Archive for May, 2020

We Need To Talk About Blush

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Sometimes we feel the need to huff, puff and shake our head a little at the world. Yesterday was one of those days, as we read that Liberal Democrat peer Lord Fox was in a spot of bother. It seems that he was busted for furloughing himself from his consultancy business, Vulpes Advisory, whilst at the same time claiming his daily £162 allowance for working from home as a peer in the House of Lords! He didn’t become a member of the Economic Affairs Committee for nothing, eh? He now intends to repay the full amount as soon as possible.

McDonalds opened a number of their drive-thrus this week and, by all accounts, the queues were visible from the International Space Station. Those workouts with Joe Wicks seem distant now as half the nation turns into the plant from Little Shop of Horrors!

Elsewhere, Woolacombe in Devon ground to a halt in absolute gridlock as numpties from all around the country parked on double yellow lines whilst they had a stroll on the beach and a ‘99’. If only somebody had looked up the tourist information centre whose website said:  “We love welcoming visitors to Woolacombe & Mortehoe, however in these extenuating circumstances we are asking that you do not visit us at this time.”

Rosé, Pink, Blush?

We wanted to talk to you all about rosé. It seems you all have quite a thirst for it and, given the weather, we can’t say we’re surprised. We wanted to talk a little about why many people have started to refer to the wine as blush.

So, we wondered where and how it became so widespread, because you, the fine folk of Wimbledon Park, are not alone in the use of the term.  Is it perhaps that Dulux produced a paint called Blush Pink that everyone started comparing the wine in their glass to? We can certainly rule out anything to do with when a person blushes, because in most instances that’s far too dark a colour for most people’s pink wine tastes. We wondered perhaps if it was with the rosato style of Pinot Grigio coming along as a product of marketing departments with big companies, desperate not to miss out on the growing popularity of rose in the early part of the 21st century.

And now the answer.

In 1978 Charles Kreck of Mill Creek Vineyards (and one of the pioneers of Cabernet Sauvignon in California) trademarked the word “Blush”. The name caught on as a marketing name for the peculiarly sweet style of rose from producers such as Sutter Home and Beringer. Its popularity peaked in the 1980’s and has been declining ever since. We can see from talking to our customers, friends and colleagues around the country that in 99.9% of cases this is absolutely NOT what you all mean. You all want something very pale and dry, generally the style championed by the winemakers of Provence, who have been specialising in this style of wine since Wayne’s sepia coloured childhood.

Our Rosés are what would generally be described as dry and pale, the Cuvée Jean Paul has a little more fruit, ideal with something a little spicy, the Aumerade is our best selling wine every year. Line them all up together and we have five different bottles, labels, colours and prices, hopefully something to suit everyone.

Borsao Rosado 2018 – £7.99

Cuvee JP Jean Paul Rosé 2019 – £8.49

Dom. Foncalieu Piquepoul Rosé 2019 – £13.69

Chateau de L’Aumerade Provence Rosé 2018 – £14.99

Ch. D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2019 – £22.99

And if you fancy adding a bit of sparkle:

Domaine Landreau Cremant De Loire Morin Rosé NV – £15.99

Hawkins Bros Rosé Reserve NV – £29.00

Delavenne Pere et Fils Grand Cru Brut Rosé NV – £45.00

Bank Holiday Monday

Yes it surprised us too, but we’ve double checked and triple checked and it’s definitely the case. As a result we won’t just be shut on Monday, we’ll be shut shut!

Back to our desks on Tuesday!

Would You Like A Delivery?

We might not have the robots and zero hours staff of Amazon, or the kind of warehousing efficiency technology and van fleets of Ocado. We also have no offshore accounts or tax efficient brass plates in Lichtenstein, Limassol or Luxembourg.

What we do have is an enormous Volvo 850 and a business account on the High Street. There’s space in the boot for your order (we can even fold the seats down if necessary!) and we’ll be leaving the shop about 4pm on the delivery run. Is there a box with your name on it?

  • Drop us a line at and give us an idea of what you desire – minimum order is six bottles 
  • The most helpful thing for us to know straight away is how many bottles you would like, an approximate cost and ideally what you like and definitely don’t like!
  • The more information, you give us the quicker we can turn it round 
  • We’ll suggest ideas, send you the cost and payment details and deliver to your doorstep, all safely distanced

Whilst I know you are all missing our dulcet tones, we aren’t answering phone calls at the moment and, as a consequence, email is absolutely, 100%, the best way to place your order.  We are dealing with them all in chronological order and will definitely get to you – there’s plenty of stock for everyone…. our pencils have been sharpened and hover poised over paper, so send us your orders and we’ll pack the boxes!

We All Sing Along…

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

And nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all, the needle returns to the start of the song and we all sing along like before

And so here we are again, back at the start of the song, or better put, at the start of the weekend – do the weeks seem to be passing at a reasonable lick right now because I’m sure it was Sunday afternoon just a moment ago.  Anyway, I’m not going to argue, if it’s the weekend it means it’s wine o’clock and I’m happy to sing along to that.  With temperatures in parts of Yorkshire and Cumbria hitting -4C on Thursday morning, I was a bit nervous to look at the forecast but actually it’s not too bad – sunshine, clouds and the temperature getting closer to 20c on Sunday – full steam ahead for barbecues and Rosé drinking then!


Last weekend, as we all know, was a back to front bank holiday.  Friday saw most of SW19 sitting in their front gardens, sociably distancing and drinking bubbly from a flute or cider from a lemon, depending on their age.  Driving round the grid, dropping off good cheer, there was a definite scent of positivity in the air; good humour with a sense of  togetherness that made it feel as though perhaps, yes, we really can get through this current crisis but people, to do so, we really must stop listening to Vera Lynn and George Formby…


And then 7pm on Sunday happened, or didn’t really.  Boris clenched his fists and waved his arms about whilst telling us all that Loose Lips sink Ships and that we should Dig for Victory.  Ok, he didn’t’ say any of this but you always felt that he was but a tongue slip away from telling us to Keep Calm and Carry On.  Oh, and stay alert… given the clarity of his message he could quite easily meant that he was going to go and stay in Alert, the northernmost permanently inhabited place in the world (in Canada, just past Chequers).  A previously clear message, now nicely muddied, quickly resulted in a couple of empty bottles of wine in our house!


But carry on we do, for the time being still as a closed shop focused on doing deliveries.  We have been asked by a few people when we are planning to open up again and the honest answer is that we don’t know. 

There are only two of us here, one of whom was sent into self-isolation very early on and who happily has recovered and come out the other side, but what we learnt from those weeks was that it doesn’t take very much to knock the business sideways.  We don’t have massive shop, it’s only 2.5 metres wide in fact, so it wouldn’t take too many bodies to make it full, especially if 2 of us are already in it.  We have spent the last ten years encouraging people to come in, taste stuff, touch the bottles, read the tasting notes, shoot the breeze – it’s at the heart of what we do – but these things are currently strictly verboten, so we’re not sure what opening the doors would actually offer?  Do we insist on gloves and masks?  Do we buy industrial vats of hand disinfectant and make use of that a condition of entry?  Do we invest heavily in Perspex and recreate the homely and welcoming atmosphere of the offies of our youth?  Add to this that the inside of the shop looks like a bomb-hit warehouse; that we are still here 6 days a week putting together orders and then delivering them full time  – might need to open the shop just to have a rest!

So, in a nutshell, we’re not sure…


Not happening.  Locally we are told that it is our ‘civic duty’ to avoid public transport which is easy to say when you’re a minister with a chauffeured Jag parked outside.  Internationally, also not happening.  On Wednesday, Tui announced that it expects to accelerate its transformation plans to adapt to the current situation with the knock on effect that 8,000 staff will now be going on permanent holiday – so where did the 1.8 billion euro loan, effectively from the German government, disappear off to?


You probably all know this already but Post Malone has launched a Provence Rosé.  My son, who listens to Mr Post’s music was very much of the ‘so what’ opinion.  I don’t knowingly listen to the Malone but am of a similar opinion…


Finally, we actually have some sport to report on.  The Bundesliga returns this weekend, with Wayne’s team, Werder Bremen not actually playing until Monday when they host Bayer Leverkusen but, with both teams desperately needing the win from opposite ends of the table, it could be a cracker!

That’s it from us.  The Volvo is parked outside, I checked the air pressure in the tyres yesterday and now it’s all ready for a full load of weekend wine – send us your orders!!

Have a great weekend, doubtless the next one will be along shortly!

Virtual Escape

Friday, May 8th, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

I don’t know about you but I’ve found it a bit fresh at points this week yet have been enjoying the sunshine nonetheless. We were chatting about how different the mood might have been if it had been raining for these past six weeks, we won’t dwell on it though as we’ve a lovely long weekend ahead of us. Today is the May Day Bank Holiday Monday, despite my calendar saying it’s Friday.

We’re all prepared, the bunting is out, there’s something suitable chilling away in the fridge and Spitfires were spotted at Southend airport earlier this week. Alex has put Vera Lynn, the Beverley Sisters and Glenn Miller (still missing) on the playlist and we’ve set an alarm for the Queen’s speech. We’re hoping that somebody brings something savoury along, as there have been way too many pictures of cakes floating around. That’s it folks, The Virtually Escaped street party is kicking off on a screen near you while you read this. Fortunately for all of us it has the same initials as VE day from 75 years ago which is surely something everyone is happy to raise a glass to.

But with the PM addressing the nation on Sunday evening with a view to partly easing the lockdown, perceived to be in favour of picnicking and exercising. We feel there is an underlying yearning for a party though, several people have said “I heard he’s going to open the pubs!” Never ones to rain on another’s parade, we have smiled and suggested anything could happen. Secretly though, we’ve been thinking a month will have passed before we reach that Sunday.

The Virtually Escaped street party in our house is starting with a quiz, pausing for the Queen and ending with dancing, I’m told. I’ve absolutely no idea how we’re going to fit all of that onto a phone screen. Rest assured before the evening is over, someone will have brought out a Porron and there’ll be red wine all over the shop! Time for bed, said Zebedee.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, police have arrested a man in California after he climbed underneath a moving wine tanker in his underwear, unscrewed a valve, and proceeded to drink from the vessel. Talk about impatient!

Finally some good news – we spoke to Lee from Saucer and Cup yesterday, he is opening from tomorrow for takeaways. No longer will you have to torment yourself with Maxwell House, a decent cup of coffee is back on the agenda. Form an orderly queue with the appropriate distance! Also the Post Office is open again, Monday-Friday 10-2.30 for the moment.

As an aside, this week five years ago we were tasting Magnifico Rosso Fuoco Primitivo di Manduria Riserva and found it to be ‘lovely voluptuous rich black fruits and oodles of spice on the nose – concentrated black currants and berries and bright sweet fruit on the palate with masses of crowd appeal – we’ll sell masses of this!’  . We thought maybe we’d watch the slow action replays and taste it whilst putting new commentaries to old sales stories.

It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses.

We’re still offering free local delivery, neither of us smoke and Chicago is a tidy hoof further than that. Yet we are still fully fired up – the Volvo is now a familiar sight but the boot is still empty. 

So, all you need to do is:

  • Drop us a line at and give us an idea of what you desire! 
  • The most helpful thing for us to know straight away is how many bottles you would like, an approximate cost and ideally what you like and definitely don’t like!
  • The more information, you give us the quicker we can turn it round. 
  • We’ll suggest ideas, send you the cost and payment details and deliver to your doorstep, all safely distanced.

I cannot emphasise enough that email is absolutely, 100%, the best way to place your order, we are dealing with them all in chronological order and will definitely get to you – there’s plenty of stock!

We’re here and doing the rounds today and tomorrow so don’t be shy!

Hit it!

International Sauvignon Blanc Day Amongst Other Things

Friday, May 1st, 2020

Fellow Wine Lovers,

39 days ago, 27 million of us watched Mr Johnson announce the lockdown thus:

From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home….. We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with….stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives.

And we all did, some more, some less – 9,000 fines is the figure released yesterday and certainly we witness more and more street corner chats and dog walks between friends every day which lead s to the question – how much longer can we maintain our resolve?  I know of some customers who are loving the lockdown – people who usually have to stick to a strictly regimented work routine often interrupted by aimless phone calls who are loving the freedom that working from home has given them.  Conversely, many of us just don’t have the right home environment to be able to work from there long term – your zoom business meeting with the US is strangely incompatible with your husband’s need to dance in his boxer shorts to Sparks at top volume – this town ain’t big enough for the both of us….

So, almost 40 days in, it seems that Quarantine could very likely become Settantine if not more, depending on how the ‘testing’ debate/debacle pans out, and as a consequence people are having to adapt more and more to the new normal.  An article we read in Travel News Sverige a week back was perhaps more deserving of a 1st April headline:

Coronasäker en-bords-restaurang öppnar i Värmland.

The article then explains:

Ett bord.  En stol.  Mitt på en sommaräng i Värmland. Ingen serveringspersonal och inga andra gäster.  Maten levereras i en korg från restaurangkökets fönster. Bakom initiativet står paret Rasmus Persson och Linda Karlsson.  Idén uppstod när paret skulle bjuda Linneas föräldrar på mat.

Which, I think we’ll all agree, is pretty bonkers!

For those of you without a fluent speaker in your midst, the article is applauding the opening of a one-table restaurant located in a Swedish field, where meals are delivered in a basket on a washing line – only one booking a day, set menu and only open to solo diners or people from the same household.  Should the sun shine long enough here over the next few weeks perhaps we could try it – anyone know any farmer’s with fields to spare?

In sport, everything is getting cancelled but still there is surprise and denial in some quarters. 

The cancellation of the Eredivisie season in the Netherlands was a bit of a swashbuckling move which perhaps could still come back and bite them.  A number of clubs are looking to sue someone but surely, when the government banned sport until 1st September, what other choice did they have?  Likewise, in France, a ban following the same timeframe has been set, which puts the Tour de France in jeopardy again.  These bans come a week after Belgium banned all mass gatherings until the end of August.  With Italy and Spain yet to make a decision, which must follow the same logic as the French and the Dutch, I’m starting to wonder, yet again, what planet the Premiership teams are on, as, against the lockdown rules no matter what they say, they returned to training this week with players from abroad who went back home to isolate being told to fly back in next week.… does no one watch the news anymore?

The Premier League managers have a meeting today, regarding Project Restart, what chance they talk sense??


Because, really, that’s what we’re all about, in between moaning about sport and politics, just in case that had slipped your notice…

I am reliably informed that today, Friday 1st May, is International Sauvignon Blanc Day.  This always occurs on the first Friday of May and, astonishingly, in New Zealand National Sauvignon Blanc day is also held on the first Friday of May… could there be a connection?!  Judging from the fact that I could find no acknowledgement from France of this ‘international’ celebration, I am starting to wonder if it should be more correctly titled New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Day but this could bring confusion to lots of households who have long assumed that every day is a NZ SB day…

Anyway, always keen to have a celebration in these dark times, here’s my tasting list for tonight:

Oyster Catcher Sauvignon 2018, Central Valley, Chile (£8.29)

False Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Western Cape, South Africa (£8.99)

The Accomplice Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2018, South Australia (£9.39)

V Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand (£9.79)

Southern Dawn Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand (£11.99)

Barton Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Walker Bay, South Africa (£12.79)

Domaine Jouan Frere et Soeur Menetou Salon 2018, Loire Valley, France (£15.99)

Flametree Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2017, Margaret River, Australia (£16.99)

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand (£19.99)

Roblin Sancerre ‘Terres Blanches’ 2018, Loire Valley, France (£21.99)

Henri Bourgeois Sancerre Le MD de Bourgeois 2017, Loire Valley, France (£29.99)

And then, to go with dinner, a magnum of

Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2019, Marlborough, New Zealand (£41.00)

That should keep me quiet…

Should you care to join me on this exciting adventure, we have stock of all these wines and can deliver – fuel is still cheap and our parallel parking is improving, so just follow these simple directions to reach your vinous nirvana:

  • Drop us a line at and give us an idea of what you desire – minimum order is six bottles 
  • The most helpful thing for us to know straight away is how many bottles you would like, an approximate cost and ideally what you like and definitely don’t like!
  • The more information, you give us the quicker we can turn it round 
  • We’ll suggest ideas, send you the cost and payment details and deliver to your doorstep, all safely distanced

Whilst I know you are all missing our dulcet tones, we aren’t answering phonecalls at the moment and, as a consequence, email is absolutely, 100%, the best way to place your order.  We are dealing with them all in chronological order and will definitely get to you – there’s plenty of stock for everyone…. our pens are poised, send us your orders and we’ll pack the boxes!

Right, I’m past my peak, so I’m off to drink a world of Sauvignon Blanc, who’s with me?