Archive for December, 2019

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

Friday, December 20th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

And so it comes to pass.  Last missive of December, last missive of the year, last missive of the decade even and then it’s all over.

-What?  Over?  Did you say “over”?  Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!


– Forget it, he’s rolling.

-And it ain’t over now.  ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough… (thinks hard of something to say) The tough get goin’!  Who’s with me?  Let’s go! (Bluto runs out, alone, to his local independent wine merchant….)

With apologies to John Belushi, however he was right, it’s not over.  Today is Friday 20th December, still 11 days left until the New Decade (having read POTUS letter to Nancy Pelosi, we’ve decided that indiscriminate use of cApiTals is the way forwards) and more importantly, 5 shopping days left until Christmas, including today.  It’s nowhere near over.

Courtesy of our researchers we also learnt that today, 20th December, is International Human Solidarity Day. 

International Human Solidarity Day is a day of action, led by the UN General Assembly, to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication through the promotion of the culture of solidarity and the spirit of sharing.  It’s a timely reminder for us that what we do here, selling wine and talking a lot, actually isn’t at all important in the whole grand scheme of things and an occasional reminder does us no harm.

It seems charmingly appropriate that we also celebrate Billy Bragg’s birthday today and bonkers that Uri Geller, fresh from giving Boris a spoon “energised” with “mind positivity” to help him win the election, is now 73 years old!

As it seems likely that we will be continuing with Wayne’s Wet Weather for some time hence, we’ve decided to cut back on our rosé stocks for now and focus more on hearty reds and festive fizz.  With this in mind this weekend we will have open on the tasting table a panoply of delights for your delectation and degustation:

  • Lété-Vautrain Brut 204 – Champagne – £29.99 – 3 for £75
  • Bruno Giacosa Roero Arneis 2018 – Very Fancy Italian White – £19.99
  • Château Roland La Garde 1998 – Nicely Aged Claret – £30
  • Château Lamourette 2010 – Sweet Treat Sauternes – £16.99
  • Krohn Colheita 1999 – Posh Tawny Port – £34.99
  • Taylors 1985 – Really Posh Port – £85
  • King’ s Ginger – Real Royal Liqueur – £23.99
  • Foxdenton Christmas Liqueur – If Mince Pies Were A Drink – £20
  • Foxdenton Sloe Gin – The Classic – £24.99
  • Foxdenton Rhubarb Gin – The Pink – £14.99
  • Eclectic – The House Gin – £35
  • Hepple – Alex’s Favourite Gin – £38
  • Renegade – Battersea Park Hand Crafted Gin – £38
  • Bloody Bens – Garratt Lane Gin – £38
  • Fabuloso – Alex’s Dad’s Favourite Spanish Brandy – £20
  • Delamain XO – Wayne’s Cognac – £97
  • Saliza Amaretto – Proper Kit – £27.99
  • Kummel – For The Golfers – £20.99
  • Berto Bitter – Not Campari or Aperol, In The Middle Somewhere – £21.49
  • Evan Williams – The Best Black Label Whisky from the USA – £31.50
  • Blanton’ s – The Original Single Barrel Bourbon – £57.99
  • Benromach 10 year old – Speyside Charmer – £40
  • Benromach 15 year old – Its Elder Brother – £60
  • Benromach 2011 – Finished in Sassicaia Barrels – £48
  • Bunnahabhain 11 year old – From a Sherry Cask – £50
  • Caol Ila 13 year old – Peaty… – £50
  • Finlaggan – Smoky Islay – £36
  • Ledaig 12 year old – From Mull, Proper Bonfire Business – £50
  • Mary Queen Of Scots – Blend of Twelve 12 year old Single Malts – £35
  • Strathmill 2002 – From Keith…. – £50
  • Mince Pies
  • Quality Street
  • Celebrations

That’s over 30 different tipples to taste – if you try them all and that’s still not enough, we’ll buy you a beer!

What?  Over?  Did you say “over”?

I know we told you last time but here is a reminder of our opening hours over the next two weeks:

SATURDAY 21st DECEMBER                                              10AM – 8PM

SUNDAY 22nd DECEMBER                                                 11AM – 3PM

MONDAY 23rd DECEMBER                                                            11AM – 8PM

TUESDAY 24th DECEMBER                                                            10AM – 5PM

WEDNESDAY 25th – FRIDAY 27th DECEMBER               CLOSED

SATURDAY 28th DECEMBER                                             12PM – 6PM

SUNDAY 29th DECEMBER                                                 CLOSED

MONDAY 30th DECEMBER                                                            11AM – 8PM

TUESDAY 31st DECEMBER                                                 11AM – 6PM

WEDNESDAY 1st – MONDAY 6th JANUARY                     CLOSED

TUESDAY 7th JANUARY – BACK TO NORMAL                11AM – 8PM

What more to add?  Trump will face the senate, Boris picks up where he left off, Ben Stokes becomes SPOTY and Tottenham just pip Arsenal in the Overall Premier League Table of the Decade on points per game – 0.002 points to be exact.  Close, Wayne, but you know that saying about cigars….

And now it is over.  Have a very Merry Christmas, a joyous New Year and don’t be tempted to give up for January!!

Over and out!

On the first day of Christmas

Friday, December 13th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Well, I’m not sure if that has solved much but quite a few things will change.

The most important General Election in our lifetime has involved lying, misleading adverts, graphs and polls and, to cap it all, a Prime Minister hiding in a fridge to avoid scrutiny. These things, it would appear, are the secret to a landslide.

I looked up Integrity in the Cambridge Dictionary: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change: “No one doubted that the president was a man of the highest integrity.”

someone’s high artistic standards or standards of doing their job, and that person’s determination not to lower those standards: “Keen to preserve his artistic integrity, he refused several lucrative Hollywood offers.”

Let’s hope we now discover some, eh?

In the meantime, life moves on regardless and, at the risk of creating minor panic, in just 12 days it’s Christmas. The turkey will be going in the oven, you’ll have stood on numerous bits of Lego and be wondering if it’s too soon to open that second bottle of champagne: I’d say go ahead, it’d be rude not too.

At this stage I might just invoke a song about Christmas that seems appropriate (with apologies to Frederic Austin)…

On the first day of Christmas my True Love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree

We’d put a Faiveley Mercurey 1er Cru Clos des Myglands (£29.99) with the partridge.

On the second day of Christmas my True Love sent to me two turtle doves

We’ll go with Sylvain Dussort’s Meursault-like Cuvée des Ormes 2016 (£21.99) for the doves.

On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me three French hens

We’re suspecting the JP Moueix Saint-Emilion 2015 (Magnum £46) will be just the ticket, let’s face it, three hens needs more than a bottle.

At the risk of labouring a point, we’re of the opinion that if the Ladies are to be dancing and the Lords leaping, you may want to enjoy our Six Bottles of Bollinger for £210 offer.

That’s enough singing for one Friday and if you’d heard me sing, it’d definitely be more than enough.

We’ve been discussing the merits of seasonal special sandwiches and plan to trial a couple over the next week, any top tips greatly received.

Tasting This Weekend

We’ll be opening Hawkins Bros Brut Reserve (£30each or 3 for £75), a cracking English sparkling wine made at Greyfriars Vineyard near Guildford. A classic cuvée, based on vintage 2014, made and grown on the Hogs Back in Surrey.  This is a blend of 56% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Noir and 22% Pinot Meunier and has spent over three years ageing on its lees.

We’ll open Sylvain Dussort’s Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée des Ormes 2016 (£21.99) mentioned above. A classic white burgundy which is, in fact, the estate’s flagship wine.  The grapes are hand-harvested from vines from 35 to over 60 years and the wine is aged for 12 months in barrels on the lees.  The wine is racked off once and assembled in a single vat before bottling. This takes place at between 16 and 18 months, depending on the vintage. Delicate, rich and elegant, with good length, we reckon in a blind tasting it would easily be mistaken for a Meursault and this was awesome value for money.

The red corner will be ably represented by Domaine Billard ‘Les Bons Feuvres’ Beaune 2017 (£24.99) Domaine Billard has approximately 12.5 hectares of vineyards in different appellations throughout the Côtes de Beaune.  The domaine passed from father to son recently and Jérôme Billard has brought a new philosophy to the domaine where all the farming is done with respect for nature and follows organic principles.  Previously, Jérôme’s father sold his wine to the local cooperative but Jérôme is now estate bottling his entire production and why wouldn’t he be proud to put his name on this wine?  Lush and juicy with bright cherry and black berry fruits, lovely fine tannins and a smooth finish. 

And if that doesn’t tantalise those taste buds, we have got Gin, Whisky, Vodka and of course the Foxdenton Christmas Liqueur all open and awaiting your attention.

Christmas Opening Hours – This is when we’re here and when we’re not.

MONDAY 16th – FRIDAY 20th DECEMBER         11AM – 8PM

SATURDAY 21st DECEMBER                                  10AM – 8PM

SUNDAY 22nd DECEMBER                                          11AM – 3PM

MONDAY 23rd DECEMBER                                                11AM – 8PM

TUESDAY 24th DECEMBER                                                10AM – 5PM


SATURDAY 28th DECEMBER                                 12PM – 6PM

SUNDAY 29th DECEMBER                                                 CLOSED

MONDAY 30th DECEMBER                                                 11AM – 8PM

TUESDAY 31st DECEMBER                                                 11AM – 6PM



Ho! Ho! Ho!

Election Special!

Friday, December 6th, 2019

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Less than a week to go, who will be in the hot-seat come Friday the 13th?

Will it be Graham Hadley, the Independent candidate and the man behind the Mary Queen of Scots whisky we sell? 

Will it be Stephen Hammond, our Conservative incumbent for the last 14 years and ex-National League hockey player? 

Or perhaps we will see Paul Kohler, of the Liberal Democrats/Unite to Remain side of business, living up to the promise they were showing in mid-November when they trailed the Tories by 2 points, or has Jo Swinson damaged the brand too much? 

Or will Jackie Schneider, for Labour, become the first female Wimbledon MP?

Or perhaps this new local super hero is Sarge? No! Or Rosemary the telephone operator?  No way man!  Perhaps then, Henry the mild mannered janitor?

So far as Park Vintners is concerned, we would quite happily see Penrod Pooch elected if it could guarantee that everyone carries on buying champagne and Christmas drinks rather than booking a one way ticket out of here!

Elsewhere in the world of politics the world’s most sensitive bully, Mr Trump, got a bat up his nightdress when other world leaders were seen talking about him ‘behind his back’.  Let’s be honest, Donald, you love it that people are talking about you, it empowers you and massages your fragile ego.  Plus, they were talking about you being 45 minutes late having called an impromptu press conference – if you hadn’t done this there would have been no gossiping!  The final touch for us though was the fact that the Conservatives were noticeably delighted that DT cancelled his next ‘meet the press’, so concerned were they that he might damage Mr Johnson’s election campaign – a ringing endorsement of how they really view the POTUS….

Less than a week to go, who will be in the hot-seat come Friday the 20th?

We will be.  The last Friday before Christmas, we fully expect the grill to be turned up to max as we begin the final buying weekend and with it the start of the exodus, which this year we feel could be spread over 4 days, especially if you’re travelling on South Western trains!  Anyway, the point to all this is that if you know you want by some treats for Christmas, you don’t necessarily need to wait until that weekend – we’ve got a lot of stock in here already, our Christmas cases will be ready from Monday and, frankly, right now we have more stock and more time to ensure you get exactly what you would like – which can’t be guaranteed in two weeks’ time.

Some of you have already started shopping, and we appreciate that.  We’ve already had enquiries as to whether we sell mini bottles of Babycham, Buckfast Tonic Wine and various super-sweet, super-confected spirits – we’re sending all these enquiries up to the shops in the village, through sheer devilment!

And no, funnily enough, we don’t sell wine in cans, despite the fact that a recent survey in the US by WiC Research revealed that 37.2% of participants said they preferred rosé wine from a can, compared to 31.4% who said the bottled version tasted better!  All those years of drinking cans of coke have obviously taken their toll….

In sport we saw the Mourinho spell come unbound in Manchester – he must have been spewing, no matter what he claims otherwise, although when he wins the Champions League with his third different club we may well eat our chapéus!  In cricket we watched as England brought village cricket to the international stage, helped massively by Joe Denly, with crowds to match those seen at Hadlow on a good day.  We also lost, suddenly for us, Bob Willis on Tuesday, a local resident and perhaps most famouls captain of England during the 1981 Ashes victory.  RIP, sir.


For a variety of reasons, Christmas doesn’t ever really start until this weekend here at Park Vintners.  We held the last two tastings of the year this week and until they are out of the way we can’t really decorate, as we have to move stock around all the time.  But now that’s done and we can steam towards the 25th.  This weekend sees Alex at the Wimbledon High School Christmas Fair on Saturday and the Wimbledon Park Primary School event on Sunday.  He’s being a bit imprecise over the timings but I do know they both take place over lunchtime, should you be interested in visiting either.

Monday will see us decorating the windows, buying new lights no doubt and generally filling up the shelves and floor with the good stuff.  As mentioned above, we will also be launching our Christmas selections, which will be three different 6 bottle selections – one mixed selection for £60, one mixed selection for £100 and a Red Bordeaux selection for  £115 (£120 with a gift box).  Notes attached…

Tasting this weekend

As I don’t pretend to have any control over Alex once he is off-site, I can imagine he will be tasting Champagne, a red, a white, a sweetie and undoubtedly an array of spirits…. Here in the shop though I do know that we will be opening a fizz, a red, a white and hopefully a port!

We both have the same ‘go to’ Fizz Friday bottle of bubbles which is the Leveret IQ Brut NV – £15.99 – This is champagne in all but name really, being a blend of the usual suspects, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay but grown instead in New Zealand.  Crisp and dry with a fine mousse, it’s exactly the sort of bubbly for any occasion, birthdays, christenings, weddings, parties or just Friday night fish and chips!

A new white in the stable is the Domaine Jouan Menetou Salon 2018 – £15.99 which we are very pleased with.  This is the fourth generation of the family to run this estate and experience certainly shows.  This has the quality and elegance of a Sancerre but without the price tag.  A fabulous all-rounder – did I mention that we are very pleased with it?

In the red, we will open another old favourite – Lopez de Haro Gran Reserva 2010 – £21.00.  After conducting extensive tastings, our in-house team (Alex and I, sacrificing ourselves again!) decided this silky little should be our main GR Rioja.  A blend of Tempranillo and Graciano aged for 30 months in oak barrels, it has complex berry, coffee and vanilla notes and a lovely velvety finish.

Now the port should be a bit of a treat….Taylors 1985 – £85 part of the last shipment from Taylors cellars, where there is no more left so when it’s gone…we’ve put it in the eto so it lasts long enough for you all to have a taste before Wayne guzzles the lot!

Here’s what Will Lyons of the Sunday Times had to say about it in 2015… “This vintage port, described as the Latour of Portugal, is just starting to reach its drinking window. Mid ruby in colour, it has an evocative fragrance of wood smoke, cassis and spice. Soft and silky in the mouth, nevertheless once swallowed it has a powerful kick and leaves a sensation on the tongue of tingling freshness.”

And with that we’re gone. Do come see us at the Shop, at Wimbledon High or Wimbledon Park Primary!