Archive for November, 2019

Christmas Spiced Gin, Happy Birthday

Friday, November 29th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Wey hey here we are, happy Friday to you all. Nothing in the news much to write about in the UK, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has declared that nobodies numbers add up, but is anyone surprised? With two weeks still to go till the election we’re expecting the promise of pet Unicorns for all children and free glitter to feed them with. Not to mention shorter working hours, free bicycles and more sunshine. However we digress….

Park Vintners is celebrating a birthday this weekend, we are nine years old now, halfway to being old enough to have a drink! It seems a long while ago that we opened with snow on the ground and a curious public wondering what had happened to turn that empty shop into a wine shop.  Now we’re not at all sure where the time has gone, it seems to have whizzed past us. We appear to have consumed rather a lot of cheese, with last night being our 75th Cheese & Wine tasting.  Between you and I that’s a lot of strange dreams we’ve had. Thanks to all of you have joined in the fun, more dates for 2020 to come.

As luck would have it our birthday once again ties in with the turning on of the Christmas lights at Christ the King at 4.15. The Mayor of Merton will be performing the ceremony and there will also be carol singing.  I suspect a taste of Foxdenton Christmas Spiced Gin (£20) might be just the ticket to revitalise those vocal chords.

A few of you have asked if we’ll be doing our Christmas cases this year. The answer is of course yes and we will bring them out next week. We’re just dotting eyes, crossing the t’s and making sure the wine is in the building.

Whilst I’m on the subject here are our opening hours for the season.














It is St Andrews day on Saturday too, I feel we can’t let it pass without mentioning that our annual allocation of Japanese Whisky seems to be leaving the building with a bit of a swagger in its step. There are of course some great whiskies from Scotland too, one I would mention is the Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish (£48) a stunning drop that has spent two years lazing around in barrels recently vacated by tip top super Tuscan wine Sassicaia (clue in the name perhaps).

Tasting This Weekend

We’ll start off the celebratory season with a soupçon of Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 (£29.99) a small producer we discovered earlier in the year, who is making great champagne.  A blend of Meunier, Pinot noir and Chardonnay it is just perfect for aperitiffing, partying and celebrations.

The white gloves will be sported by Pulenta Estate Pinot Gris (£13.99) a cracking example grown at 980m altitude in Agrelo, Mendoza it is crisp and dry with an almost Alsace like richness to it.

Sporting the red scarf will be Sylvain Dussort’s Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2016 (£20.99) a deliciously juicy Burgundy that might feature as an early call for the Christmas table, but if not definitely a wow with all the game birds that are in the butchers at the moment. Come in and see us, have a taste and we’ll take it from there.

Pulenta Estate

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Going to avoid politics this week, for the UK at least, which is easy because all sorts of fun and games have been going on away from Downing Street and Westminster.

Two sackings this week but only one appointment

To use his other nickname, Air Miles Andy was given the Spanish Archer by her Maj and not before time it would seem.  He doesn’t, drink, doesn’t smoke or do drugs but what he does do is no longer going to be suffered in silence by Elizabeth II.  Our first question was do we now get some of his travel money back?  Browsing through Wayne’s copy of Sovereign Grant Report 2018-19: Royal Travel Appendix we gulped at a couple of his trips last year:

The Duke of York – Scheduled Flight – 4th-6th April: London – Bahrain – London

Official FCO visit to Bahrain to open the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain and visits to British University of Bahrain and Fintech Bay.  Visit and attend Award Ceremony for Huddersfield University’s programme with Bahrain Ministry of Interior.


Scheduled Flight – 21st-22nd August & 9th-12th September: London – Budapest – London

Staff planning visit and staff advance trip.

The Duke of York – Charter – 10th-12th September: Farnborough – Budapest – Aberdeen

Official FCO visit to Hungary. Meetings with the President, Prime Minister of Hungary and Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Attend a British Community Reception at the Residence and Dinner with British and Hungarian business leaders.  Visits to Hungarian Academy of Science, National University of Public Service and an Inclusive /Paralympic sports training facility.


£38 grand – bearing in mind he was being wined and dined and probably provided a pillow and a bidet for the night, it seems an awful lot of money that we can now spend more usefully elsewhere, hopefully?  Oh no, it’s already been re-distributed apparently….

The other sacking also involves money but certainly not the saving of it.  Jose Mourinho has returned to football, replacing Mauricio Pochettino but for twice the price.  Bearing in mind that Daniel Levy spent a whole year not giving Poch any money to buy players, he clearly believes the special one’s hype – will he last the season?  They’ve not published the odds yet…

Other news

In other sport, the cricket started in New Zealand on Wednesday evening and boy did the weather look nice, everyone sitting on the grass, catching some rays, just minutes from the surf… a nice bit of chilly evening escapism, if you can get it!

Trump still faces impeachment, perhaps, and Netanyahu is being charged with corruption – two charmers who are probably overdue a day in court.

More locally we have had some very exciting wine news – I’ll leave it to Nina and Edu to explain:

The Pulenta Family is delighted to be sponsoring Wimbledon Hockey Club. 

We feel that we share many of the traits that have made the club so successful over the years: dedication, hard work, no little skill and perhaps most of all, loving what we do.

We are a family owned winery with vineyards in Mendoza, Argentina and we have been making top quality wines since 1912. 

We plan to hold a number of tastings and events during the season to give you an opportunity to taste and enjoy our wines.  Look out for news!

And now the exciting bit:

In the meantime, we have partnered with our friends Wayne and Alex who run Park Vintners in Wimbledon Park to offer all members and friends of Wimbledon Hockey Club a 10% discount on our wines for the duration of the 2019/20 season.

You can email them, call 020 8944 5224 or pop in to their shop on Arthur Road, Wimbledon Park.

Have a great season!

Nina & Edu Pulenta

As I said, very exciting.  If you’re a member of the mighty Wimbledon Hockey Club then you already know about this and can participate (not you Joe, you’re only 15) but even if you’re not a member you can benefit from the fact that we now have the majority of the Pulenta range in stock:


Estate Pinot Gris 2017 – £13.99

Estate Chardonnay 2016/18 – £14.99


La Flor Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 – £15.69

La Flor Malbec 2018 – £15.69

Estate Malbec 2016 – £22.99

Gran Malbec 2015 – £36.99

Gran Corte 2016 – £37.99

And they’re all blooming delicious, come and see for yourself!

Final Wine & Cheese Tasting for 2019

That probably says it all.  It’s the best four cheeses from the year, the best wines from the year – who will be pronounced the Homecoming King & Queen for 2019 we wonder?  7 of you will definitely find out but we do have space for 5 more of you – come on, you know you want to be a part of history in the making!

Thursday 28th November – 8pm – £20 per person – call us on 020 8944 5224 or respond to this email.  Or go old school and pop your head round the door!

One week to go…

Next Thursday, the USA and its citizens around  the world celebrate the annual day of Thanksgiving.  Better known as Black Friday Eve, this day is commonly celebrated with family gatherings, turkey cooking and over consumption of sweet and sticky things – very similar in fact to the traditional Boxing Day Sales Eve that we commonly celebrate here on December 25th.

Anyway, historically Black Friday Eve has also involved the consumption of wine, notably wine from America and with this in mind we have decided to open a couple of our new listings from the Vina Robles winery in Paso Robles, California.

How a civil engineer from Zurich ended up with a wine estate in California is a story for another time I think… In the white top hat we have his 2018 Viognier – £19.99.  This Viognier is planted in the highest part of the Huerhuero Vineyard benefitting from the cooling afternoon pacific breeze.  Crisp and medium-bodied with peach and mandarin fruit with a long lively finish – really rather fabulous.

In the red stripy trousers we have the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – £24.99.  Classic Cali Cab Sauv – full bodied with cassis and black cherry fruits, ripe textured tannins and a touch of anise and chocolate in the finish – a delight!

That’s it for us pretty much – Christ the King have their annual Christmas fair this weekend so do pop in and see us on the way there or back!

Bon Weekend!

It’s that time of year…

Friday, November 15th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Panto season or, if you prefer, election fever seems to be upon us this week.  Despite everyone knowing the first rule of Fight Club, all shapes and sizes of politicos have donned boxing gloves to show just how tough their message really is.

We’ve had Boris give photo editors everywhere a real conundrum by wielding a mop; elsewhere, despite dishing out taxpayers cash like Father Christmas, Jeremy Corbyn has sent back the red suit and passed up his seasonal work due to calendar conflicts. Nicola Sturgeon categorically denies playing the part of Excitable Edgar in the John Lewis advert and Jo Swinson insists she is perfect for the part of Girly Swot.

The chief beneficiary of the ‘anything you can spend, I can spend better’ song appears to be the NHS, with at least £6 billion coming their way, allegedly.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the enquiry has put on its smart shirt and gone public. Demonstrating a firm grasp of proceedings Trumpolina has tweeted that he will resist any moves to make him eat peaches.

In heart-warming news from North Carolina, three cows thought washed away from an island by a hurricane, have appeared at the Cape Lookout National Seashore Park. It seems the three stranded cows swam up to five miles to make it to the Outer Banks barrier islands. Swimming cows, who knew?

In wine news, thieves broke into the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest at 3.38 am on Monday and stole 80 bottles of wine worth an alleged £65,000. Police say to be on the lookout for ‘high quality wine offered at low prices’. No s*** Sherlock! Try the ‘new’ house red in all the local pubs immediately says Alex, who knows much about country ways.

Meanwhile, here at Park Vintners, Wednesday’s chilly evening saw a dozen people wander into the night armed with knowledge of dosage, blending and the tasting of more than sixty wines, not to mention the secrets of Alex’s magic box of smells.  We shall announce some new dates in the near future.

It’s that time of year…

Alex will be at St Matthews Church Fair in Raynes Park on Saturday, so do pop over and say hello if you’re in the area, he’ll have a selection of things to taste or chat about.

Magnums –essential for every dinner party, or perhaps gatherings of more than two people, we have a selection of deliciousness to suit every pocket!


Champagne Moutard Grande Cuvee NV – £70.00

Champagne Moutard Prestige Rose NV – £75.00


Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2018, New Zealand – £41.00 


Lopez de Haro Rioja Crianza 2016, Spain – £25.00

Chateau de Paraza Minervois 2015, Languedoc – £27.99

Meerlust Red 2014, South Africa – £29.99

Filus Malbec 2016, Argentina – £32.00

La Cote Sauvage Cairanne 2016, Rhone – £34.00

Chateau La Grave 2016 Medoc, Bordeaux – £38.00

JP Moueix St Émilion 2015, Bordeaux – £46.00

Parada de Atauta 2015, Ribera del Duero, Spain – £46.00

Tahi 2010, Roussillon – £50.00

Valenciso Rioja Reserva 2009, Spain – £52.00

Meerlust Rubicon 2014, South Africa – £58.00

Tasting This Weekend

Somehow this week the idea of fish pie appealed so we put the white sweater onto a bottle of Palacio del Camino Real Blanco 2017 – £10.99.

This is a cracking blend of Viura, Malvasia and Grenache Blanc grown in the higher vineyards of Rioja Alta.  Pale yellow in the glass with lovely fresh aromas of stonefruit and citrus, framed with a touch of vanilla from a couple of months lazing around in the barrel, we reckon that white Rioja, in the modern style, is one of the world’s most under-rated wines. 

Alex seemed less keen on fish and suggested game pie, so sporting the red hoody will be Chateau Haut Barrail 2015 – £16.99.

This Merlot focussed wine will be ideal. Cyril Gillet has 30 year old wines to work with and has presented us with a solid, stylish and well-made claret full of damson fruit and gentle oak spice that’ll be perfect.

That’s us for another week, London Jazz Festival starts today, we’re sure it’s not all sold out and there’s loads of free gigs too so do check it out!

New In!

Friday, November 8th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Sorry to say it so early but Christmas arrived here yesterday at Park Vintners. 

As with many of us whose survival relies entirely on goods arriving from abroad, when we heard faint rumour of a proposed exit from the Union of Europe at the end of last month, we made certain that we had ordered enough stock to arrive in the UK before we were confined to solitary.  As a consequence, since mid-October, we have had what is professionally known as a stinkload of stock sitting in a repurposed bunker, somewhere underneath the plain of Salisbury.  Whilst our wine was undoubtedly safe there, given the amount of military manoeuvres going on overhead, it was costing us too much money in rent.  Thus, with a heavy heart, we got them to deliver the bulk of it to us yesterday and, given that Alex is suffering from an entirely self-diagnosed bout of housemaids knee, Wayne moved over 100 cases of wine downstairs by himself yesterday – he definitely earnt himself that pint in the pub last night! 

Obviously, since he wouldn’t have had to have done this had we not had to order in anticipation of EU exit that never happened, we can still happily blame Brexit for making us mention Christmas so early in November!

In the world outside the shop, Westminster seems to be continuing its clear-out as more MP’s decide they don’t fancy the coalface anymore, all of this published on Twitter of course, the modern day politicians social media conduit of choice.  And the twitter supremo, Mr Trump is also facing a potential clear-out of his own, should his impeachment bear fruit.

Sport ceased to exist at about 11am last Saturday and we’re now all about Chamber Music.

Actually it came back to life for all the wrong reasons as rugby club Saracens were found to be doing a Man City and got a fined and docked 35 points for basically paying their players more than they should.  They are of course appealing this fine and points cull but in the meantime should they still be allowed to play in Europe?  Probably not.  The man sitting on the fence did observe that since Saracens contributed the spine of the England Rugby team, was their rule-breaking in fact a good thing?  Hmmmm.  He also pointed out that until just over a year ago Sarries was 50% owned by South African investment company Remgro – here I think he’s just trying to stir up trouble so we’ll move on…

Happily, not all the cases of wine ended up downstairs, so here’s a quick list of our new listings:


Champagne – Delavenne Père et Fils Grand Cru Brut Rose NV – £45

Burgundy – Domaine Fournillon Chablis 2016 – £16.99

Loire – Domaine Jouan Frère et Soeur Menetou Salon 2018 – £15.99

Rhone – La Cave de Gigondas Vacqueyras Raveil 2016 – £18.49


Abruzzo – Collequieto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 – £10.99

Piedmont – Cantine Povero ‘Priore’ Barolo 2015 – £33


Costers del Segre – Mas Blanch I Jove Sao Abrivat 2016 – £17.99 & Mas Blanch I Jove Troballa 2018 – £17.99

Priorat – Marco Abella Mas Mallola 2015 – £27.99


California – Vina Robles Viognier 2018 – £19.99 & Vina Robles Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 – £24.99


We’ve restocked a few of these and listed a couple of new ones, so here’s a snapshot:

From Calvados we have reshelved the Chateau du Breuil VSOP – £35.99 and also the fabulous Champagne Cognac Jean Fillioux La Pouyade – £54.00.

And then we went to Scotland.       

From Islay we got the Finlaggan Old Reserve – £36 back on the shelf and also the Speyside favourite, Benromach 10 year old – £40.

New listings that we’re extremely excited about are the Benromach 2011 Sassacaia Wood Finish – £48, which is the perfect storm of quality whisky finished in fancy supertuscan barrels!  We’ve also managed to snaffle a bit of Macallan Double Cask 12 year old – £58.50 usually they won’t let us have any!

And then we went to Japan (gulp!).  We’ve been selling whisky from here for over ten years and frankly we should have invested in some of these when they only cost 50 quid:    

Hibiki Harmony Blended Whisky – £75, Yamazaki 12 year old – £120 and Hakusha 12 year old – £140.


It would be churlish not to open something new so I think we’ll broach the Domaine Fournillon Chablis 2016 and the Collequieto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018.  For those of you interested in the spirits, we do have the Benromach Sassicaia open, and also the Finlaggan and the Benromach 10 year old, along with numerous other gins and things.  Sadly, the Japanese ones are not open because we have so few of them, and no, not even if you ask really nicely…

That’s it from us for now, come and see us for a taste and a natter!

Where to start?

Friday, November 1st, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Feast or famine.  You wait for a bus and then three turn up at the same time.  It never rains but it pours.  Then the floodgates open.  And all hell breaks loose.  At which point it’s too late to lock the stable door because the horse has already bolted.

Whilst many idioms may not make light work, they do help to define our mood.  Weeks, nay, months have passed when we have been struggling to find anything newsworthy to type about and now we face a glut with a very real danger that we might have to leave some perfectly interesting titbits rotting in the fields.

Irritatingly, much like a Times obituary for a famous, but slightly doddery and faded movie star, we have had this week’s missive written for months in draft form, with plenty of quotes from other famous people bereaving the end of an era in such tragic circumstances.  However, our dead-in-a-ditch-do-or-die dear leader has let us down again and as such we have no email to write – or rather it will be moth balled until January, or whenever.

But hang about, as referenced in the first paragraph, so much has been going on this week, the loss of one headliner is by no means an issue.  We can talk about other politics, we can talk about wine, we can talk about sport.

Politics.  Where to start? 

We’ve got an election on Alex’s birthday which was definitely not on his gift list.  So far, we have more than 50 MP’s declining to stand for re-election, with sadly too many of them citing the persistent abuse they get as a determining factor in their decision to step down; this figure is yet to match the near 150 who stepped down in 2010 but that was in the wake of the expenses scandal – from which they, for the most part, escaped abuse.   Outside of Westminster, Hugh Grant has been called rude by Sajid Javid over a handshake or in fact a non-handshake and McDonald’s has shown a complete ignorance of Northern Ireland’s history in their ice cream adverts in Portugal.

On the other side of the ditch, The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History turns another page as impeachment gets a bit closer for DT who, in a fashion typical of those whose power is being eroded at home, is in full distraction mode trying to get everyone to focus on events in Syria and how he is dealing with ISIS.  Then his favoured platform, Twitter, announce that they are going to ban political advertising – his campaign team immediately attacked the decision as “very dumb” – such an erudite and elegant retort could almost have come straight from the POTUS’ mouth…

Wine.  Where to start?

With Gin, of course.  With the increased popularity of multi-coloured fruit infused juniper potions the coffers have been steadily swelling and it is threatening to overtake Vodka as #1 spirit.  The Gin category, in all its shades and shapes has made a net contribution of £2.4bn in both on and off-trades was £2.4 billion in the year to June – according to the William Grant & Sons’ Trending 2020 report.  This is an increase of 45%, we’re told.  In the same period the Vodka contribution was down to £3 billion, a drop of 1.5%.

Very exciting news for Gin but can it keep this momentum.  It may have increased by 45% but it hasn’t taken much of the vodka share – and such impressive growth is hard to sustain without innovation and I’m not sure where they can go next.  Meanwhile, Vodka stands calmly in the corner in a sharp suit and trilby musing – isn’t Gin just a flavoured version of me anyway?!

Sport.  Where to start?

“I don’t know when I last had so much fun in a football game.” 

Thus spake Jurgen Klopp after the astonishing game against Arsenal.  Liverpool did win in the end so he was understandably happy. However you do feel with Jurgen that he would have said the same even if they’d lost.

And the rugby also got a little more exciting, for some of us at least.  The ability of the English to become sporting pundits at the flick of a switch will never cease to amaze us and this week has not disappointed.  From discussing lineout technique whilst browsing Prosecco to questioning the South African box kick strategy whilst discussing Burgundy, it’s been a lovely week of exchanging opinion and gently ribbing the opposition, safe in the knowledge that none of us know what will happen in the finals but are all secretly hoping for the best.  After the semi-finals last week, Eddie Jones could easily have used the rugby equivalent of Jurgen’s quote above and I don’t think anyone on the planet would have argued.  To keep a lid on any over-optimism, I’ll refer to Matt the Stat who pointed out yesterday the following:

Of the 8 WCs, NZ have lost one final, and won 3.

Of the 4 WCs that the ABs have not won, the team that eliminated them has gone on to win the trophy once (Aus 91).

In three cases (99, 03, 07) the team that beat the ABs went out in the next match.

And no, he’s not South African.

Game on…

On the tasting table this week

As it’s all about Día de Muertos this weekend we’ll be opening all our wines from Mexico.

Correct, we don’t have any.  We do however have a delicious red wine from Argentina – Lazos de Sangre Malbec – £22.49 which fits the bill well, having sangre in the title and translating as ‘blood ties’ which, after all, is what Day of the Dead is all about really.  Very much alive in the glass, dark and brooding, with a rich, dark fruited nose.  On the palate we have the same dark berry fruit, hints of mocha, smooth and spicy with exceptional staying power.  We wrote ‘really rather good’ which now feels like a bit of an understatement!

After all the disarray of last night, the makeup, the sweets, the spiders webs and the general derring-do we thought the a Czech wine named Palava – £23.99, might be just the ticket.  Located in Moravia, the largest Czech winegrowing region, Sonberk is a mid-sized winery that is considered by many to be one of the best in the country, producing elegant and noble wines.  Established in 2003 but with a history dating to the 13th century, the Sonberk vineyard is 45 hectares with an extraordinary view of the Pálava Hill – hence the name of the wine.  Crisp and dry but with some wonderful aromatic notes and a really long finish – awesome with some Indian spiced mussels, we’re told.

That’s about it from us – 4 spaces left on our Wine & Cheese tasting next Thursday 7th November should the mood take you and you have a spare £20 in your wallet and with that we’re gone…

Goodnight, and may your God go with you!