been planning all year but, more crucially, the new Star Wars film due out on the 19th. Have you seen the trailer? Looks great – Rey, Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker all show up. It even suggests a possible good bye to C-3PO; I doubt there’ll be a dry eye in the house. I have to admit to getting a little excited and will be asking Alex for an afternoon off to watch it.

Of course, by the time you read this it will all have changed again anyway (the politics I mean, not Star Wars, do keep up!)

Rugby World Cup semi-finals are this weekend and this commentator thinks both games are too close to call. England have just named their squad and it seems Slade is out, Ford is in and hoping to drive the All-Blacks to the airport, whilst Farrell is happy to be in centre. Meanwhile the fact that a mullet haircut has come to be some kind of mascot tells us all we need to know about New Zealand. That’s breakfast in front of the TV for Saturday covered, whilst Sunday we have Wales and South Africa to interrupt the sausage sandwich. Probably I misunderstood, but I will admit to being concerned when it looked like Wales may call up Prince Charles.

Spurs seemed to have recovered their mojo this week in Europe at least, which is more than can be said for Southend United who celebrated Sol Campbell becoming manager by losing 1-7 at home to Doncaster. It’s a sorry state of affairs at the bottom of League One this season.

In wine news, wildfire is raging through Sonoma County in California at Geyserville just above the Alexander Valley, whilst in Catalonia an entire winery and restaurant have been washed away by flooding. In France, fashion house Chanel has bought Provence rosé producer Domaine de L’Ile on the island of Porquerolles. Chanel also own Chateau Canon and Rauzan-Segla in Bordeaux and St Supéry in California – it’s not all about parfum it seems.

Dining Room

If you’re quick you may be able to bag a place for tonight’s pop up with Francesca. When I spoke to her at lunchtime yesterday there were a couple of places for this evening.

Cheese and Wine Tastings

Thursday 7th November at 8pm – Just a couple of spaces left – £20 per person

Thursday 28th November at 8pm – Four places left – £20 per person

Tasting This Weekend

On the white front, we’ll go with Arena Negra Chardonnay (£8.29). From Chile’s Central Valley this inexpensive delight is soft and fruity and just the right sort of weight and fruit flavours to go with that roast squash or pumpkin that’s for dinner.

The red corner we will be standing Flametree Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (£19.99) up for your inspection. It’s a cracking Bordeaux blend from Margaret River made by Cliff Royle, one of the regions finest proponents. Apart from that, Wayne just fancied it!

Lastly for all of you with children studying German, we learn that the word for “Withdrawal Agreement Bill” is Austrittsvertragsratifizierungsgesetzentwurf….

Perhaps run that past them if you’re helping with the homework.


Play Nicely

Friday, October 18th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

And so we bumble on and I think once again we have more questions than answers

Many weeks have passed since there was much frivolity to speak of in the media and now as the mornings get darker and the evenings start earlier it does feel like we are slowly moving towards something but god only knows what and he’s taken the last train for the coast…  

Will Canning Town be the moment that Extinction Rebellion misjudged the focus of their protests and actually lost some support by mucking up people’s early morning commute?  Or has it served to make their message clearer – it may be inconvenient but something needs to be done now, not later?  Not sure the tube, that can carry best part of 5 million people per day, was the most sensible target – perhaps the lorries chugging in from Tilbury on the eponymous flyover nearby would have been a better focus.

Will Wayne’s best buddy, Boris, get the deal he has agreed with Europe past the disruptors in parliament?  Less than 48 hours for the MP’s to thumb through the legal jargon before their Saturday detention when they will have to discuss it all and ideally come to an agreement – and then, as always happens when you cram, they’ll have forgotten everything by Monday and start all over again.

Will Trump or Erdogan win Man of the Year?

In a world where you can now unlock your BMW with your phone, should we be worried that anyone’s thumbprint can unlock the Samsung S10 or that the Pixel 4 Face Unlock works when your eyes are shut?  Perhaps test your tech before you release it, chaps?

Video Games by Lana del Rey wins song of the DECADE at the Q awards?

250 tubes of Prosecco and Pink Peppercorn Pringles, that were a Christmas special here last year have been seized from a supermarket in the Veneto, northern Italy, home to the infamous sparkling wine.  There are strict laws in place preventing the use of the word Prosecco for anything other than the local wine and thus they are suitably up in arms about this as they feel it breaks these protective laws.  I think they’re right.  It was a crime against wine, a crime against crisps and the pink peppercorns should feel ashamed of themselves from getting involved with such a cheap publicity stunt.  Above all though, why wouldn’t you want to eat something containing ‘polvere di Prosecco’ or Prosecco powder to you and I?

Has Owen Farrell picked the right team to beat Australia?  Sorry, did I say Owen Farrell, silly me, I meant Eddie Jones.  Anyway, I’m sure dropping Ford won’t come back to bite us.  Farrell getting red carded for a no arm tackle and us being down to 14 men, now that’s what’s going to really hurt.  Then we’ve got Ireland against New Zealand straight afterwards so we might all need a stiff drink by 2pm on Saturday.  Sunday brings us confirmation that there will definitely be one Northern Hemisphere team in the semi-finals as Wales and France lock horns and then Japan meet their world cup rabbit, South Africa.

Imagine England, Ireland, Wales and Japan in the semis?  269-4 are the odds of this four-cast, should you fancy.

I think I mentioned needing a drink by 2pm on Saturday a moment ago however, I suspect some of us may need a libation before that.  We all drank rather a lot of the fine wines from Domaine Treloar last night courtesy of Rachel, Lady Treloar, so I think we might avoid the southern reaches of France for now.

Instead, we’ll open a white from the DO Ribeira Sacra in Galicia. 

Alma Larga Godello 2017 – £16.99 is from precipitous vineyards overlooking the river Sil in Ribeira Sacra.  The terraced vineyards here are really steep and contain vines even older than Wayne and, much like him, less productive over time!  The significance is that older vines produce better quality grapes as evidenced here, rich with citrus orchard notes, a touch of mineral and a lovely long finish – of course, Wayne produces better quality work, as evidenced every day!

And the red will be the Familia Cecchin Carignan 2017 – £13.99.  This is a bit off the beaten track in a way, a slightly unfashionable French grape variety surfacing in Mendoza.  What we have is a bit of old vine Carignan, organically farmed and utilising minimal sulphur.  The wine itself is packed full with red cherry fruit flavours with a little wood spice and leathery note.   Layered and complex, this is a wine that really delivers and for those interested in such things, it is both organic and vegan – ticks all round!

So that’s about it for us – let’s all play nicely and stay calm, we’ve  got a tricky few days ahead of us and that’s before we add half term into the equation!


Ninjas, Cunning Plans and Cheesy Fun

Friday, October 11th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

A story that caught our attention this week and put a good feeling in our bellies.

Eimi Haga got full marks for an essay she handed into her professor entirely written in invisible ink. She was studying Ninjas and to write up her essay on a trip to the Ninja Museum of Igaryu, she used an ancient Ninja technique called aburidashi. You make the invisible ink by soaking soybeans overnight then crushing them and squeezing out the juice. I suspect what really caught our attention was that you can go to University to study Ninjas. We might save the invisible ink recipe for a Weekly Wine in the future.

Whilst we’re on the subject of invisibility and espionage it seems Colleen Rooney has been up to mischief trying to find out who has been leaking stories about her to the press. The story is too dull and attention seeking to go into here but headline writers have run amok. It even made it onto Peston which I had believed to be a political comment show. Wagatha Christie indeed!

Internationally, Trumpolina has again out fooled his advisers, this time withdrawing US troops from Northern Syria and abandoning their Kurdish allies. Ergon Dunit surprised nobody by immediately invading, killing civilian Kurds in the process of fighting those self-same allies.  Impeachment meanwhile is moving closer with even a poll on Fox News stating that 51% of the population wish to see him removed from office.

Closer to home a much talked about deadline approaches with what seems like indecent haste. For those who have not kept up, Boris Johnson is Prime Minister, he prorogued Parliament, which turned out to be naughty, so everyone came back to Westminster and shouted. The Speaker lost his voice (dereliction of duty surely?). A slightly amended deal was put to the EU with customs checks conducted in a shed down the road from the Irish border with some bathroom scales and a tape measure for accuracy. The EU sniggered and is thinking about it. Meanwhile, Boris and Leo have met up in the Wirral for a pint and a chat about the possibility of having either two sheds, or just an honesty shed with a camera. Funnily enough, where they held their meeting was where Coleen Rooney had her 21st  birthday party!

Sources have leaked to us what we think might be a Dominic cunning plan…

  • Boris triggers a vote of no confidence in himself, triggering a coalition of national unity.
  • Given that the opposition agree that the only thing worse than a no deal Brexit and you as Prime Minister is having to work together, this would probably trigger a general election.
  • To wipe out short shouty man, and not split the Tory party would be a bit tricky.
  • How about a referendum on the ways and wherefores of leaving or not:  “We your humble servants are incapable of finding a way through the impasse”.
  • One can then campaign to Leave to keep short shouty man on board, but obviously not enthusiastically enough to win.
  • The referendum lost, we’d expect the EU to be so happy we’re not leaving that they’ll revoke Article 50 and have a party.
  • Then you can call a general election, win handsomely as all the opposition parties are in disarray at the audacity of it all.
  • Victory speech “As you were ladies and gentleman sorry about a spot of timewasting the last three years.”  Then you’ll have plenty of time to swan around in an ill-fitting suit quoting Herodotus.

That’s enough theory from us. In booze news this week, we heard that Seedlip continue to roll out the Emperor’s Wardrobe with the launch of  Nogroni. If the name wasn’t enough to upset you, I can’t help but think it’s not even a new thing. Similarly flavoured Bitter Kas is an alcohol free bitter aperitif that’s been available for donkeys years, both Alex’s Dad and Wayne have been known to partake on many occasions.

Careful if you’re out drinking in Dorset…The son of a millionaire market owner, was refused service at the Sandbanks Yacht Club in Poole on 20 September reportedly visibly drunk. The guy then lifted his top, showed the bartender the handle of pistol tucked into the waistband of his trousers and told the him: “Don’t be a pussy, give me a drink.” He was arrested later at his home, but incredibly magistrates agreed to delay sentencing until 4 December to allow this oik to head off on a month-long family holiday in the Caribbean.

Who knew Poole was so edgy?

Cheesy Fun

Thanks to everyone who joined us for last night’s cheese and wine tasting, an awesome evening was had. Thanks also to the fine folk at Beillevaire for the scrumptious cheese.

The next one is Thursday 7th November at 8pm. There are still a few places left at £20 per person.

Tasting This Weekend

It being National Curry Week we thought it would be remiss of us not to open a bottle of Munay Torrontes 2017 (£15.99). Crisp, dry and zesty fresh but with an aromatic profile that works really nicely with those spices.

On the red front we’re going to go with a Bordeaux. Chateau Grand Gamelle 2015 (£13.99) is an unoaked blend of 60% Merlot, 25 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Cabernet Franc with lots of plummy fruit. Whilst claret might not be the first thought when pairing with curry, my friend Harry and I both think the young fruity style goes down a storm with the more earthy Punjabi style curries and the Sri Lankan devilled dishes.

The rugby is blown off so there are no excuses not to drop in and say hi!

Before we know it we’ll be launched headlong into December festivities…

Friday, October 4th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well, his nibs has returned from his sunfilled sojourn abroad, looking bronzed and relaxed and catching the eye of the single ladies of Arthur Road (60+ category).  If I have to hear one more time how ‘this time last week I was wearing shorts and eating souvlaki in the sunshine’ or ‘why does it rain so much in your country?  When I was away I didn’t see a cloud for weeks’, I might just end up doing him a mischief!

Joking aside, it’s nice to have him back.  I can now pop out to the Coop for two minutes and get my lunch without running the risk of missing the delivery or courier that I have been waiting for since first thing; I can do local deliveries in the daylight rather than at 9pm and perhaps I might even get a day off – welcome back, Wayne, watch the shop whilst I pop out will you?!

Every year, with Wayne’s return, we hit a watershed in the Park Vintners calendar.  Up until his departure in mid-September there was still the occasional waft of barbecue in the air and memories of summer and bank holiday weekends filled with rosé induced siestas still remained fresh in the memory.  However, we’re now in October, it’s getting darker earlier, Rosé is turning into red and before we know it we’ll be launched headlong into December festivities.

With this in mind, whilst I’ve had a bit of peace and quiet, not content with listing the English bubbles from Hawkins’ Bros, I’ve been buying Champagne – to get the party started, if you will. 

First up, we see the return of the Champagne Thiénot Brut NV – £35.99.  This has been a regular guest on our shelves for the last few years and it’s great to see it back in its smart red livery.  Lots of bright fruit on the nose and palate and a touch of honey and nuts on the finish – quite a lot of wine for a NV style we reckon.

Then we have a couple of new additions.  First up we have Champagne Canard-Duchêne Cuvée Léonie Brut NV – £30.99.  Alex has long had a soft spot for Canard Duchêne, it being a fizz that often slides under many peoples’ radar whilst offering excellent quality and value.  A red grape heavy blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay this is a seductive and elegant drop with hints of floral, tropical fruits and a hint of pain d’épices.  The palate continues this theme and finishes with a lovely, lingering freshness.

And finally, as a replacement to the Moutard Rosé which seems to have been dropped by our supplier we have decided to have as a guest the Champagne Lallier Grand Rosé Grand Cru Brut NV – £37.99.  A blend of 35% Chardonnay and 65% Pinot Noir what most appealed to us was the fact that it has crisp, fresh fruit, a gentle pink hue and a lovely soft mousse – very tasty.


Not sure if we’ve mentioned this before but always worth a repeat.  For the last year we have teamed up with Francesca who runs a twice monthly pop-up in Wimbledon Chase, providing wine to go with her delicious menus.  We’ll let her introduce herself: 

‘Where to begin? In the old days, before kids and endless responsibilities I used to work in restaurants – Alistair Littles, The River Cafe, Chez Pannis and Rick Steins to name but a few. And then I set up my own restaurants – The Cow Dining Room and The Vale to name a couple. Late nights, relentless hours, not much sleep, all work and not much play! But then kids came along and I knew that working nights and weekends was over. I found a day job which luckily enough was working for Riverford Organics for the last ten years. It has been great but somewhere deep inside I have always dreamt of doing my own thing again. The Dining Room is only very small, only the very start but like all good things, I hope that it will grow – like the kids did.’

Her next evenings are Friday 11th and Saturday 12th October and if you’re interested in learning more, the best approach would be via her website – – judging from all the reports back, you won’t be disappointed!


Quite purposefully we’ve been avoiding a look at the news this week because most of it just feels like groundhog day reporting but one snippet that did catch our eye was the fact that ITV are planning on building an ‘I’m A Celebrity….’ theme park in Salford Quays, famous for its rain, less famous for its tropical rainforest – squeeze the franchise ‘til the pips squeak lads!

DOMAINE TRELOAR – Thursday 17th October at 8pm – £20 per person

Three tickets left for this brilliant evening with Rachel Treloar from the eponymous wine estate.  She was with us in May and it’s certainly not an evening to be missed.  As a teaser, we’ll be tasting:


‘La Terre Promise’ 2016 – 50% Grenache Gris, 40% Macabeu, 10% Carignan Blanc


‘Le Ciel Vide’ 2015 – 70% Syrah, 30% Grenache

One Block Grenache 2015 – 70% Grenache, 30% Lledoner Pelut

Three Peaks 2016 – 39% Mourvèdre, 31% Grenache, 30% Syrah

‘Le Secret’ 2013 – 80% Syrah, 10% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre

‘Motus’ 2015 – 80% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah, 10% Grenache

‘Tahi’ 2011 – 60% Syrah, 25% Mourvèdre, 15% Grenache


Muscat de Rivesaltes 2013 – 100% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains


Wines will be open once more from 5pm today until close tomorrow and this week both come from Spain.

The white will be Val do Xuliana Albariño 2018 – £13.99 – a crisp, orchard fruited and gently mineral dazzler from Rias Baixas in the northwest, whilst the red will be a return to an old favourite, absent from our shelves for a couple of years now – Campos de Luz Garnacha 2017 – £10.49 – which is made from old vines in Cariñena up near Zaragoza and is a constant pleasure to drink.

So pop in and have taste, compliment Wayne’s tan and book up for Treloar – done!